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University Library team helps preserve Oldham’s Book of Remembrance

12 Nov 2013

A team from the University Library has helped save Oldham’s Book of Remembrance ahead of this Sunday’s Remembrance Service.

Re-attaching the pages of the Oldham Book of Remembrance to the drum

The Centre of Heritage Imaging and Collection Care (CHICC), part of 5he University Library, were a key part of the team which has helped preserve Oldham’s Book of Remembrance and digitise the records. The work was part of a larger project to refurbish Oldham’s War Memorial, a Grade II building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest on Church Terrace in the town centre.     

The blessing and re-dedication of the memorial will form part of this year’s Remembrance Service on Sunday.

Caroline Checkley-Scott Collection Care Manager at the University Library, said: “The pages of the Book of Remembrance are attached to a drum, with a mechanism made by local firm Ferranti, which turns to reveal a new page with names of those killed on that day during the First World War. After preparing a condition report and photographing the book, the pages were removed from the drum with the help of staff and students at Oldham Technical College. Individual pages were then dry-cleaned using a specialist cleaner, powder and brushes. Tears in the paper were repaired using Japanese tissue, toned to match the original, and this was fixed in place using a special paste made from wheat starch.”

The book was then digitised to ensure its long-term preservation, and a facsimile book made. The Book of Remembrance has now been returned to its place in the Memorial. 

The preservation was completed as part of a wider restoration programme run by Oldham Council which has seen the town’s Grade II Listed Oldham War Memorial, located on Church Terrace, restored.  The refurbishment was been carried out following expert advice and guidance from English Heritage and the War Memorials Trust. The finished sculpture includes a dark brown finish that is in keeping with its original colour and previous work by sculptor Albert Toft.  Other works included the removal and restoration of the bronze plaques that contain the names of service personnel who lost their lives in combat.

Councillor Cath Ball, who is leading the Council’s 2014 year of Remembrance campaign, said: “As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War it is important that all of our memorials across the Borough are fit for our heroes.”