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In April 2014, the cataloguing project ‘Wales Showing Our Metal’ (funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme) will begin. Archives and Records Council Wales have now also secured a vital grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to enable a programme of conservation, cleaning and re-packaging work to run alongside it.

The project will utilise the skills of conservators, preservation assistants and trained volunteers and will include:

  • Detailed conservation work on a series of patents, correspondence and reports of the Dowlais Iron Company, concerning the Bessemer process at Dowlais Works, including correspondence with Sir Henry Bessemer. These are held by Glamorgan Archives and require interventive treatment in order to correct earlier outdated conservation work and address concerns over their future accessibility.
  • Repair work on watercolour plans and a rentbook from Brymbo Steelworks at Flintshire Record Office.
  • Cleaning and re-packaging work for the collection due to be catalogued (British Steel Collection at Glamorgan Archives, Iron and Steel Trades Confederation at Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University and Brymbo Steelworks Records at Flintshire Records Office and Wrexham Archives).

Combined, the cataloguing and conservation work will go a long way in raising the accessibility, profile and use of Wales’ steel archive collections as a whole. Updates on progress will be posted here regularly.