A conservator unrolls a very tattered map
The chimney map before restoration.

Detail of the map during restoration
Detail of the map during restoration.

Once it would have been the cherished possession of a wealthy family but somehow a 17th-century map came to be stuck up an Aberdeen house chimney.

This rare wall map was in a dreadful state by the time it was rescued and gifted to the National Library. Substantial sections of the paper had disintegrated after being attacked by vermin and insects.

Work in trying to save the map has been one of the most complicated projects the Library's conservation staff have ever worked on.

Through applying a series of complex treatments they have managed to repair damage and completely clean the map to make it something that can be studied and enjoyed for years to come.

The story of this amazing restoration is told in two videos available on YouTube ('The chimney map' and 'Unravelling the chimney map') and in the Library's 'Discover' magazine, issue 33.

See our chimney map media release

28 November 2016