UCL News


Investigation into natural ageing of historic objects revealed at seminar in May

16 May 2003

UCL's Centre for Sustainable Heritage is organising a seminar in collaboration with English Heritage, the National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces.

Brodsworth Hall Library, 1910 (English Heritage) The seminar is being held at English Heritage on 7 May 2003, and will report on the findings of a year long research project, led by Mr Joel Taylor (Centre for Sustainable Heritage), into the natural ageing of historic objects.

The project has resulted in a new methodology for assessing the long-term deterioration of artefacts in historic houses. The seminar will discuss the methods and also the future of this research.

In some cases, collections within the buildings have been monitored for relative humidity and temperature. Light and pollution data may also have been gathered in more recent times, along with records of cleaning, maintenance and diary entries.

Ms May Cassar (Centre of Sustainable Heritage) said: "This data is a valuable source for the researchers investigating the relationship between the environment and damage to cultural heritage. This can be combined with qualitative data and observations on the objects' condition. Over a long period of time, this data will help us estimate the relationship between environmental conditions and object preservation."

An advisor on the project has recently been appointed as a visiting professor at the centre. Dr Nigel Seeley was a member of the steering panel while he was Head of Conservation at the National Trust, advising the team on identifying testing methods for the ageing of paper. Dr Seeley is returning to UCL after 14 years, as he was previously in the Institute of Archaeology's Department of Archaeological Conservation and Materials Science from 1974-1989.

Image: Brodsworth Hall Library, 1910 (English Heritage).

To find out more about the seminar use the link below.

Link: Sustainable Heritage