Archiving of Drum Castle has begun

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Archivists and conservators at the National Trust for Scotland have started delicate and painstaking work to ensure that historic documents at Drum castle survive for future generations.

The C astle is home to a precious archive that has been stored in the castle since 1323, filled with the records, treaties and letters that chronicle the history of the building and the Irvine family who lived at Drum until 1975, when it came into the care of the conservation charity.

Ian Riches, Trust archivist, explains the significance of the collection:

“The Drum archive is a collection of important papers that are significant because they are relatively complete and encompass the 650 years of the Irvine residence at Drum.

“There are documents from the 14th, 15th and 16th century including the charter awarding Drum to William d’Irwyn from Robert the Bruce in 1323. They tell us about the family, the estate which once stretched as far as Dundee, significant figures like James Irvine the art collector and the artist Hugh Irvine, and the relationship between Drum and other Aberdeenshire families and estates, so they are of national and regional importance.

“The archive of Drum has been surveyed by the National Register of Archives for Scotland and this is available on-line.

“Auditing the archive has been a personal goal of mine and it is a great privilege to have the opportunity to be handling these documents.”

Anna Zwagerman, Conservator said: “The archive is being re-boxed to ensure its preservation for future generations.

“Items are being wrapped in acid free tissue and kept in their original bundles and tied with a special type of tape.

“The tissue and boxes prevent acids which are found in modern paper and cardboard from migrating into the delicate collection which includes documents made from vellum (calf skin) or paper made from linen or wood. “

The project will continue to the end of November.

Drum Castle, Gardens and Estate will remain open to visitors on weekends throughout the year as part of the collaboration between the Trust and Aberdeen Art Gallery.