The Banner of the Bottesford Friendly Society
A Conservation Problem
The surviving banner of the Bottesford Friendly Society (founded 1747) dates from Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year, 1887.
Many Friendly Society banners survive and this one is neither unusually early nor particularly elaborate in design, but it is nonetheless important to local people whose ancestors were members of the society.At present it is stored in its original container, a long, narrow wooden box, along with its poles, finials and some fragments of the webbing straps which were used to steady it.
The central painted area is in reasonable condition at present, but paint will begin to flake and futher discolouration will occur. The fabric of the surround has rotted into large holes. Obviously the banner needs the attention of expert conservators.
Such conservation is very costly, running into thousands of pounds. Even if it were possible to raise sufficient funds, once the conservation had been completed the banner would need to be stored in appropriate stable conditions which can only really be provided in a museum. Museums are sometimes reluctant to accept donations of this kind because they are costly to maintain
People are equally reluctant to send objects of considerable local significance to distant museums where they are no longer accessible to the people they matter to so that much of their meaning is lost.
There seems to be no obvious solution to this problem.
What do you think?
Is the banner worth spending a lot of money on?
Should it be preserved in a museum?
Should it remain in Bottesford?
Let us know your views.