Rapid response centre to save archives at risk

Pictured  at North Yorkshire County Record Office, Northallerton , archives from the Dundas family, Zetland Estate. Picture by Gerard Binks.
Pictured at North Yorkshire County Record Office, Northallerton , archives from the Dundas family, Zetland Estate. Picture by Gerard Binks.
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The North Yorkshire County Records Office is to become a rapid response centre for safeguarding local heritage and precious historic archives in the case of any emergency such as flood or fire.

Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a North Yorkshire Training Programme is being established at the County Record Office which will train staff and volunteers from local museums and other heritage organisations so they are prepared in a crisis.

It will also house emergency equipment for dealing with fire or flood.

The grant of almost £10,000 was awarded to the Rapid Response Network, a group of 46 libraries, archives and museums in the Yorkshire and Humber region that work together to protect collections from the effects of fire and flood.

The network already stores emergency equipment and runs training at four centres in Beverley, Harewood, Rotherham and Wakefield, but had no centre in North Yorkshire.

Conservation staff at the record office will now develop their expertise in order to deliver rapid response training

County Coun Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for the record office said: “We are delighted that the County Record Office will become a centre of expertise and excellence in protecting the dozens and dozens of collections that exist in the area in the event of an emergency.

“Our heritage centres spend millions on the acquisition and exploitation of our collections so it is crucial we have expertise in supporting them to reinforce their disaster plans.

“North Yorkshire is England’s largest county so it is also crucial that we have an emergency centre nearer to hand than in west, south or east Yorkshire.”

Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The North Yorkshire Training Programme will help a range of organisations in North Yorkshire to gain essential training to help prepare them and their sites for future.

“This project will provide specific skills to volunteers in the sector and safeguard our local heritage.”

Rapid Response Network members in North Yorkshire include: Bedale Museum, the Georgian Theatre Royal and the Green Howards Regimental Museum in Richmond, Thirsk Museum and the World of James Herriot, Great Ayton’s Captain Cook’s Schoolroom Museum, the North Yorkshire County Records Office, Kiplin Hall and Shandy Hall, as well as Scarborough Museum Trust, Harrogate Museums, the York Archaeological Trust, the York Glaziers Trust, the York Museums Trust and the Craven Museum Service.