On paper, Lancs archivist Anna is award winner

Anna Starkey, 26, Leyland, working at Lancashire Archive.
Anna Starkey, 26, Leyland, working at Lancashire Archive.
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A keeper of some of Lancashire’s most treasured documents is off on a European adventure to learn how to preserve them.

Anna Starkey, 26, who works in the Lancashire Archives, has become a Winston Churchill Fellow after being awarded a travelling grant.

Anna Starkey, 26, Leyland, working at Lancashire Archive. with Mark Walmsley at Lancashire Archive.

Anna Starkey, 26, Leyland, working at Lancashire Archive. with Mark Walmsley at Lancashire Archive.

She will use the £6,000 to visit France, Italy and the Netherlands to research traditional papermaking techniques in June.

Anna, who beat 100,000 applicants to win her place, said: “It’s a real honour to have been selected.”

The archives contain papers from as far back as the 12th century, including an eye-witness account of when the gun powder plot was discovered, says Anna.

“That’s my favourite,” she said.

**  FILE  ** This is a June 24. 1952, file photo of Britain's WWII leader  Winston Churchill outside the door of 10 Downing Street, London. If the World War II files at Britain's National Archives can't be trusted, what documents can? That is the point being made by eight leading British historians who signed an open letter Tuesday seeking a public report on the discovery of 29 forged World War II documents placed surreptiously in the National Archives since 1999.  The phony documents allege, among other things, that British wartime leader Winston Churchill ordered the assassination of Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler, as assertion rejected by mainstream historians because there is no evidence, except the faked papers, to back it up. (AP Photo, File)

** FILE ** This is a June 24. 1952, file photo of Britain's WWII leader Winston Churchill outside the door of 10 Downing Street, London. If the World War II files at Britain's National Archives can't be trusted, what documents can? That is the point being made by eight leading British historians who signed an open letter Tuesday seeking a public report on the discovery of 29 forged World War II documents placed surreptiously in the National Archives since 1999. The phony documents allege, among other things, that British wartime leader Winston Churchill ordered the assassination of Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler, as assertion rejected by mainstream historians because there is no evidence, except the faked papers, to back it up. (AP Photo, File)

“But if they’re not kept in the right condition these documents can deteriorate so it’s up to us to maintain them and make sure the temperature is at the right level.”

Anna, from Penwortham, says the archives have more than nine miles of paper and it’s up to her and a small team to repair it.

Now she will head off to Europe to look at how others around the world make, repair and maintain documents.

Anna admits she’s very passionate about it.

“I really do love my job and I can’t wait to share my knowledge when I get back,” she said.

“Paper has changed the world, the designs for computers were written on it and as long as you’re able to read and the paper is kept in good condition you’ll always know what it says.”

Anna’s boss, Mark Walmsley, has been working at the archives for 33 years and after announcing his retirement this year, she hopes to be able to take over the reins.

She said: “I can’t thank him enough and he’ll be missed here. He was the one who said I should apply for the fellowship.

“It’s a really big deal for me to get the money and to be going. I’m so excited to be going on the trip.”

Matthew Hood, an assistant headteacher from Lancaster, also received a grant and will be going to the USA to learn from graduate schools of education.