Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service at The Hive has been awarded funding of £15,000 from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust towards the preservation of a number of fragile account books from the Croome estate in recognition of the exceptional historical importance of this archive.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities at Worcestershire County Council, said: "Museums and galleries across Worcestershire play a vital role in supporting tourism, the economy and local communities. The Croome Estate Collection is a very worthy project and the funding will make a notable and important addition to Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service.“ Adrian Gregson, Collections Manager, said: "This is great news as it means this important piece of the county's heritage can be conserved and then made available for people to use.

"It's not uncommon that documents come to us in poor condition, but here in The Hive they can be looked after in our state of the art strongrooms, approved as a place of deposit by The National Archives, and cared for by our conservator."

The Coventry Family archive was given to the country under the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme five years ago, and was passed to Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service for safekeeping and to provide access. The collection related to the family of the Earls of Coventry and the Croome Estate. It is a very important collection and is heavily used by researchers and family & local historians, as well as the National Trust as they use it to help restore the house and grounds. Croome will be familiar to many people as it is one most popular visitor attractions in the county.

The account books cover 1719-1915, which includes the period when the house and gardens were transformed by Capability Brown.

The household accounts relates to how the estate was run, local traders, costs and buying food and drink. The allotments rental details the tenants on the estate and is useful for family and local historians.

Although the archive has been catalogued and made available, these volumes were not accessible due to their fragile nature. Years of heavy use (they were working documents) and storage in damp conditions meant they had mould and were very fragile. They will be conserved by WAAS's professional conservator, and they will then be available to be used by visitors to the archive and archaeology service, as well as in exhibitions.

For more information about Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service go to: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/waas. Keep up-to-date with all the latest WAAS news on Twitter @explorethepast.