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Pilgrim Trust Conservation Grant – Armagh Robinson Library and No5 Vicar’s Hill
Remedial conservation grant
AIM Grant: £4,000
Politics, Polemics and Pastimes –Conservation of Publications at Armagh Robinson Library
Founded in 1771 and incorporated in 1773 by ‘An Act for settling and preserving a publick library in the City of Armagh forever’, Armagh Robinson Library is the oldest public library in Northern Ireland. An independent library, an accredited museum and a popular tourist attraction, the Library’s mission is, ‘To safeguard and share the treasures of the past for the enjoyment, enrichment and enlightenment of the city [of Armagh] and the world forever’. The Grade A listed building houses rare books, prints and engravings, manuscripts, coins, medals and fine art.
An application was made to AIM to conserve significant printed publications, published between 1618 and 1758. They include publications relating to the economic history of Ireland, and one on improving the Irish linen industry. Others relate to the Civil War of the 1640s and to the emergence of the two-party political system. Also among the volumes was Simon Latham’s Falconry (1618), which is particularly rare.
Obtaining the grant from AIM helped the Library to secure further funding from the Leche Trust and the Northern Ireland Museums Council to conserve three other volumes. They all required a dry surface clean treatment to remove loose and ingrained dirt. Where there were live mould spores, a disinfection treatment was carried out, while for those volumes where insect activity had been detected an anoxia treatment was undertaken. The work was carried out by Sean Madden, Northern Ireland’s sole independent paper conservator.
“This gratefully received grant will help enable public access to collection items that were previously not accessible due to their condition. As the Library approaches its 250th anniversary next year, we look forward to making the newly conserved publications available for consultation, allowing people to gain deeper insights into different aspects of the past.”
Dr Robert Whan, Director, Armagh Robinson Library
Pictured: ‘Falconry’ after treatment