Conservation of Historic Shoes for Northampton Museum


A request from Northampton Museum and Art Gallery was received to conserve several historic shoes from their extensive collection.

A pair of beautiful silk wedding shoes, allegedly worn by Queen Victoria, had been previously conserved in 2000. But unfortunately, the adhesive treatment was starting to fail and the protective layer of silk crepeline used for repair, was lifting away from the damaged areas. The shoes were carefully surface cleaned and the silk crepeline was reattached with an adhesive film that was heat set in place. This method was preferred over the more interventive option of removing the silk crepeline completely and relaying it.

In addition, two ‘concealed’ mourning shoes were received for treatment. After surface cleaning, these had individual bespoke internal supports made from PlastazoteR  (inert polyethylene foam) cut to shape to give maximum support. The supports were then covered with cream silk jersey. Although much damaged in appearance, it was important to retain the shoes’ historic integrity as “concealed” shoes.

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