Yesterday our Archivist and colleague took the textiles from the Dean Close Archive collection to the National Conservation Service base at RAF Upper Heyford. The items are due to be frozen for two weeks to rid them of a moth infestation after which they will be stored in environmentally controlled buildings, previously used as hangars, on the airbase.
RAF Heyford opened in 1915 as an aerodrome for the newly formed Royal Flying Corps, which would later become the RAF. After WW2 it was leased to the United States Air Force. During the Cold War the site was home to F1-11 fighters which were kept constantly on standby ready to respond to any Soviet threat. USAF left Heyford in 1994 and handed it back to the MOD. Part of the site remains an historical monument.
Today Heyford is an industrial estate, however what makes it particularly suitable for the work of NCS is that during the 1970s the steel hangars were covered with 2ft of concrete. This has made the hangars ideal storage spaces for archives and museum objects as the concrete insulates them against the seasonal changes outside, so providing a more stable environment within.
It was a fascinating visit and we cannot thank the staff at NCS enough for helping with the textiles and taking the time to show us the storage facility. A thoroughly fascinating visit and glimpse into a truly modern example of an historical monument and how it can be sensitively adapted whilst still being preserved and maintained as a part of our heritage