Manchester has a lot of rare and valuable material in the library collections that needed special handing and temperature controlled secure storage. There were manuscripts, playbills, books, periodicals, tracts, maps, photographs, microfilm and the internationally renowned Henry Watson Music Library which includes original Handel manuscripts.
Everything needed to be packed in sequence, each box and each pallet labeled so that when the refurbishment is complete everything can be relocated to its right place. Much of the material put into store was electronically barcoded so that individual items could be retrieved from store if requested.
We appointed a dedicated move manager who worked closely with the library project team to ensure a smooth move of 4,000 linear metres of archives and 36,000 linear metres of book shelves (about 25 miles of shelving in total) out of the Central Library. The project was completed on time, on budget with all items tracked and traceable.
The challenge for Harrow Green lay in much more than the sheer volume. Manchester has a lot of rare and valuable material in the library collections that needed special handling and temperature-controlled secure storage.
“We are making use of the Deepstore salt mines in Cheshire for the most important material,” says John Lord, manager of the Manchester office, who led the Harrow Green team throughout the project. “It’s secure, with even temperature and humidity. Other material was delivered to the temporary lending library in Elliot House in Deansgate to the County Record Office and into warehouse storage. Some individual items need special handling but, because we have specific methodologies for museums and libraries, and a lot of experience of similar projects, out team knows how to wrap and pack each book or collection safely and securely while ensuring we know exactly where every single item is located.
Up to 30 people were working on the move at any one time. Harrow Green moved 84 loads to Deep Store – a load is 12 pallets with 25 boxes per pallet – 113 loads to Maple warehouse and 5,000 linear metres of material into the temporary library and locations at Universal Square and the Central Record Office.
“The secret of a successful move is careful planning and remaining flexible enough to be able to say yes to everything that crops up.”
John Lord, Project Manager, Harrow Green