A LEADING conservation charity is to quit its Upton headquarters to become part of a new a national body.

The Institute of Paper Conservation (IPC) was established in 1976 and has been based at Bridge House, Waterside, for the past three years.

It is the leading organisation for paper conservation and has more than a 1,000 membersworldwide, ranging from librarians and archivists to curators and artists.

In April, the IPC will move to London to merge with four other organisations to form The Institute of Conservation.

This will be a single body with responsibility for protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of the UK.

At one time, the IPC employed six local people. It is now run solely by Tina Marshall, who left Upton last year for France, from where she has been running the charity.

She said the merger was a step forward. "It's a good move. Museums don't have much money and, as a priority, conservation was getting pushed back further and further, so it needed someone to stand up and shout for it," she said.

Ms Marshall will return to Britain in February to help clear out the paperwork and documents stored at BridgeHouse.