Skulduggery at the British Library

Update to:

From EXLIBRIS-L a summary by Peter Tyldesley:

Some of you may recall that in 2007 it was reported that a British Library employee had caused extensive damage to the Tyldesley Diary, a Jacobite manuscript which I own but which was deposited with the Library for safekeeping and photographic work.

In a press release copied to this list by Christopher Edwards the BL stated that this was an isolated incident and repeatedly referred to the 1990s. One of you kindly drew my attention to the discussion taking place here and I explained why much of that press release was inaccurate.

Since then I have obtained a heavily redacted copy of the BL’s own investigation report into the incident. The report reveals that in 2005 a cache of 35 items was found in a walk-in safe in a staff-only area at the BL’s former premises in Bloomsbury. The safe had been concealed behind two high cabinets. It appears that 30 of the items were from the BL’s own collection and 5 were privately owned, including the Tyldesley Diary.

Despite this discovery the employee concerned was able once more to gain possession of the Tyldesley Diary and it is now clear that the damage to my manuscript occurred between 2005 and 2007. At the time the employee was apprehended he had been working for an extended period in the House of Lords Record Office where he had access to many historic documents.

The employee resigned prior to a disciplinary hearing. His home was never searched. Indeed the police informed me that the BL had indicated that it was not seeking a prosecution. I asked the police nevertheless to pursue the matter. The former employee confessed to criminal damage, and received an adult caution – equivalent to a criminal conviction. He is reportedly now selling shellfish in Norfolk.

Although the Tyldesley Diary has been conserved by the BL, much of the damage proved to be irreversible. A payment has been made by the BL in respect of the loss of value, based on an independent valuation.

Throughout these events the police and the conservation team at the British Library have been supportive and professional. Based on those with whom I had direct dealings, I regret that my impressions of the management at the BL are distinctly less positive.

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
Klaus Graf (2009, 8. Juni). Skulduggery at the British Library. Archivalia. Abgerufen am 18. Mai 2024, von

Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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