Hello from the Conservation Studio!

Tucked away in the beautiful Grade I listed buildings of Lambeth Palace you will find a studio dedicated to ensuring the longevity of the library. Here in the conservation studio we use specialised skills to conserve and preserve the library’s collections.

The Studio itself dates back to the 1950’s, originally consisting of two cupboards and two benches set amongst shelves of printed books. Space was limited to say the least! This was especially tight for the part-time Conservators from the British Museum who initially manned the studio. Fortunately the need for a fully equipped studio to care for the Lambeth Palace Library was recognised and in 1993 the Church Commissioners funded the refitting of the studio. The outcome was an exemplary conservation studio that shines within the conservation community and amongst heritage organisations. In 2012 the studio underwent further work to reinforce the floor to address sagging caused mostly by footfall. Permission was sought from English heritage and Lambeth Heritage to create an oak floor with embedded steel beams. The studio we see today accommodates all of the heavy equipment and materials needed to care for the unique collections held by Lambeth Palace Library. It is home to a dynamic team of five that implement collection care to high professional standards across the library.

Meet the Team

Janet Atkinson
Conservation Manager
Janet joined Lambeth Palace Library as a Senior Conservator in 2002 and was the only Conservator here at the time. Since then the department has grown and she now manages a team of Conservators as well as the studio. Janet specialises in the conservation of early printed books.

Fiona Johnston
Consortium Conservator
Fiona works in the studio at Lambeth Palace Library on collection material from Lambeth Palace Library, Church of England Record Centre and Westminster Abbey.  Working across these collections Fiona is able to conserve materials ranging from medieval manuscripts and bindings through to 20th century architectural drawings.

Talitha Wachtelborn
Sion Collection Conservator
Talitha is surveying, conserving and boxing books from the ARC Sequence of Sion College Library.  Her conservation work is part of a project to catalogue and conserve these books in order to make them available to readers.

Suzy Pawlak
Volunteer Conservator
Suzy is a trained books conservator. She volunteers in the studio one day a week supporting projects and studio work.

Ian Watson
Preservation Manager
Ian ensures the best possible environment is maintained for the collections within the Grade I listed buildings of Lambeth Palace. He is also currently building a condition assessment database in order to plan future conservation treatments for the most vulnerable parts of the library and archive.

Sarah Bashir
Preservation Assistant
Sarah is the newest member of the team. She assists Ian in maintaining the environmental conditions and is creating housing for part of the collections. She also monitors the environment and carries out conservation at Church of England Record Centre.

L-R: Ian, Talitha, Janet, Fiona, Sarah

We look forward to sharing more of what we do with you in the following months!

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