A few years ago the members of the Lodge held a meeting to discuss the condition of the Lodge Banner, all Masonic Lodges have their own banner in a similar way that all Collieries at one time had banners unique to them. Masonic Lodge banners are somewhat smaller but no less intricate and special, The Bewick Lodge was consecrated in 1944 and the banner has been on display at every meeting since then so understandably over time they become fragile.
At the meeting Bro Alan Johnson suggested that his daughter Jennifer may be able to repair the areas where it had become damaged over the years, this is the story in Jennifer’s own words and pictures of that restoration….
The banner was in a very delicate state. The silk and paint were both extremely dry, causing them to be almost paper like, and very fragile.
The first step was to add some moisture back in to the fabric, and to soften the paint. This was done very carefully with a steam iron, until the paint felt soft enough that the banner could be ironed flat under some non stick paper. The whole banner was then unpicked, including all the trim, so that each piece could be cleaned.
The back piece and trim were simply washed by hand in warm soapy water, and left to dry flat. The front painted panel was carefully cleaned using warm water and a cotton bud, so as not to disturb any of the paint.
Once cleaned the front panel needed to be stabilised to prevent any further tearing, and to help limit the stress on the stitching on the top section of the banner. This was done using a fusible 100% cotton fabric on the back side, which helped to glue down any fraying, tearing or loose pieces of fabric. Some additional reinforcement was added to the top section where the tabs are attached.
The whole banner was then reconstructed ready to be hung.
All of this work was completed during the Lodges summer recess, following their June meeting The Bewick Lodge then don’t meet again until September, we will all be eternally graceful to Jennifer for the fantastic work she did to make sure our banner is good for another 80 years!!