what happens to a book when it goes to the conservator?

Each volume in the collection is made from slightly different materials, depending on its age. And, whether or not it has been read many times, or not at all, will affect its condition. Below are a few examples of books recently conserved with help from small grants and kind donors.


Autograph book from Battenhall VAD Hospital

Work carried out:

  • Clean text-block, remove self-adhesive tape repair and residual adhesive (staining caused by tape will remain).

  • Lift paste-downs, carry out minor repairs to text-block, repair endleaves and guard.

  • Re-sew text-block and line spine.

  • Prepare leather for covering and make case.

  • Attach case to text-block, paste endpapers down.


Worcester Lunatic Asylum Regulations, 1888

Work carried out:

  • The book pages were cleaned with smoke sponge and brush, the remains of original sewing were removed and the text-block was taken apart.

  • Residual animal glue was removed from spine folds of outer leaves and separated double leaves were guarded together with RK-15 Japanese paper.

  • The outer leaves were missing and narrow Japanese paper guards were attached to their counterparts forming a hook around the quire for sewing.

  • The text-block was sewn on two cotton tapes and spine was lined with RK-17 Japanese paper.

  • The spine of the case was repaired with acrylic dyed aerolinen inserted underneath the original bookcloth.

  • The case and text-block were re-assembled by adhering the sewing tape and paper linings underneath the original yellow paste-downs.


Operations Case Book, 1870

Work carried out:

  • Text-block cleaned using latex smoke sponge as necessary.

  • Broken paper joints repaired using RK-17 tissue toned using a mixture of acrylic paints and 2% methylcellulose solution. Adhered using Shofu paste.

  • Damaged leather joints repaired with RK-17 tissue toned using a mixture of acrylic paints and 2% methlcellulose solution. Adhered using EVA adhesive.

  • SC6000 acrylic polymer leather treatment applied to toned RK-17 tissue along leather joints.