Conserving Bradford School Log Books

Back in 2019 (prior to Covid-19), the conservation team embarked upon a project from our Bradford collections. The project consisted of five school log books dating from 1873 right up until 1958. The log books were from Cambridge Place Infants board School, Cambridge Place Junior board school, Wapping Road Infants board school, Wapping Road Junior board school and Bridge Street Board school. We were tasked with the aim of making each book more accessible and safer to handle for enquiries.

Each of the five volumes was in an overall poor condition with damaged covers and spines and with loose, fragile pages inside. The books required cleaning, stabilising, repairing and then rebinding to make them accessible again. The volumes had suffered from historic water damage and were very brittle. This resulted in the pages requiring consolidation to make them more robust.

Before Conservation

After documenting and photographing the condition of each volume, we began by undoing the bindings. We then carefully dry cleaned the paper pages with smoke sponges and soft bristled brushes. Following this, we applied a consolidant to the brittle areas and repaired any torn or missing parts with heat set tissue which was then trimmed.

During Conservation

We made new endpapers and boards which were covered in navy blue bookcloth. The books were then sewn back together in their original signatures and they were cased-in to their new, matching covers. Any original labels were adhered to the endpapers. New labels were made for the front covers using gold lettering stamped on to bookcloth using a backing press.

After Conservation

It has been a fabulous project to work on – providing plenty of bookbinding practice and some great before and after photos!

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