Technology from a firm of Sunderland-based security specialists is helping to secure a manuscript dating back to 1183.
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery is using CCTV systems from Hadrian Technology in order to secure the sought-after Boldon Book manuscript for its latest exhibition.
‘The Boldon Book’ exhibition runs until 2 November 2014 and demands round-the-clock security.
Arts Council England, which arranged the loan of the ancient manuscript from The British Library to South Shields Museum and Art Gallery for the exhibition, stipulated that security had to be enhanced in order to display the artefact, which is the earliest surviving copy of the twelfth century Boldon Book.
The Boldon Book is a survey commissioned by the Bishop of Durham nine centuries ago, which identifies what rents were due to him from the land under his control.
A number of South Tyneside locations are mentioned in the document, including Boldon, Newton, Whitburn and Westoe, providing a fascinating insight into local life in the twelfth century.
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery asked Hadrian Technology to liaise with Arts Council England’s security consultants in order to design an appropriate system. The company then upgraded the museum’s standard multiplex security system by installing new high-definition cameras in the shop and gallery that houses the Boldon Book.
Hadrian Technology used HD-SDI cameras from Videcon’s Concept Pro range, which provide an image quality that is clearer than Sky HD. In addition, using existing analogue cables for the installation meant that there was no need for disruption with building work to lay down new networks, or the added cost of laying down new lines.
Gary Trotter, general manager at Hadrian Technology, said: “South Shields Museum and Art Gallery required a top-of-the-range CCTV system that would protect the manuscript for the duration of the loan.
“As well as the impressive image quality, the cameras can also be linked up to smart phones, tablets and laptops so that museum staff can access footage from wherever they are.”
Trevor Wilson, customer facilities manager for South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, said: “The new CCTV system was a pre-requisite for the loan of the manuscript, but having a state-of-the-art system will certainly benefit us in the longer-term. We often have high value items on display and, as our exhibitions attract a high number of visitors, having access to high-quality footage will be helpful in case of any incidents.”