NORAH Heritage Skills Workshop – 8th November 2018

On the 8th November we had our second Heritage Skills Workshop at Norfolk Record Office, run by Senior Conservator Nick Sellwood and funded by NORAH (Norfolk Archives and Heritage Development Foundation) for members of all our Change Minds groups.

We started the session with a tour around the Conservation room at the Norfolk Record Office.

Nick showed us one of the Norfolk County Asylum Case Books that the Change Minds group has been researching and talked about the conservation work that was involved to repair the books after the Norwich library fire.

Nick referred to some of the techniques that we learnt during our bookbinding workshop. There was lots of interest from the group and many questions about the processes involved such as how the gold lettering was done. We looked at the letter stamps and the gold leaf used to create the lettering and also the first Great Yarmouth Parish Register, dated 1558-1653.


We looked at some of the equipment used in the Conservation room. The incubator, the suction table and the press.

Conservator David Parker then spoke to the group about the Richard Bright project that he is currently working on, showing us the process for preserving the letters. Starting with looking at one of the original letters which was not yet worked on, the washing process and how the letter was flattened and preserved ready for Archivist Frank Meeres to transcribe the letter.

Lots of interest from the group about the processes involved and many questions such as: what chemicals are used to clean the paper, how to test if the ink will run and how to remove grease from paper?

We then had a go at some Conservation skills with a paper repair using some of the techniques we had been shown, not as easy as it sounds! The workshop ended with a shared lunch bringing all the Change Minds groups together, a nice opportunity for us all to chat about what we had seen today.

One participant said ‘So lucky we got to see all this”. An enjoyable and inspiring morning, we are now looking forward to the next workshop in February 2019!