As part of the heritage weekend I popped along to the Berkshire Record Office for a tour of the strong rooms and conservation areas. Starting with a talk on what they kept in the records office we learnt about the day to day running of keeping the records safe. Here they keep paper records, maps, books, and local family history documents. There is also free access to many of their records on-line. They also keep copies of micro-film on CD away from the originals which are kept in London.
On the tour we were shown how they repair paper by dipping it into a vat of papier-mâché type gunk in the restoration room. There were lots of papers waiting to be processed. They also explained the difference between parchment and paper, as well as the best way to keep photos if you want to preserve them for future generations.
There are strong rooms that contain very precious books and maps and papers that they can get out on request for you to look at. They explained that they have to keep the strong rooms at a constant temperature to stop any insects, fungus, or bacteria destroying the contents.www.berkshirerecordoffice.org.uk