Museum Award 2019


The Brunel Museum




£4,950 was awarded to The Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe to conserve a rare silk handkerchief c.1843 featuring Brunel’s Thames Tunnel. The rectangular printed silk kerchief exhibits a central panel with a view of visitors walking along the tunnel and panoramas at the borders, including line drawings of the tunnel in longitudinal cross-section. The design is printed in dark brown, red and cream on a plain weave silk.

The kerchief was in poor condition due in large part to the mordants used in the textile printing process, the acidic nature of the mount board, and over exposure to light. It was also damaged, soiled and stained, and badly distorted. The silk was weak and covered in layers of degraded fibres. There were numerous splits and holes and sections of the borders were missing. Following treatment carried out in November 2019 by textile conservator, Kate Gill, this fragile and damaged kerchief was made sufficiently stable for storage, study and occasional display. Significantly, it will form the focus of learning activities with Southwark’s Young Parents Education Centre.

Phillipa Turnbull donated £1,000 in support of the Textile Society Museum, Archive and Conservation Award. The Society decided that the donation should contribute to The Brunel Museum for the conservation of the silk kerchief. The Society is grateful to Phillipa Turnbull for her generous support.

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery




£600 was awarded to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery for their project to conserve a 19th century lace design that will inspire a contemporary lace piece made by local teachers and students. The original work is a white gouache design on paper by a student at the Exeter School of Art drawn in about 1870-80. The gouache was flaking and the original frame was in poor repair.

The exhibition By Royal Appointment: lace-making in East Devon is part of RAMM’s year of ‘untold stories’ where programming focuses on narratives less often heard. The exhibition project explores and celebrates Devon’s lace industry through the eyes of Devon lacemakers past and present including those who made lace for the royal family. Supported by the royal household, particularly Queen Victoria, Devon-made lace became internationally famous.

Hat Works Museum




£975 was awarded to the Hat Works Museum of Hatting for research to underpin a future exhibition on their collection of hats made by Donald Lovat Fraser.

The Hat Works Museum presents two floors of interactive exhibits on the history of Stockport’s hatting industry. The museum is home to a recreated hat factory with some twenty fully restored working Victorian style machines, and a collection of over four hundred hats from around the world. Hat Works holds a collection of twentieth century British hats including top hats, bowler hats, trilbies, homburgs, 1950 and 60’s ladies synthetic hats and a variety of hats dating from the 1930s to the 1970s. The collection includes important examples of haute couture millinery and design.