Thursday, 24 July 2008

Object restoration – Linley & Sons Bellows

This set of bellows was one of the many objects contaminated by flood water. The photo shows the bellows before restoration – the green spots are mould growing on the leather. Conservation engineers went through a four stage process to clean and conserve the bellows:

1. Brushing off the mould spores while simultaneously vacuuming the spores away using a HEPA vacuum cleaner
2. Washing down the bellows with mild soap and warm water to damp down any more spores and clean the leather
3. Spraying the leather with anti-bacterial cleaner to kill off any remaining spores
4. Treatment with "Renaissance Wax" to seal the leather and prevent further mould growth

The bellows after cleaning (but before the final waxing).

The bellows were made by Thomas Linley & Sons, Patent Bellows and Portable Forge Manufacturers. Linley & Sons also suffered in the 1864 flood. The insurance claims register shows they had to pay out for cleaning bills, temporary fencing and “Wages paid to Night Watchman before fence could be erected”. It all sounds very similar to the measures taken at Kelham after the more recent flooding!

Linley & Sons lost 6 dozen pairs of bellows, and others had to be repaired before they could be sold. Their biggest loss was £135 worth of elm planks, although not all the wood that was swept downstream was lost forever – the Linleys also paid out 14 shillings on railway fares for “Messengers in search of Missing Timber” and £1 18s 6d for “Carriage and Cartage of recovered Timber”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had the privilage to live in Sheffield during the academic 2006/2007 year. During that time I took a course with the Workers' Education Association on the history of Sheffield and fell in love with the Kellam Island museum and of course the River Don steam engine. ALL of our visitor had to see it! I shared the devestation of the floods and closing of the museum. It is with great relief that hard work is bringing back this part of our industrial heritage. Back in Canada now but I will return to see and hear the engine once more! Doug McCulloch