Session 7 on Zoom 9th October ‘Virtual Tour of Archive and Memorable Objects’

Session 7 on Zoom 9th October ‘Virtual Tour of Archive and Memorable Objects’

2.30 to 3.30 – Zoom workshop, hosted by Restoration Trust (RT) and presented from London Metropolitan Archives (LMA)

Our second workshop started with a small technical difficulty as the Zoom invites glitched, but this was soon sorted out and everyone arrived on screen as expected. LMA staff had prepared a recorded tour of the archive, as our plan to carry it out a ‘live’ walk-around with a camera, streaming images directly into the session, proved to be too ambitious given the limitations of internet access in the depths of the archive storage spaces.

Sadly, the computer issues continued and while the tour started, it froze almost immediately and kicked everyone out of the session! We tried again with the same result, so instead the film was made available via a closed YouTube link for participants to view in their own time.

The session continued with tales of lockdown from Caroline. She told us how the archive managed the conservator’s time when the sudden change meant everyone had to start working from home. Conservators have to do treatments in the studio and as they could not carry on with their normal tasks they spent most of their time planning training sessions and on-line talks.

Prior to the workshop I had asked if everyone could bring an object to the session. The object could be something important to them or something that was broken; or both. My object was a wooden Russian doll that I have had since I was a child. The paint had become scratched and it was a bit dirty. We talked about how to clean it, if indeed I wanted to do that, with damp cotton buds, gently rolled over the surface so the paint was not scratched. I did not mind the lost paint on her eye because it reminded me of playing with the doll when I was young.

Russian doll with missing painted eye

Other objects included a china rabbit, which had been given as a present and was also a bit dirty. Another participant showed us a metal commemorative tankard, which had the date and name engraved on the side and had been given out to all children at a wedding. It had been dented here-and-there but was usable and stored pens. The next objects were two sets of tennis bats, one old and the other new. The older set of bats showed their history through wear of the surface and were no longer useful as they had lost their bounce. They continued to be precious objects without need of repair or cleaning, indeed I suggested they could go in a frame on the wall!

The session came to an end with a short introduction of the task for our next workshop in 2 weeks’ time and despite the technological challenges it was a friendly and relaxed event.

Helen Lindsay, RT Project Worker and Paper Conservator

Session 6 on Zoom 25th September ‘Sewing Pamphlets’

Session 6 on Zoom 25th September Sewing Pamphlets

2.30 to 3.30 – Zoom workshop, hosted by Restoration Trust (RT) and presented from London Metropolitan Archives (LMA)

We’re Back! After lockdown, which closed the archive and turned the world upside down for a while, we have, like so many others, re-surfaced to find that we must function differently. The Zoom meeting room is having its moment and we have joined the on-line community that is the ‘Zoom workshop’. Its not the same as our face-to-face sessions but our first meeting went well, with positive and encouraging feedback.

Following introductions and a summary of the session, Caroline, the LMA studio manager, took us on a tour of the conservation workshop. LMA is located in a re-purposed printing works so the rooms are large and airy with high ceilings and an open plan arrangement. Perfect set-up for a conservation studio.

Caroline used her laptop on a trolley to prevent any shaking and we got both an overview of the room and close-up views of the various types of equipment; sink, fume cupboard, presses etc.

Each participant had been posted a package with materials for the workshop and after the tour Caroline went through the contents and explained why a paper or book conservator would want to know how to sew a pamphlet.


The package contained thread, a needle (with a small piece of cork on its sharp point), cut sheets, written instructions and a template for the sewing stations.

The cover images are of the hospital building from the St Luke’s hospital collection we have been working with.


For more information on history of the hospital see LMA’s Principle Archivist Phillipa Smith’s blog about St Luke’s hospital on The Wellcome Trust website;

The demonstration of how to sew a 5 hole pamphlet worked well, and was straightforward to do, but there is no doubt that was down to the preparation in the packages plus the concentration and skills of the participants.

We were pleased by the good feeling and input from all, and with both new and existing participants it will be interesting to see how the Zoom meetings compare with our face-to-face sessions in January and February.



Certainly, there was less opportunity to chat in the virtual space, or follow-up on chance remarks but hope that as we get more used to this way of working, we can find more ways to foster interaction and discussion.

Helen Lindsay, RT Project Worker and Paper Conservator