HI-tech security is being used to keep an ancient artefact safe while is it on display in South Tyneside.
When South Shields Museum made a bid to get the 900-year-old Boldon Book on loan from the Arts Council England, it was told it needed to beef up security.
Bosses at the museum, in Ocean Road, South Shields, called in Sunderland-based specialists Hadrian Technology, to install a state-of-the-art CCTV system to watch over the treasured tome 24 hours a day.
The Arts Council then gave the go-ahead for the book to be transferred from the British Museum to South Tyneside.
Technology was used to upgrade the museum’s standard security system, by installing new high-definition cameras in the shop and gallery that houses the Boldon Book.
The book is a survey commissioned by the Bishop of Durham nine centuries ago, which identifies what rents were due to him from the land under his control.
A number of South Tyneside locations are mentioned in the document, including Boldon, Newton, Whitburn and Westoe, providing an eye-opening insight into local life in the 12th century.
The museum’s Boldon Book exhibition got under way last month and runs until December 12.
Gary Trotter, general manager at Hadrian Technology, said: “South Shields Museum and Art Gallery required a top-of-the-range CCTV system that would protect the manuscript for the duration of the loan.
“As well as the impressive image quality, the cameras can also be linked up to smart phones, tablets and laptops, so that museum staff can access footage from wherever they are.” Trevor Wilson, customer facilities manager for South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, said: “The new CCTV system was a pre-requisite for the loan of the manuscript.
“However, having a state-of-the-art system will certainly benefit us in the longer-term.
“We often have high-value items on display and, as our exhibitions attract a high number of visitors, having access to high-quality footage will be helpful in case of any incidents.
“We were really pleased with the recommendations we received from Hadrian Technology following their liaison with Arts Council England, and with how quickly and efficiently they installed the new system.
“It will be a valuable asset to the museum and our staff going forward.”
For more information on the Boldon Book exhibition, visit www.twmuseums.org.uk/