Barnsley Archives’ Conservation Programme
6th June 2023
Barnsley Archives and Local Studies have an ongoing conservation programme to ensure that the 4000 collections in their custody can still be safely used by researchers many years, decades and centuries from now. This programme is a crucial part of the work we do and is supported by Barnsley MBC, the Friends of Barnsley Archives and the Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust.
A further item conserved during 2022-3 was the minute book of Brierley Parish Council covering the period 1925-1934. It’s one of several Brierley minute books badly damaged by water, prior to being deposited with us. Its condition was so poor that it couldn’t safely be used by researchers and therefore has been unavailable to view until now.
Minute books are a crucial historical source, documenting how an organisation evolves. Everything that is said and done at meetings is recorded and, crucially, the decisions taken. Parish councils were formed to perform the residuary civil duties which had previously been undertaken by church vestries. The areas of activity included street lighting, allotments, footpaths, recreation grounds, war memorials, village halls, public seating and burial grounds. Discussions regarding all these subjects can be found in the pages of this minute book.
The volume was in a particularly poor condition – worn, dirty, badly damaged and with extensive water and mould damage. There were also a number of supplementary documents which had been inserted throughout the volume – also in a poor condition. The entire volume was cleaned, repaired and repackaged, meaning that it can be safely handled and used by researchers for the very first time. Despite the condition of the volume when it arrived with us, none of the historical information it contains has been lost.