The BBC’s purpose-built media Archive in Perivale, London, opened in 2011. The BBC archive is a rich historical resource that can track the evolution of broadcasting in documents, radio programmes, television programmes, photos, sheet music and vinyl collections. It really is one of the largest broadcast archives in the world. It is held on multiple tape/film/sound formats and it needs to be housed in appropriate climate controlled vaults in order to prevent the tape and film stock degrading over time. The new BBC archive centre has nine climate controlled vaults which can be individually adjusted for temperature and relative humidity. It is fitted with a series high-density archive storage systems to house the Corporation’s precious stock of archive material. The archive contains a total of 3.7 million items.
Having undertaken the complete operation, including the installation of 3.9 metre-high mezzanine floors, more than 5 km of rails for the high density mobile storage systems, together with 4500 sq.m of infill-flooring on the ground-floor, and a similar quantity of steel mesh decking on the mezzanine level, we were able to provide the BBC Archive Centre Perivale with more than 85,000 shelves. The building now provides 100km of linear shelf capacity. Consisting of shelving units mounted on mobile carriages that run on floor rails, it reduces the footprint of a storage system by having only one “floating” aisle instead of a series of fixed aisles.