A delay in the construction of our new building has resulted in the postponement of the archive project timetable.
The future rehearsal room in our new building has been prepared as an office for our team, so that we can work on-site. It was decided, to avoid damage, that the archive collection will remain at the old location until it is sent away for cleaning and conservation.
Our archive collection has been transferred from our temporary office in London to the National Conservation Service facility in Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire. There, the paper material will undergo a thorough four-month cleaning and re-boxing process, readying it for its transfer back to London (and eventually to the purpose-built archive store in our new building).
The materials for building our temperature-controlled archive store have been delivered to the new Riverside Studios. The four-hour-fire-protected room must be constructed in our basement before other fit-out work is conducted around it. This is expected to take three engineers just over a week to complete. Please see the bottom of this page for an image of the building process.
The process of cleaning and re-boxing Riverside’s archive has been completed by the National Conservation Service. Senior Conservator, Marie Chappell tells us about the work she and her colleague conducted:
“In the cold and darkening days of late November, the Riverside Archive arrived at our studio at Upper Heyford. When fully decanted, we stood looking at it with one thought passing through our minds- have we allowed enough time for this?
A quick survey of the material revealed the mould-affected objects were in fact, very mouldy. I sampled the mould and sent this away for assessment. Mould can be toxic and can easily spread to the surrounding environment and materials so it’s always good to know what you are looking at. The results proved that personal protective equipment was a must!
When the boxes arrived, the quantity made them impressive in their own right, and with this we commenced our work. It was very satisfying to check the unaffected material and rehouse this in clean, neat, new boxes- because really, all conservators love new boxes. This work moved much more quickly than most practical conservation projects. It was pleasing to see the swift movement of material from one space to the other.
The mould-cleaning was enjoyable in different way. The mould came in many colours- white, green, blueish, black, orange and gold- with lots of different surface topography. Seeing the coloured and often fuzzy spores brush away into the low-pressure suction unit, leaving behind a clean surface, was rewarding.
There was also a fair amount of material which although mould- free was water damaged. There was material into which colour had bled from the coloured folders turning it shades of pink, orange, green and blue. Sadly, this was something which could not be remediated. Then there was the material which was very firmly stuck together. This was a challenge! These little sandwiches within folders had to be gently prised apart with hand tools. The upshot was that this material more than doubled in size. Good thing we ordered so many boxes!”
The collection (now stored in 300+ A3 boxes) has been transported from NCS in Upper Heyford to Crown Fine Art storage in Stockwell, where it will remain until the new Riverside Studios and its on-site archive storage is ready to receive it.
August 2019 - July 2021