With over 2.8 million objects, books, and archives that showcase human creativity throughout the course of 5,000 years, the Victoria and Albert (V&A) stands as the world’s leading museum of art and design. It is renowned for safekeeping many of the UK’s national collections and providing invaluable resources for the study of architecture, book arts, ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, jewellery, textiles, painting, photography, sculpture, Asian art and design, theatre and performance.
In 2023, the V&A museum needed to relocate their library, including approximately 213 linear metres of book stock from Blythe House to V&A South Kensington. Cube Fine Art Services was chosen to provide relocation services and moving crate hire for the project. The library relocation was divided into two phases, scheduled for April and May of that year.
Before the commencement date, an interior building condition audit was carried out using a digital camera. To safeguard vulnerable areas, especially the delivery route at South Kensington, the Cube Fine Art team identified and began the installation of protective materials such as hardboard, Correx, paper covers and exterior door frames.
Through the guidance of a banksman, Cube specialists made their way into the museum through the Secretariat gate arch. 250 metres of plastic crates and labels were brought to the G97 and G96 Rooms as instructed. The Cube Fine Art specialists then packed 222.8 linear metres of book stock in sequence and made ready for transfer.
We transferred the packed crates from the holding area (G97 and G96 Rooms) to the new library at South Kensington. Afterwards, the team unpacked them in sequential order as per agreement. Upon completion, the team checked all areas to make sure that everything had been relocated to the new premise and our Supervisor received sign-off from the client representative. Meanwhile, the Cube Crate Hire team retrieved 250 metres of crates and removed any remaining equipment. All general building protection was uplifted and removed.
Books on shelves with widths lower than 60cm were placed in Cube’s Standard 60cm crates in a sequential manner. For books on shelves with widths higher than 60cm, Cube’s 1 metre Library crates were used, again in a sequential manner based on pre-agreed section sequences. The movers packed the stock from left to right with a label being placed on the left side of the crate to indicate start position. A second label was placed on the inside of each crate as a second reference point in case of displacement of the outside label.
The V&A is a popular tourist destination, attracting over 6 million visitors each year. It is a fascinating place to visit with something to offer everyone. Whether you are interested in art, design, history, or simply want to see some of the world’s most beautiful objects, the V&A is sure to please.