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Whilst undertaking volunteer and collections management duties at The Carillon-Loughborough War Memorial Museum, WHConservation's Terri became aware of a fragile textile in need of immediate conservation. The Carillon stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives in The Great War and now also serves as a museum located in the centre of Queen's Park in Loughborough. The textile in question was a Leicestershire Yeomanry 'drum banner' - a small square of silk with a part painted (perhaps part printed) design. 


The piece featured three ribbons to the outer edges (one believed to be missing), the overall look of the piece suggested that it had been cut down in size. The drum banner was dated to around 1900 and was bequeathed to the Leicestershire Yeomanry collection in the will of Captain Harry Day. Prince Albert's Own Leicestershire Yeomanry was given its title in 1844.


 The drum banner before, during and after conservation. 

As it was found the textile had been mounted (using a non-conservation grade glue) onto a piece of thick card, it had then been placed in a wooden frame. Framing textiles, if done correctly, can act as a good protective barrier against fluctuations in temperature and humidity as well as deposits of dust and dirt to name but a few. In this case more harm than good was being done due to the method of framing, the drum banner was being crushed between the glass of the frame and the card mount. Due to this pressure the silk fabric and the satin bows had been crushed and creased leading to permanent deformation. The card to which the piece had been adhered was also very acidic and yellowing which was causing staining to the blue silk fabric.


Loughborough Carillon Leicestershire Yeomanry Drum Banner corner ribbon detail showing permanent deformation crushing


The aim of conservation work was to replace current non-archival materials and rectify poor mounting methods. The fabric of the drum banner was actually very stable which led to the decision that the piece could be stitched to its new mount instead of using adhesives to keep the drum banner in place (as was originally done). A piece of corex padded with polyester wadding, covered with matching poly/cotton fabric acted as the new 'archival quality' mount board. The drum banner was then carefully stitched to this padded board using ultra fine sewing needles and Skala thread. Finally the textile was placed in an archival quality box frame, meaning that it now did not touch the glass. The frame was finished by sealing the back board with archival quality framers tape.

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Elaine Owers

Freelance Textile Conservator


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