About jillshonk

Access & Learning Leader, Gloucestershire Archives

Blogging a Building (3)

Earlier this week I happened to glance through the window of one of our decommissioned office spaces. And I saw the strangest sight: a blue polythene tunnel leading to the door of one of our outbuildings and, just outside it, a weird looking being, not unlike an astronaut.

“What’s going on?” I wondered. “Are we hosting Sci-Fi productions as a new income generation scheme?  Or maybe I’ve missed headline news about a zombie apocalypse in Gloucester?”

Thankfully, the aliens hadn’t landed and there was a simple explanation for the tunnel and the man in coveralls – asbestos removal. This work is taking place in both our main building and the Horsa huts opposite the old overflow parking area.  It is an essential part of our building programme and is being carried out by experts.  Once it’s been completed, it will allow our builders to push on with the removal of internal walls (to create new Heritage Hub spaces) and demolish the Horsa huts (to provide a new onsite access route).  All being well, we should see some of this action next week.  Meantime, “Live long and prosper”!

These photos show the controls needed to remove asbestos from a floor duct. The route is sealed to prevent the escape of fibres.  Workers take a shower in the mobile unit after they have taken off their overalls and masks, which they put into sealed plastic bags.

Blogging a Building (2)

‘Now for the second entry in my trusty virtual diary…

This week we’ve been giving a bit more thought to the ‘fit out’ of the new Heritage Hub.  We’ve been approaching this from a couple of angles: fine tuning the specifications for all the rooms and sussing out some of the freestanding furniture we’re going to need.

Unbelievably, our refurbishment and construction plans involve fifty rooms!  Admittedly, ten are WCs but it’s still a lot of data to consider – 166 documents worth, to be precise.  Heather, our head of service has been studying this to ‘double check’ everything’s going to be exactly right for our needs.  The dossier includes plans, elevations, sections, engineering drawings and room lists, and it covers everything from the locations of hundreds of plug sockets to types of doors (24 different styles, who’d have thought it?).  It seemed like we were fitting out a hotel!

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Heather Forbes poring over plans for the Heritage Hub

As for the stuff that’ll be going into the rooms, we’ve been thinking about the sort of furniture we’re going to need for people to access audio visual records or hold effective one to one conversations in busy parts of the Hub.  We wanted to get this right so we enlisted the help of two of the Archives’ volunteer buddies and asked them to sound out (excuse the pun!) the acoustic furniture at the University of Gloucestershire’s Business Hub and Bishops Cleeve Library.  This was a really useful things to do (good fun too) and we now know exactly what to buy.  Thank you, ladies!

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Heather Forbes, Maureen Anderson and Liz Jack in the acoustic meeting pod at the University of Gloucestershire

Heather with volunteer buddies, Maureen Anderson and Liz Jack at the University of Gloucestershire.

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Liz and Maureen testing the acoustic chairs in Bishops Cleeve Library

Liz (left) and Maureen (right) at Bishops Cleeve Library.  These chairs were a firm favourite!

We were also able to pick up some useful ideas on our travels, like the e-signing in arrangements at the UoG Business Hub.

Heather, Maureen and Liz signing in at the UoG Business Hub

We’re hoping to introduce something similar in the Hub and have submitted a funding application to see if we can make this a reality.

‘More next week….

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader

Blogging a Building (1)

JS ID photo 2016

When she was very little, my eldest daughter used to say she was “making a baking” when we cooked together.  Nowadays she’s a fabulous baker who makes artisan cakes for a living.  But her funny little turn of phrase got me thinking – I could keep you posted about our own creation, the new Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, by “blogging a building”!  So here’s the first entry in my virtual diary…

Over the past week or so, we’ve discovered what it’s like to be working next to a building site.  Some of us, like me, are quite literally next to it!  Here’s the view from my office door:

view-from-office-door

To be honest, we’re finding it all quite exciting.  Sure, there’s been a bit of noise and the odd power outage that’s inevitable when deconstructing old buildings but there have been visible changes every day.  Take last Friday, for example: that was the day when the parquet flooring was lifted – it was scooped out of the building by a giant digger!

More recently, the builders turned their hands to one of the sheds at the rear of the site, as part of the preparations for building the new strong rooms.  As you can see, Heather got stuck in with her sledge hammer, under Paul’s supervision (kidding!).

‘Next instalment to follow shortly…

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader