AMEJ 01 04 21 before repair


AMEJ 1/4/21 in its insect-ravaged state, before repair.

AMEJ 01 04 21 after repair


AMEJ 1/4/21 after two years of work, fit to be used again.

These are just a few pages from an entire box of horribly damaged papers, which is part of the archive of Julian Amery. The Amery Papers are one of the Archives Centre’s most heavily-used collections, Julian Amery having been a cabinet minister in the administrations of Macmillan, Douglas-Home and Heath, but they were also one of the collections most in need of repair. Together with the papers of Julian’s father Leo, they were stored for many years in the basement of the family home in Eaton Square, which unfortunately turned out to be both damp and home to a healthy colony of paper-eating insects.

Our conservators have worked patiently for years, repairing the damage done by mould (which bloomed spectacularly in great purple and orange blotches over some papers), and insect jaws. In particular, three boxes of Julian Amery’s personal correspondence while he was Parliamentary Under Secretary at the War Office in 1957-58, were practically in shreds. Our Conservation Assistant Jana Kostalikova has spent the last two years repairing about 300 pages from just one of those boxes. She has written previously about her work, at the beginning of this project, in a blog of 2015, but actually getting one of the boxes back into use again definitely deserves a drum-roll! Now there are just those other two boxes …

— Katharine Thomson, Archivist

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