Book month at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Conservation in action at book month at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

We are coming into the last stages, and fourth year of the Sissinghurst Book Project. At a cost of £100,000, the project has meant that we now know the condition of the 11,000 books in our collection.

With an extensive personal library, taking good care of it is a year round task.  Over time our collection has been damaged by pests, bad handling, gravity and even slugs.
Extensive remedial conservation work has taken place in front of visitors over 4 years to ensure it's a collection that will stand the test of time.
 
Our team of volunteers have assessed each and every book and are now onto the final section used in South Cottage where Harold Nicolson had his study.
This year, expert book conservators will be finishing the work on Vita Sackville-West’s collection of books, in her writing room in the tower.
They will remove the books from the shelves and bring them to the South Cottage, which will turn into a conservation studio for our Autumn book month throughout October. 
 
 
Come and see conservation in action at book month at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Conservation in action at book month at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Come and see conservation in action at book month at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

This hugely important work, costing up to £20 per book to conserve means that we now know they are housed in the best possible conditions.

As a predominately 20th century collection of books, they are intrinsically weaker than older books, as they are glued together rather than sewn and the paper quality is often not as good. 85% of the books in the library have been made bookshoes, to give support to the textblocks. 

In Vita’s Writing Room, shelfliners have been made, to offer support to the pages without taking up so much room on the shelves, as it is important to keep the integrity of the layout of the books, which  is as Vita left it on her death.

See book conservation in action everyday in October.