Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Damaged Diary: BL Issues "Clarification"

The British Library has issued a revised statement in the case of the Tyldesley Diary (see previous posts here, here and here). This new press release notes:

"On 11 May 2007 the British Library issued a statement on this matter, prepared in good faith and based on information received at that time. The internal inquiry is still progressing and so not all the relevant facts are yet known. However, we are now in a position to correct and clarify aspects of our initial statement. It is clear that the diary had not been deposited for rebinding, but for safekeeping and so that an archive box and a complete photographic copy of the manuscript could be made. The removal of the binding and its replacement by a modern copy was authorised neither by Mr Tyldesley nor the Library. It is now known that the diary was in good condition in 2002 and that the damage occurred sometime thereafter. The staining appears to have occurred when the diary was not in its archive box. In addition to the staining the diary has at some stage unfortunately been damaged by damp, mould and mildew. The exact degree and nature of the damage - and the extent to which it can be remedied - will be assessed as a first stage in the conservation process. Investigations are continuing to determine how precisely how the damage occurred.

The Library had a very positive meeting with Mr Tyldesley on Wednesday 16 May 2007 at which we acknowledged the seriousness of the situation. We assured Mr Tyldesley that an internal inquiry was under way and that the Library would, so far as is possible, make good the damage to his manuscript. In addition, we agreed to meet his expenses associated with this matter. We are pleased that Mr Tyldesley has accepted our offer to conserve the diary and to restore the original binding. We believe that Mr Tyldesley is now reassured that the Library is now doing everything it can to put things right, and that he is now looking forward to a satisfactory resolution of the issue. The Library is grateful to Mr Tyldesley for his forbearance in this matter and apologises for the distress that he has been caused

Mr. Tyldesley notes "Hopefully this matter is on its way to being resolved now. Obviously the diary can never be returned to its original condition, but the BL has promised to do all it can to conserve the manuscript and restore the original binding."