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United we stand! the conservation of trade union banners

United we stand! the conservation of trade union banners
United we stand! the conservation of trade union banners
Surviving examples of trade union banners from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries are vivid symbols of the British labour history movement. The large, brightly coloured, painted silk banners were used to proclaim and reinforce the identity of groups of workers in their struggle for improved working conditions and to advertise the benefits of trade union membership. Trade union banners are difficult to handle safely as they are large (often 3m square) and heavy, but also fragile. They have often suffered substantial damage, particularly at the junction between painted and unpainted silk. They are usually double-sided with different images on both sides of a single layer of fabric; conservation treatments have aimed to support weak areas without obscuring the images. Innovative conservation treatements, involving the use of adhesive-impregnated semi-transparent support fabrics, were carried out on these textiles in the mid 1980s and treatments have continued to evolve. A large number of banners has been conserved in two centres, the National Museum of Labour History (now the People's History Museum) in Manchester, which holds a collection of over 370 trade union and political banners, and the Textile Conservation Centre, which has treated banners belonging to other museum collections and to trade unions. While the basic methods of treatement have been similar, some interesting differences have arisen between the two centres, for example in the degree of cleaning carried out, the types of adhesive used and the techinques employed. Case-histories are used to illustrate some of the treatements carried out.
trade union, banners, conservation, British labour history
111-118
Lennard, F.
e524b3ae-effe-4f9a-8eef-3b053b0706d7
Lochhead, V.
0377a991-4f6a-49cc-bfff-4a5cfe516170
Lennard, F.
e524b3ae-effe-4f9a-8eef-3b053b0706d7
Lochhead, V.
0377a991-4f6a-49cc-bfff-4a5cfe516170

Lennard, F. and Lochhead, V. (2003) United we stand! the conservation of trade union banners. North American Textile Conservation Conference 2003, Albany, USA. 06 - 08 Nov 2003. pp. 111-118 .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Surviving examples of trade union banners from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries are vivid symbols of the British labour history movement. The large, brightly coloured, painted silk banners were used to proclaim and reinforce the identity of groups of workers in their struggle for improved working conditions and to advertise the benefits of trade union membership. Trade union banners are difficult to handle safely as they are large (often 3m square) and heavy, but also fragile. They have often suffered substantial damage, particularly at the junction between painted and unpainted silk. They are usually double-sided with different images on both sides of a single layer of fabric; conservation treatments have aimed to support weak areas without obscuring the images. Innovative conservation treatements, involving the use of adhesive-impregnated semi-transparent support fabrics, were carried out on these textiles in the mid 1980s and treatments have continued to evolve. A large number of banners has been conserved in two centres, the National Museum of Labour History (now the People's History Museum) in Manchester, which holds a collection of over 370 trade union and political banners, and the Textile Conservation Centre, which has treated banners belonging to other museum collections and to trade unions. While the basic methods of treatement have been similar, some interesting differences have arisen between the two centres, for example in the degree of cleaning carried out, the types of adhesive used and the techinques employed. Case-histories are used to illustrate some of the treatements carried out.

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More information

Published date: November 2003
Venue - Dates: North American Textile Conservation Conference 2003, Albany, USA, 2003-11-06 - 2003-11-08
Keywords: trade union, banners, conservation, British labour history

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 16406
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/16406
PURE UUID: fbaa95d6-3e22-4e3b-b993-c4cf47a0361c

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Aug 2005
Last modified: 21 Jul 2020 16:54

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