11 September 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The Royal College of Music has awarded a three-year contract to underground storage company DeepStore to house its library's collection of music archives.
The Special Collection includes composer and performer archives, and about 750,000 programmes from the 19th through the 21st centuries that are frequently called on by the library's users.
The Royal College of Music began working with DeepStore in 2016 and following the completion of the initial intake of material, embarked on a tender process for a low-risk storage and retrieval system for its Special Collection - the key requirements being a high-level of security, and a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
Peter Linnitt, chief librarian at the Royal College of Music, said the contract "allows us to bring archives and programmes back to our London base for researchers from around the world. The facilities keep our archive collections in unique conditions, which are wonderful for the preservation of the material while requiring minimal external input".
The highly secure storage facilities, 150 metres below the surface in Britain's largest salt mine, are not only naturally free from UV light, flooding and vermin, but also offer consistent temperature and humidity levels and comply with PD 5454 requirements.
DeepStore offers same-day and next-day delivery services as well as scan-on-demand so the college's documents and archives can be easily retrieved.
The storage facility (an area 700 times the size of Wembley football pitch) was created from the space left following the extraction of millions of tonnes of rock salt.
The mine, owned and operated by DeepStore's parent company, Compass Minerals, has the capacity to extract 1.5 million tonnes annually.
The Royal College of Music in South Kensington, London, trains gifted musicians from all over the world for international careers as performers, conductors and composers. It is one of more than 1,000 private and public sector DeepStore clients, including The National Archives, Costain, MOLA, the Royal Society, SOAS and the Wellcome Trust.