AIM Pilgrim Trust Remedial Conservation Grant – Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Mary Barton after repair

Repair of eight books

As a Literary House, books are at the heart of our collection, and our policy to allow careful handling of many books in our collection is very important to us, and a vital part of the visitor experience. This book repair project, although small, has been incredibly helpful, enabling us to repair eight books that were badly damaged. Each one contributes to the overall narrative of the House and has its own story in terms of why it’s in our collection and its significance to Elizabeth and her family.

Our volunteer team is heavily involved in the book cataloguing and ongoing care of our collection and this project has been very much driven by their desire to see these books repaired and made accessible to visitors. The application process was very straightforward and we were delighted to be successful. Legacy-wise, this was the first time we had sent books to be repaired (we only opened in 2014) and it has undoubtedly helped us to demystify the process and to see what was involved in terms of our time and that of the book binder/conservator. With this experience we feel more confident about identifying other books that need might repairs and to look at long-term solutions that would help us fund these repairs such as book sponsorship opportunities.

The two volunteers (Diana Ashcroft and Jane Mathieson) who helped select the books to be repaired have since put together a talk for their fellow volunteers so they can share their knowledge about these specific books and their significance to the collection. This training was delivered in March (online) and has been recorded and shared with all volunteers. Without the grant and subsequent repair work it is unlikely that this training would have taken place. This will benefit all volunteers and provide a greater understanding of these books. Small bookplates noting the significance of these titles have been placed inside each repaired volume, for future volunteers and visitors to find, these have all been researched and written by volunteers.

Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, House Manager, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Pictured: Mary Barton after repair.

The AIM Pilgrim Trust conservation grants support small to medium sized museums to care for their collections more effectively and efficiently and to meet the standards required for Accreditation. Click here to find out more and apply>>