My Royal Mile

This week, we have our final blog from Project Conservator, Helen Baguley, who has been working with us for the past 18 months on the Collections Rationalisation Project…

The Royal Mile is an iconic street which runs through the centre of Edinburgh. It is a ‘must see’ attraction for tourists, and one of the first places I visited when I moved up to Edinburgh for my new job which began 18 months ago. Running from the Castle to Holyrood, the Royal Mile is actually slightly longer than a mile, and measures 1.81 kilometres. Here at the Centre for Research Collections (CRC), I have been working within the conservation department on the Collections Rationalisation Project, caring for some of the rare books and archive collections which are housed at the University Collections Facility (UCF) and the Main Library. As my contract here has now come to an end, I have added up the linear meterage of the shelves which house the collection I have been working on, and it comes to an incredible 1801.25 metres. To put this into perspective, 1801.25 metres is just 8.75 metres short of the Royal Mile. But I think my Royal Mile is just as historic and exciting, as it is made up of beautiful rare books, interesting archives and fascinating objects from the collections!

Over the past 18 months, I have been involved with lots of different departments here at the CRC including Rare Books, Archives, Lothian Health Services Archive, Digitisation, and St Cecilia’s Hall to name a few! As an emerging conservator this has provided me with an interesting insight into the work the CRC does and how the conservation department is an integral part of the services it provides. While working with all of these departments I have conserved, stabilised or prepared for transit 14,241 rare books, 483 musical instruments, 37 PhD theses, 7 art works, 1,603 LHSA case note files and 438 boxes of archival material and I have surveyed 144.8 linear metres of collections for future conservation work. Achieving this quantity of work would not have been possible without the help of the brilliant volunteers who gave their time to help care for the collections. Volunteers have been helping with the project since June 2017 and thanks to them, and the project conservation intern, an additional 412.25 hours (an extra 11 working weeks) have been given to caring for the collections.

Storage at the University Collections Facility

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CRC, the conservation department and the UCF team for making me feel so supported during my time here, allowing me to continue my professional development and training me in areas of conservation which were unfamiliar to me.

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