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Colour of 11th Battalion of Suffolk
Before treatment
Following cleaning and humidification
After treatment

Condition Before Treatment


  • The colour was in poor condition.

  • There was particulate soiling and ingrained dirt throughout; most heavily concentrated on the pole sleeve; white residue could be seen in this area.

  • There were pinched creases, most heavily concentrated in the lower fly quarter; these were likely to lead to tears over time, if not treated.

  •  Puckering was evident, owing to tight machine stitching securing the sections together.

  •  The silk was severely splitting throughout, in some instances the section had detached entirely, although the seam still remained intact. The pole sleeve edge of the colour was the most severely damaged.

  •  The pole sleeve was only attached at the central point; the silk outer shell was fragmented with some loss exposing the interlining of the sleeve.

  •  The embroidery was generally sound, although metal threads were tarnished.

  •  The fringe, cord and tassels were also generally stable, there was some fading, ingrained dirt and abrasion, which had caused some of the silk to unravel on the cord.


Treatment Carried Out


  • The colour was surface cleaned using a variable control musuem vacuum, this was undertaken through a gauze.

  • Following tests to ensure all dyes were stable, the colour was humidified using de-ionsed water, applied in a cool mist with an ultra-sonic humidifier. Contact humidification was required to remove severe fold lines.

  • A board was constructed out of 5mm Gatorfoam board (made from an extruded polystyrene core bonded between two layers of resin-impregnated wood-fibre veneer), this was covered in polyester interlining and Baumann fabric, 100% cotton. The board was given additional padding of polyester wadding to accommodate the excess in the fly half.

  • Fine nylon net was dyed using DEKA Silk paint, to colour-match the red, white and blue areas of the colour.

  • The colour was positioned on the board and the net placed over this. Stitching was carried out around areas of loss and along seams securing the colour and net in place. This was done using Gütermann ‘Sew All’ Col. 887 & 249 and ‘Skala’ Col. 854, 216 & 464. A separate net overlay was used to encase the pole sleeve.

  •  A strip of polyester wadding was covered in cotton and inserted into the pole seeve to prevent a hard fold line forming along the left edge.

  • The cord and tassel were postion to the left of the colour and stitched in place.

  • The mounted colour was framed with a deep obeche moulding, slips were made of Gatorfoam and covered in the same Bauman fabric. The frame was glazed using Tru Vue® Conservation Clear 98% UV filtered glass. 

  • The colour will be going on display in Ely Museum later in the year.

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