The Trustees of NMCT awarded 12 grants at their recent meeting.
The funds that we had available for grant giving were much reduced due to the effect of Covid-19 on NMCT's income. However, given the effect of Covid on collecting institutions and on freelance conservators the Trustees felt that it was vital that NMCT should give as much support as it could in such an extraordinarily challenging year. They therefore decided, for the first time, to dip into reserves, enabling them to award grants totalling £153,000.
The 12 grants will ensure the preservation of a huge range of nationally significant manuscripts. Many of these projects will have an additional benefit as they will create training opportunities for early career conservators. Among these are the Lambeth Palace Library project, which will create an 18-month opportunity for a new conservator to work under supervision from an accredited colleague. The University of Glasgow project will create three opportunities: the conservator's role will be backfilled, creating an opportunity for an early career conservator to gain experience. The conservator will thus be freed up to undertake this complex conservation project and will have specialist supervision from an external book conservator; the skills and experience gained will contribute to her portfolio when she seeks Accreditation. The external consultant will also give a training session, open to all book and paper conservators, on the techniques being used.
A full list of grants awarded is as follows:
Bodleian Library: £20,000 for the conservation of the Green Books of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
The ‘Green Books’ are 27 volumes of Mendelssohn’s incoming correspondence from the age of twelve and contain a staggering wealth of information. They provide a key resource for historians and researchers studying Mendelssohn and his circle and those interested in the Romantic Movement.
East Sussex Record Office: £3,780 for the conservation and digitisation the Scrapbooks of Henry D Roberts (1870-1951)
University of Edinburgh: £22,734 for Through Lyell’s Eyes – conservation of the Sir Charles Lyell CollectionsLyell (1797-1875) popularised the geological theory that the power of known natural causes could explain the Earth's history. Lyell is particularly noted for his influence on his friend Charles Darwin. Lyell influenced not only his geological understanding but provided the basis of deep time from which he could construct his theory of evolution.
University of Glasgow: £14,825 for From Mexico to Madrid: the Historia de Tlaxcala (MS Hunter 242)
This volume is a narrative history of the state of Tlaxcala in Mexico, accompanied by an illustrated chronicle of 156 drawings. Originally compiled by Diego Muñoz Camargo, the two parts of the manuscript were brought together when the work was presented to King Philip II of Spain as a diplomatic gift in 1584-85.
Lambeth Palace Library: £20,000 for the conservation of the ‘Court of Arches’ manuscript collection (Bbb series)
Norfolk Museums Service: £20,350 for the conservation of a medieval Processional, and a Commonplace Book from Castle Acre
University of Nottingham: £12,333 for the conservation of the papers of Thomas Chambers Hine (1813-1899), architect of Nottingham, 1647-1925T.C. Hine was an eminent Nottingham architect who was responsible for work on a great many churches, houses, railway stations and other buildings in and around Nottingham.
Royal Society: £4,359 for A Very Curious Almanack (c.1383-1415; MS/45) a curious medieval almanack is one of the oldest items in the Royal Society collections.
South West Heritage Trust: £11,252 for the conservation of the Diocese of Bath and Wells Probate Accounts 1577-1748
The Unicorn Preservation Society, Dundee: £680 for Unveiling the potential of HMS Unicorn’s Visitors’ Book
Dating back to 1929, the Visitors Book is an important source on HMS Unicorn’s role as a naval headquarters during the Second World War.
Wisbech Museum: £7,222 for the conservation of holograph manuscript of The Monk, by Matthew Gregory Lewis
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service: £16,515 for Willing Worcestershire
A project that aims to repair the most fragile of probate documents in the 1,000 boxes from the Bishop of Worcester’s Consistory Court, and later the Worcester Probate Registry, which date from 1493.