October 2011

Rumsey Wells Hatters from Norwich will have their own section in the Bridewell Museum redisplay; Shopping and Trading section. The company made school caps, military caps and berets and what we now know as ‘golfing caps’. Debbie Phipps, Textile Conservator, has been working on a selection of 10 from the collection, which will also be displayed on their original hat stands. The hat stands need to be adapted for long term safe display of the hats and have been fitted with custom made Plastazote (inert foam) mounts. A ring of Plastazote has been carved to the same size and shape as each hat. This support is then individualised further with polyester wadding padding and cotton jersey covers.

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Also being worked on, is a late 18th century wool damask Chasuble, the fabric for which was woven in Norwich. Considering its age, the Chasuble is in very good condition, albeit a little discoloured around the neck from when it was in use, and with a few holes from previous insect damage. Image 10 As these holes do not compromise the safe display of the object, nor distract from the aesthetic appearance, they have not been repaired. The lining of the garment was severely creased from its previous storage and these creases were causing the hems to buckle. The creases have been lessened with a repeated process of localised humidification and use of glass weights. The Chasuble has been mounted onto an adapted torso mannequin that has been padded to a shape resembling a body.

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