Founded in the 16th century, the Royal College of Surgeons has been shaping the British healthcare sector for over four centuries and has evolved into a body that has defined the medical field by training, supporting and examining surgeons and auditing clinical effectiveness in the UK.
6,000 linear metres of books and folios from the Library at Lincoln’s Inn Fields were moved to the National
Archives at Kew, the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell and the British Library in Boston Spa, making way for the new building to be completed in three years' time.
The entire RCS collection was catalogued so that staff knew where each book was throughout the process, before being packed and transported without affecting the Library’s operations.
Before this hugely important and complex relocation could begin, every item was given a unique barcode and recorded on to a master inventory, so that it could be easily located at a moment’s notice, at any stage in the process.
The project presented several challenges. As often happens in projects of this size and nature, several other contractors were working alongside Harrow Green as part of the site’s changes. This made access to many of the areas difficult, and needed special attention to health and safety standards.
Trained and skilled library relocation teams removed over 5km of books off the shelves and packed them in crates lined with bespoke materials including foam blocks, foam wedges and anti-static bubble wrap to reduce movement whilst in transit. Protective blankets were used for added safety.
As part of this project Harrow Green handled, cleaned and wrapped thousands of rare and fragile books, keeping to very tight deadlines, despite the need for a soft touch and gentle pace. All the books were safely relocated to their new homes, allowing the RCS to proceed with its site plans without disruption.