Cataloguing, Conservation and Collecting

Future Banner - Cicely & Forth Bridge

Cicely under trysail heading up the Firth of Forth with its iconic rail bridge.

The Fife Archive was first catalogued by William Collier and David Ryder-Turner in 1997. This paper based catalogue will now be upgraded to ISAD (G) standard and be incorporated in a searchable database.

This new cataloguing effort will allow us to assess the integrity of the collection, include items that were omitted from the initial catalogue and identify conservation requirements.

Since our acquisition of the Fife Archive, all the drawings have been rehoused in size-appropriate museum grade plans chests. A small number of drawings which had been rolled previously are so fragile that we cannot flatten them and the conservation of these will be a priority.

Drawings Awaiting Conservation

A small number of drawings in the collection require conservation work before we can unroll them.

Photo Awaiting Conservation

Despite the degraded state of this photograph the beauty of this highly successful design proudly fling her racing flags shines through.

It is expected that this cataloguing and conservation effort will take many months but that it will result in a fully conserved collection that is catalogued to the best of current international standards.

Noting that the collection has been partly digitised it is our intention to gradually create a complete digital copy as a safeguard against disaster and also to reduce handling of original material.

The Future VF8a

Waterwitch racing at Kiel where Zeppelins were uniquely used as spectator craft.

In parallel with these efforts, we are also seeking to trace missing items. We know that latterly Archie McMillan sold some individual drawings, we are hoping to locate as many of these as possible and return them to the collection. Where it is not possible to acquire these or other important papers from the Fife Yard we hope to be able to obtain copies that will contribute to reconstituting the collection even if not all items are in original form.

WFII Drawing Label

A recently conserved drawing has given us a unique insight to the design of the commercial vessels that were an important part of the Fife yard’s production in the nineteenth century.

Fife Stamp

An original William Fife & Son company stamp in the collection.

We have an ambitious collecting policy with regard to associated items that help us understand the business of the Fife Yard, the lives of those associated with it and the careers of the vessels they built. We will seek material and react positively to opportunities to expand the collection as these occur.