Case Studies

Case Studies

Cost effective off-site storage solution for Middlesbrough Council


The customer

Teesside Archives, managed by Middlesbrough Council, collects, catalogues, and preserves records and documents relating to the areas of Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool, and Redcar & Cleveland, and makes them available for research.

The current home for archives, Exchange House, was no longer fit for purpose due to deterioration. Middlesbrough Council investigated options to bring the building up the standards required to store the archives but identified that this was cost prohibitive.

A decision was made to move the archives team to a new office at the Dorman Museum and move the archives into commercial storage with retrieval arrangements. They needed to store 30,000 boxes of public information that included a variety of different types of materials, plans, maps, books as well as public records managed on behalf of the National Archives. The items dated back 100’s of years and were of historical and significant importance. Finding a supplier to handle, transfer and store this material in the manner and conditions required was essential. Due to the ongoing need to access these records, finding a supplier who was local and could provide a cost-effective delivery solution was also vital.

After spending time with the archives team to fully understand the scope of the project it was clear they required a bespoke storage solution. Restore met with the Project Lead and Records Management team on multiple occasions to fully understand the needs and requirements. With our experience of managing heritage collections and transfers we believed we had a solution which met the requirements of Middlesbrough Council.

Rather than offering a standard storage solution, a dedicated section of the warehouse was provided for the collection with environmental monitoring controls installed. We installed sensors that could be accessed remotely so the archives team could monitor and report on the conditions themselves. An adjacent room was created to allow the team to attend the site and view their collection in situ if required.

To ensure the site was acceptable to all parties, several site visits took place with the onsite conservator who managed the records and the main contact from The National Archives who have overall responsibility for the storage of Public Records. Only when all parties signed off on the solution were we able to progress the transfer.

The project had a few challenges in the early stages, this was a specialist project with historical importance and the first time the archives had been moved off-site. By working closely with the team at Middlesbrough Council and being proactive we were able to iron out any glitches quickly, ensuring we delivered a successful outcome.

When transporting heritage items, we used our relocation team, Restore Harrow Green, who are archive collection moving specialists with experience packing and moving items for museums, libraries, and other organisations with delicate collections. When handling rare, precious, or fragile records or items they are handled with care and inappropriate archival materials, such as Tyvek, and properly wrapped and crated. This ensured the packing provided peace of mind as they were transported. Rolled up materials such as plans, and maps were placed in cardboard tubing to keep them protected. Tight packaging stops any items from moving and getting damaged while being moved. All of the boxes and volumes were barcoded to ensure that all items in the collection could be tracked.

A secondary storage facility for artefacts that did not require continual retrieval was provided. Their collections are housed in converted ex-Cold War hardened aircraft shelters providing optimum protection from flooding, fire, damp, and pests. We also work with National Conservation Service (NCS) to ensure the ex-Cold War hardened aircraft shelters meet the stringent storage requirements of BS4971:2017.

A transport plan was put together to provide a weekly retrieval from our Spennymoor site and monthly from Upper Heyford to provide a cost effective way of delivering items to the Dorman Museum with next day options for urgent requirements.

The conditions, security, and inventory management provides Teesside Archives with the confidence that their collections are secure and well maintained.

The contract has been awarded for 5 years whilst a plan is being put together for the Dorman Museum. We provide storage for over 25,000 boxes, 4,700 public records and 4,200 heritage items.

By providing access to the collections through our Restore Web portal, it has enabled the Records team to rely on Restore to do the physical retrieval and returns of items, frees up essential space at the Dorman Museum and enables the Records Team to focus on providing the public the service they require rather than spending time managing the housing of the archives.

  • Bespoke storage for 25,000 boxes, 4,700 public records and 4,200 heritage items.
  • Freed up essential space at the Dorman Museum
  • The Records Team now have more time to serve the public

 


“Restore Records Management took the time to understand our requirements and what was important to us. A solution tailored to our needs was provided and our archive is being stored and managed in a safe pair of hands.”

Ruth Hobbins, Middlesbrough Council

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