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Monday, 12 March 2012

A New Season

A definite touch of spring in the air today and another reminder that Smail's will be re-opening shortly.

Falcon Printing press
Last week Rachel ran a very effective Collections Care workshop for the volunteers who work on al the historic items that go to make the Printing Works as we know it.  It is not just the paper records that need care the Machine Room threw up a very interesting conundrum over the winter.  The Falcon press has an early attempt to automate paper handling.  Part of which is a bellows which provides a stream of air to separate the sheets of paper as they are picked up by suckers.  The bellows are made of wood and leather and the leather rubs on a part of the press wearing a hole.  It is probably been doing this for many years - a possible design fault from the start - but the result is much less reliable paper pick up.  If we want to continue to demonstrate this press the damage needs to be repaired.  How best can we achieve this, particularly as the Trust prefers conservation to restoration.

There was another landmark today.  Mrs Harrison, Miss Mayes the Clerkess, Mr Murray the Compositor, Mr McGregor the Printer, Tony Hope the Printer's Apprentice, Mr Stephenson from South Africa and Davy the  Yardman met at a local coffee shop to discuss the attendance at the Printing Works next week of a number of potential apprentices.  They will be coming from St Ronans and Walkerburn Schools. Yes it is living History Week again.  There are no prizes for working out who is behind some of these people although I understand that Mr Stephenson always sets Mrs Harrison's heart a flutter.  At least this year Mr Stephenson and Davy the Yardman won't disappear to Melrose Sports one day.

A week later we all meet for this year's Team Talk before the Smail's opens its doors to the public once more.

We open for the  new season on Sunday, 1 April and should close again on Monday 29 October.  The next special event in the calendar is the Easter Egg hunt a week after we re-open.

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