Pilgrim Trust Conservation Grant – Emsworth Museum

Remedial conservation – Conservation of an Edwardian wedding dress
AIM grant: £5,000

Emsworth Museum has in its collection a silk and lace wedding dress that was bought for the marriage of Margaret Tatchell on 21 April 1908 to John Lewis, the proprietor of a local rope and sail making business. Economically, Emsworth was in its heyday in this period with thriving boat building; shipping and seafood industries supporting a vibrant community.

Emsworth Museum is a small museum run entirely by volunteers, with a focus on objects with a demonstrable Emsworth provenance bringing out memorable stories from Emsworth’s history.

When the wedding dress was initially put on display around 1995, it was shown on a period wickerwork mannequin that had stressed some areas of the dress, causing increasing damage over time. Sarah Howard, a local textile conservation specialist, recommended a plan of action and based on this plan, the Trust were awarded a grant from the AIM Pilgrim Trust Conservation Scheme.

The restored wedding dress will be displayed in a new cabinet, creating the opportunity to curate displays focussed on the commercial life of Emsworth, which places the wedding dress in its societal context.

Dr Margaret Rogers, Emsworth Museum

Emsworth Museum will re-open on Saturday 3 April 2021

Pictured: Margaret Tatchell and John Lewis on their wedding day in 1908, and Wedding dress post conservation in the conservator’s studio