JAS 72 is one of the biggest things ever to happen to London Metropolitan
Archives (LMA) and the Corporation of London Records Office (CLRO). This
message seeks to explain the main points and motivation behind the JAS 72
Why do we need to do this?
JAS 72 is all about keeping archives in better conditions. LMA’s main
building was not purpose-built for archive storage: it was originally a
printing press. Although the New Block extension building was specially
built to store archives in the 1990s, we have been unable to continue
these large-scale improvements until now. Not only will the shelving in
LMA’s main ground floor be upgraded - 13km of old shelving replaced with
30km of higher quality - we will also be able to refurbish the strongrooms
with better lighting and insulation. As if this wasn’t enough, LMA will
also get a facelift! The windows of the LMA building are all going to be
replaced, which will improve the environment in the building (particularly
in the Reading Room) as well as the outward appearance.
This is the way the project will progress:
Around 52,000 boxes will be moved from the LMA New Block to an off-site
store. These records will be mostly GLC/ILEA/LRB material. Access to this
material will then be by prior appointment, through the Enquiry Team.
April 2004 – June 2004
About 15km of material from the Ground Floor and Second Floor at LMA will
move into the New Block. Material is being moved from the Second Floor to
allow the creation of more office space. Virtually all archives at LMA
will need to shift round in some way. This will inevitably have an effect
on production times, as locations of items will frequently change. It will
also create noise in the public rooms, as trolley activity will increase.
This phase should be completed by the end of June 2004.
July 2004 – February 2005
The next phase will see the dismantling of existing shelving, the
refurbishment of the Ground Floor in the LMA main building, and the
building of bigger, better shelves. At the same time offices will be built
on the second floor at LMA, and a new storage area for plan cabinets will
February 2005 – August 2005
In February 2005, CLRO will start to move over to LMA. This will continue
until August 2005, by which time CLRO should be in place in Clerkenwell.
We will also bring the GLC/ILEA/LRB material back to LMA from the off-site
JAS 72 is so-called because at the end of this project, the LMA building
will have capacity for 72 kilometres of archives. Our current capacity is
around 55km. 72 kilometres is around 45 miles.
Why is this happening now?
Why does it involve the Corporation Records Office?
LMA and CLRO were merged in August 2003 to become the Joint Archive
Service of the Corporation of London (JAS). As Keats House Museum has been
managed by LMA for several years, it is also part of this group.
In many ways this does not directly affect our users. However, JAS 72 does
have an effect. The improvements to the LMA building have been planned for
many years. The reason they are happening now is at the heart of the
Corporation: in Guildhall, home to CLRO.
There is a major development scheme to completely refurbish the North
Block of Guildhall, in order to consolidate the Corporation’s office space
with the Square Mile. CLRO is based in North Block, so it needs to move to
LMA to allow these major building works at Guildhall to take place. This
meshes perfectly with the long-term aims of the Joint Archive Service to
improve storage at LMA’s Clerkenwell site.
The high level of improvements to the LMA site means JAS will now provide
a records management service for all departments in the Corporation of
London. This is a key task for the Corporation as a 21st century authority.
This is a broad overview of JAS 72, for your information only. We will
publicise any detailed information as the need arises.
Communications and Marketing Officer, LMA