Editorial

Graham Martin
Head of Science Group, Conservation Department

What has happened to the regular editor of this page? One consequence of Jonathan Ashley-Smith's undertaking a year's research leave between October 1994 and September 1995 is that the V&A Conservation Journal will have four guest editorials written by each of four of the heads of group, as they take it in turn to act as senior head of group in his absence.

The department has seen the departure of three senior conservators over the last three months and we send our best wishes for retirement with our departing colleagues. Together, these three individuals - Ken Turner in Metals Conservation, John Kitchin of furniture conservation and John Wagstaff of paper conservation - had amassed well over 100 years of experience.

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John Kitchin (click image for larger version)

Phase I of the centre of research and conservation building work is high in the thoughts of many members of the department. There now remains the internal fitting-out before the first rooms are occupied in mid 1995. This new accommodation will herald the process of bringing together the scattered offices and studios. There are obvious benefits in sharing equipment and, more importantly, day-to-day expertise and knowledge.

So far I have identified two major areas of change, and I wish to highlight a third. There is encouragement from several areas that conservation should move to a mixed economy. A near-static grant from central government dictates the need to seek alternative income sources and therefore we must learn new business skills if we are to study and investigate conservation matters to the breadth and depth that they warrant. Times of change bring new opportunities and a chance to establish new areas of study. 1995 will be a very exciting time for the Department.
 
John Kitchin was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List for his service to conservation.