Archive services in Cardiff and Ceredigion will receive over £12,000 to help conserve fragile and damaged items in their collections.
The funding is being allocated to conserve items currently held under restricted access because of their fragile condition and will make them much more accessible to students, researchers and local users.
Around £2900 is being allocated to Cardiff University to conserve the writings of Edward Thomas (1878-1917), one of the most significant British poets of WW1.
The money will enable the conservation of a set of deeply personal manuscripts and notebooks that underpin Edward Thomas’ artistic method.
The work will allow these manuscripts and notebooks to be shared and fully exploited by audiences and researchers worldwide. It complements a conference being held this year by Cardiff University to make the centenary of Edward Thomas’ death.
Around £9200 is being allocated to the Ceredigion Archives to conserve the Florrie Hamer Papers. This collection comprises the documents, memoirs, correspondence, photographs and ephemera of Flora Hamer (1903 -1994) who was a daughter of estate workers and a lady’s companion.
Flora worked with three major local families, including Lord Ystwyth of Tanybwlch, the Pryse family of Gogerddan and the Powell family of Nanteos. Her unique relationship with the anglicised gentry and nobility in this most Welsh part of Wales gave her intimate access to a way of life already entering its inevitable decline.
The significance of this collection lies in its rarity; it is a microcosm of a national phenomenon, reflecting the last days of a way of life which had persisted for hundreds of years. The conservation work will stabilise and protect the items while retaining as much of its original character as possible.
Economy Secretary, Ken Skates said:
“I am grateful to the NMCT Trustees for their continued support of archive conservation projects in Wales. Since 2008 we have opened up access to and rediscovered some truly amazing collections. This year is no exception with the timely conservation of two fascinating collections; the notebooks of Edward Thomas, one of the most significant poets of the First World War, and the unique collection of material compiled by Florrie Hamer held by Ceredigion Archives which provides a charming insight into a bygone age.”
Since 2008 the NMCT, in partnership with the Welsh Government, has supported 37 projects and has conserved items and collections of national and international importance held by archives across Wales, including letters of correspondence from the trenches of the First World War, Family Pedigrees and historic maps.
The conservation work will enhance access to the items as once they are in a stable condition, they can be studied, handled and safely digitised, and consequently made available to a wider audience via the internet.
Lord Egremont, Chairman of the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, said:
“'We are delighted that NMCT's collaboration with Welsh Government has resulted in further high quality conservation projects in Wales receiving support. We are also grateful to the Colwinston Trust for their support for these projects. Thanks to NMCT’s partnership with the Welsh Government we have now awarded grants totalling over £200,000 since 2008. These grants are ensuring that hundreds of significant maps, manuscripts, papers and collections are conserved and made accessible - an important contribution to the preservation of Wales’ history."