Following discussions earlier this year with interested institutions and
NCS members, and further technical and financial explorations with
Restore Plc, the NCS Collaborative Cold Storage Scheme expects to launch
early in 2016 at Upper Heyford Oxfordshire, alongside our archival and
museum storage vaults.
A series of criteria and service options were discussed with interested
parties and a basic schedule has been developed. Storage space in a
freezer vault will be available for rent to at least two basic crate
sizes. The smallest of these is expected to take approximately 3,000
5"x4" format negatives or equivalent, if each neg is sleeved and inside
a standard photo box (considerably more smaller formats, e.g. c.6,000
medium format and c.9,000 35mm). The indicative price for rental of
space in the collaborative store is £25 + VAT p.a. for one of these
crates, i.e. less than a penny an image per year (between £0.00.28 to
£0.00.83 per image). The larger crate size would be double the volume
of the smaller. Actual quantities of photos per crate will depend on
the photo packaging and formats.
The vault will be held at -20 degC, with a back-up freezer unit for
servicing and in case one fails. The RH in the vault will not be
controlled but instead negs etc will be stored inside sleeves/boxes
which themselves will be sealed up ('double bagged') with a silica gel
buffer at low RH ahead of freezing, in order to maintain an appropriate
RH when inside the freezer.
Service options include the simplest, where the collecting institution
is provided with the lidded plastic crates into which their staff place
boxed/sleeved items into ziplock bags to our template and return the
filled crates for freezing. With this option, as long as the items are
bagged properly, it will be up to the institution to decide whether or
not the sleeves and boxes holding the negs etc are an appropriate photo
Alternatively, quotes can be provided for a service to be provided at
Heyford in the NCS studio, to sleeve/box and then bag up boxes into the
crates, prices depending on quantities and condition etc. Low cost
digitisation projects can be carried out in one of our London studios,
or at Heyford.
If demand is sufficient we will invest in bulk purchasing for sleeves,
photo boxes, bags and gel sachets and supply these at a discount arising
from the economies of scale provided.
Each storage crate will be bar-coded as a minimum for location and
retrieval purposes and the member would provide data to be input
alongside the bar-code, so that boxes or even single items can be
retrieved if required. Bar-code labels and inputting will be charged at
a one-off 50p per bar-code as currently.
If you would like to join the cold storage scheme to protect your
plastic photographic collections, please would you let us know
approximate numbers and formats and likely start time. We can arrange
for an Associate to visit you if you need help in planning a project to
get your photographs stored safely.
Chris Woods, Director, National Conservation Service, 21 Albemarle
Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4BS, www.ncs.org.uk, tel: 07855796985. NCS
membership is operated by Nationwide Conservation Service Ltd, a
not-for-profit membership company limited by guarantee, registered in
England & Wales no. 07077608 VAT reg. 202361951 reg address 21 Albemarle
St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BS. NCS trading is provided by Conservation
Ltd, a company registered in England & Wales no. 6659286 VAT reg. 981
6962 69 reg address 21 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BS
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