Tag Archives: the keep

Research at the Keep part two

Tuesday 17th November:

This time 5 of our older volunteers got their turn in visiting the new archive at the Keep, Falmer – the site of the East Sussex Record Office and the University of Sussex Special Collections as well as other local history collections.

Whilst our volunteers, and the project coordinator, have all visited archives before there is always something new to learn.

Keep 1. (1)

Keep 2. (7)

Conservator Melissa Williams took us through a guide to paper handling and the principles of conservation for books, photographic prints and photographic plates. For example only using non-ferrous metals (most commonly brass) for paper clips and staples as they don’t degrade.

We followed this by some relaxing map cleaning. Melissa showed us how and why the materials used to clean the maps had changed over time from drafting powder to modern Mars Staedler rubber erasers.

Keep 5 (7)

One of the most exciting events of the day was when Archivist Elizabeth Hughes took us behind the scenes to see where the documents, materials, books, etc. were quarantined then finally deposited in the archive.

The quarantine – a week in a blast freezer at -35 degrees C – kills off any moths or pests that could damage the rest of the collection.

We finished up with a look through the same coroner’s reports the students viewed on September 24th. The older volunteers brought new perspectives to our understanding of these  from their personal experiences and research – e.g. a medical perspective and knowledge of the camp layout.

Keep 6 (6)

Thank you very much to Elizabeth Hughes and Melissa Williams for a thoroughly interesting day at the Keep. Four of our volunteers have even signed up for readers cards in order to visit the archive in their own time for their own research.



Secondary Research at The Keep

Students at the Keep searching WW1 coroner reportsjpeg

24th September 2014: Creative Media Production students visited The Keep, the site of the East Sussex Records Office and the University of Sussex Special Collection as well as other local history collections. The main aim of the visit was for students to learn how to handle delicate paper and photographic artefacts and to learn how to execute searches using the archive’s electronic database and physical facilities.




melissa and glass plate photosjpeg

Firstly, students learnt how handle paper and photographic documents and learnt about the specific issues involved in caring for and handling delicate artefacts. For instance- all of the older photographic and film based documents are stored at 12 degrees centigrade to prevent spontaneous explosion of the unstable silver nitrate used in pre 1933 film fabrication.demo cleaningjpeg

zoe and jorgejpeg

We we also introduced to the care of paper documents and all had a go at cleaning up old maps using drafting powder and erasers: very therapeutic work! Many thanks to conservators Mellisa Williams and Donna Edwards for sharing some of their expertise and knowledge.

students listening to Liz

After a short break , archivist Elizabeth Hughes showed the students how to complete online searches and how to access physical documents. the session ended with a tantalising look at some genuine documents from the Slonk Hill Camp, including coroner’s reports, police reports and eye witness statements and maps of the Buckingham Park area.

coroners report

Many thanks to everyone at the Keep and to Hamish McGillivray, curator at  Worthing Museum for organising the visit to the Keep and for helping out on the day.