Tuesday 23 August 16

SHELVED shelve1
past tense: shelved; past participle: shelved

Items in storage

  1. place or arrange (items, especially books) on a shelf.
    "we had catalogued and shelved all the books shipped in that day"
  2. decide not to proceed with (a project or plan), either temporarily or permanently.
    "plans to reopen the school have been shelved"
  3. fit with shelves.
    "one whole long wall was shelved"

Origin: late 16th century (in the sense ‘project like a shelf’ (Shakespearean usage)): from shelves, plural of shelf1.

Our first day was spent settling into the buildings and seeing the archive collection.  In a series of rooms all you can see is shelf after shelf of objects, possessions, artefacts and oddities; all either boxed, wrapped, tagged or labelled.

As we went from room to room we began to wonder what in the collection is permanently shelved, what is the hierarchy for this decision making? What is forgotten and where are the treasures within the collection to be found?

Our curiosity was instantly drawn to the boxes labelled ‘miscellaneous’ and ‘unclaimed enquiries’.  With cotton gloves we tentatively opened one of the ‘unclaimed enquiries’ boxes.  Many of the objects were wrapped in worn crumpled pieces of paper with only a person’s name written on it; each object we felt had a story that we unwrapped and could then only speculate about.

It is a privilege to have time with objects from the collection of Tunbridge Wells.
The journey continues…..


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