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The conservation treatment of case notes from the Deaconess Hospital

The Deaconess Hospital (148 Pleasance, Edinburgh) opened in 1894, primarily to provide training for missionary Deaconesses.  It also provided a much needed medical service to the local community. The Hospital closed in 1985 and the building is now the headquarters of NHS Lothian.  

LHSA holds the general case notes for the Deaconess Hospital for the period 1894 to 1954. For 1894-1911 these take the form of 25 bound volumes. During a survey of all bound volumes in the LHSA collection, these were identified as a treatment priority due to their poor condition. Surface dirt, tearing to the textblock, leather deterioration of the cases and loss of spine and/or boards were common. In isolated cases, previous water damage was also evident. This level of degradation made accessing the information in the case notes difficult without causing further damage. 

The volumes have been sympathetically repaired, retaining all aspects of the original. Where boards or spines have been lost, these are replaced with similar materials.  This is time consuming but ultimately effective work and to date 10 of the 25 volumes have been treated so these important records can be used by future generations.  

Further information is available in the conservation pages of the LHSA website.


    Examples of a Deaconess Hospital volume before and after conservation
The image above shows an example of a volume before and after conservation.