Dudley Borough Archives and Local History Centre required a modern, archival facility for its valuable collection, having outgrown its previous home in Mount Pleasant, Coseley. “The old building – a former school – was no longer suitable,” said archivist Helen Donald. “We’d run out of space. In addition, we needed to get the environmental conditions right for archival material, and to do so in the existing building would not have been cost effective. A new building was the way forward.” To source an effective archive storage solution for the new build development, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council turned to Bruynzeel.
Bruynzeel supplied manual roller racking systems to maximise the capacity in the storage areas and allow space for a search room and exhibition space to guarantee fast public access to the collection. Dudley Archives chose Mobile shelving units, ranging from 800mm to 1200mm in order to fit three climate-controlled strongrooms. Shelves were tailored to the collection to minimise wasted space, with wide shelves for newspaper files and shorter spans for the smaller photography boxes. Deep shelving was created by putting cabinets back to back, to fit rolled maps above with shallow drawers below for the safe storage of flat maps. Fixed cantilever shelving was added along one wall, near the entrance, to hold oversized maps. All three strongrooms are climate controlled to PD5454 standard with one of the three kept colder with lower humidity for the audio video repository. Perforated steel uprights were specified throughout, to improve airflow. Bruynzeel supplied a total of 8,500 linear metres of shelving, and fitted tracks in the fourth unused strongroom to allow for expansion, should additional shelving be purchased in future.
“Overall we’re happy with the shelving. It’s helped provide better environment for the collection in archival conditions and it’s much faster and easier to access in terms of getting items off the shelves,” said Helen Donald.