Questions: (1) describe a disaster which lead to the loss of valuable data, cultural heritage, records materials/ resources.
(2) Talk about the lessons learned if any?
The ultimate aim of this paper is to talk about rat problem that was a serious disaster to the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) Heritage and Archive Centre Carfin, Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, where I am a manager.
Disaster is any form represent a major threat to cultural heritage and archives. In the case of the Spiritan heritage centre, it wasn’t flood, earthquake, fire, environmental fatigue but rats.
Nature of the Work
We received a letter, from the “Communication Manager Network Rail Scotland” (March 2018) announcing the electrification of Edinburgh Glasgow via Shott route. The project, is part of Scottish Government programme of electrification by Network Rail.
On Carfin Station where the cultural heritage is located, work includes:
• Extending the length of the platforms
• Replacing existing cables and ducting the platforms
• Platform resurfacing
• Fencing renewals
• Relocation of station furniture
• Extension of CCTV coverage and Lighting upgrades (Excerpt from Owen Campbell letter of 7th May 2018 to Railway Neighbour).
Nature of the Disaster
Due to the nature of the work as described above, there was an outbreak of rats all around the surrounding neighbours of the station. Spirtan house and the cultural heritage centre was also seriously affected. The rats attacked our valuable goods beyond recovery. All efforts to bring to an end the problem do not avail. The issue of rat was so serious that “Richard Lyle Member of the Scottish Parliament for Uddingston and Bellshill took the case to the parliament and also wrote to the Railway neighbour suggesting ways to handle the disaster” ( Letter of Richard Lyle MSP 31st August 2018).
Possible solutions to the Disaster
On the individual level, I telephone the Environmental Pollution Office to come and evaluate the situation themselves. Some rats poison was kept around the house with the saying that “once they eat it, it will destroy them”. We were also advised not to litter food waste around the house. This yielded a positive result.
Richard Lyle MSP in his letter 31st August 2018, also wrote to the Assistant Chief Executive for Education, Youth and Communities at North Lanarkshire council, Head of Establishments, Head of Teachers at all Primary and Secondary schools in Ward 18 Motherwell North about the Rat problem and encourage discussions with pupils and parents regarding the Rat Issue and indeed Littering and Food Waste Disposal.