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Battle to save historic book collection from death watch beetle

  • Click below to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Kate Prout

The National Trust has launched an appeal to save one of its collections in Norfolk from damp and death watch beetles.

The library at Blickling Hall near Aylsham is being invaded by insects and mould and action needs to be taken before the whole place is eaten.

Blickling houses one of our most important collections of historical books and manuscripts Credit: ITV News Anglia

The hall is home to one of the most significant country house libraries in England, with more than 12,500 volumes making up the largest and oldest book collection in the conservation charity's care.

Many of the books are being ravaged by bugs. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Historic buildings like Blickling bring multiple challenges with them over time and need continual care for the precious collections they hold, and the work we need to do in the library is about the long-term future of the books here.

It's not unusual for issues such as leaks or pest damage to appear in places like this, but without this essential work to stop them in their tracks, the potential damage to the collection would be irreversible.

This is like a bug hotel, the death watch beetle is getting in and also getting into the collection and that's really, really bad"

– Paul Coleman Building Surveyor, National Trust
Credit: ITV News Anglia

The £325,000 building project will begin in January 2019 to make the roofs and walls waterproof and controlling the climate so the bugs don't thrive.