Quick (ha ha, say some) report on what I did on Friday 18th, to give an idea of how things are going at the Repository in Claremont Tower.
- Parked at 1025; went to Black Horse House to borrow the key for the Mezzanine steel door; went to Estates Security, to sign out a radio for emergency use (working alone in the building without a radio is now, rightly, not permitted); signed in at McAlpine’s gatehouse and entered the Tower at 1045.
- The main job at present in CT is demolition: they are ripping out all the breezeblock walls in the Basement. This is incredibly tough, dirty work, and creates what seems like a faint mist: it is plaster dust, hanging in the air: all the men wear facemasks. It’s no hazard to those of us going downstairs (it takes about 4 seconds to go from the entrance to the stairs) but the dust does make its way downstairs, and – almost invisibly – covers the floors, and everything else. A plan has been devised to prevent “the mist” going Below Stairs, and hopefully next week it will have been put in place.
- Some of my time in the Tower today was taken up with talking with Estates and SRM, who visited to check this problem, and with actually starting to clean the floors on the Mezzanine (I have my own brush (:-)), and I found a vacuum cleaner, but there is no water (in the building)).
- For the rest of my time, I moved on to the Catalogue Verification exercise, which at last is going well again. I’m now tackling the filing cabinet in Roger’s Office, which contains all his catalogued documents. These range from a single test punch card, through to a set of programming manuals for the English Electric KDF9 computer (1964 – 1972); there are also many unique artefacts, such as (ex-confidential) internal letters proposing the acquistions of the various mainframes that Newcastle had, machine room plans, network plans, and manufacturers’ manuals about installing those juggernauts. I’m a little over 1/2 way through the filing cabinet.
- Then it was time to leave: reverse the process in (1) above.
A routine has now been established, in this new year, and we are picking up speed again.