The preparations for the John Gray Centre move continue unabated here in East Lothian; one of the larger tasks has been preparing Local History’s collection of fine and early printing for transport. The collection currently numbers 90-odd volumes, with the majority of them having an East Lothian interest – author, topic, binder, or seller. The preparation for transport has involved creating acid-free enclosures for all of the volumes, which are spread in age from the 1600s through to the 1800s.
Unfortunately, many of these items have ended up in relatively poor condition over hundreds of years: some of the cover boards are damaged or broken off from the spines, many edges are damaged through wear, and a lot of the leather has started to dry out and deteriorate. Work has been done to ensure that the condition of the leather bindings is stabilised, and the physical structures of the books have in many cases had to be supported with archival tape. Each book has been carefully measured and an individually sized enclosure built for it using acid-free board.
Once all of the items are suitably prepared for transport, the exciting part of the job can begin – cataloguing these books! There is a wide range of topics and authors covered, and there are sure to be some gems of historical interest contained within.