A set of racing silks comprising jacket and helmet-style hat; worn by Percy Lambert, 1913: conservation, display and storage


This rare set of racing silks are associated with land speed record breaker, racing driver, Percy Lambert. The jacket is of yellow and maroon silk satin with matching covered buttons along the front fastening and cuffs; the jacket is unlined. The helmet-style hat is of yellow silk and fully lined.

Client brief/Role of object

Conserve and mount both items for long-term storage and occasional display.

Condition before treatment

Jacket - fair to poor condition overall; proper left front panel of yellow silk extremely degraded; deteriorated warp threads which exposed tangled wefts threads of silk floss; oil stains; very creased.

Hat - good to fair condition overall; small splits in silk located at either side of the front seam; creased.


Jacket and hat - Surface cleaned to remove loose soils; oil stains were not removed as they were of historic significance. Humidification reduced creases, and assisted in re-aligning loose wefts threads.

Jacket - Degraded front panels were individually supported on the reverse face with custom-dyed silk crepeline, pre-cast with an adhesive film. Each front face panel was covered in protective overlay of custom dyed net, and supported with stitches. The jacket was supported and shaped with padded forms and displayed on a custom-made 3-D support, designed to hold the mount board at an appropriate angle for display.

Hat – The splits were supported onto patches of silk crepeline, pre- cast with an adhesive film and stabilized further with stitching techniques; loose threads were further supported with a consolidant. The hat was mounted on a customised padded form attached to an acrylic display stand.

The project included creation of paper templates from both items, thus providing information required to make a replica set of racing silks for interpretation and display purposes.

Condition after treatment

The jacket and hat are stable for short term display and long term storage. The padded mounts and customised storage boxes eliminate the need to touch the costume items when in storage, on display or during study sessions.

PowerPoint presentations illustrating the conservation treatment have been prepared, providing the option to play alongside Museum displays.

Further information



Reproduced courtesy of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire. Kate Gill Textile and Upholstery Conservation Services © 2013.

Conservation, display mounts, storage boxes and PowerPoint presentation completed by Kate Gill in 2013.