Conservation 100 Timeline

Conservation 100 Timeline

Conservation 100

Find out how Conservation and Collection Care (CCC) started at Historic Royal Palaces and how it has grown over the years in this fun and informative timeline.

Her majesty’s surveyor of pictures, Sir Charles Robinson, described the tapestries as relics and acknowledged that something should be done about 'arresting their further decay and disintegration'.

The tapestry collection was valued at £20,000.

George VI opened the textile restoration workshop at Hampton Court Palace under the management of Morris and Co. and textile historian H.C. Marrillier.

Work began on the Dido and Aenas tapestries in the Queen’s Presence Chamber.

Conservation work continued throughout the First World War.

1922 - 1927
During the renovation of the Great Hall at Hampton Court, the Abraham tapestries were stored and exhibited at the V&A.

Work on nine of the ten Abraham tapestries began.

Work continued throughout the Second World War. The stored tapestries were removed to a place of safety but those on the looms (and the restorers) remained in the palace.

The Ministry of Works took over the studios and all staff signed the Official Secrets Act.

The cost of the repairs to the tapestries between 1912 and 1952 was calculated at £29,405.

Restoration work began on Queen Charlotte’s state bed. This work was finally completed in 2006.

A tapestry restoration apprentice was taken on to support the two remaining elderly William Morris staff. This apprentice eventually became head of the studios and retired in 2004.

The new generation of textile restorers proposed the replacement of traditional re-weaving with conservation practises, setting the standards still in place today.

Written and photographic records of the conservation work began to be produced and kept.

The last of the William Morris restorers and the head of the furnishings department retired.

The Studio was officially renamed the Crown Supplier Textile Conservation Studios (TCS)

Graham Goode, a furniture maker, was appointed as the new Department of the Environment Manager. After initially threatening to shut the studios down, he was persuaded to establish ‘a centre of excellence’ in conservation as initially proposed in 1978.

A conservation scientist was employed to undertake research on protein decay in textiles, leading to improved preventive conservation and treatment techniques.

The fire in the King’s apartments at Hampton Court damaged many of the original furnishings and decoration.

The fire prompted the formation of Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), initially established as an Executive Agency of Government. At this time, the five palaces came together to be run as one organisation. 

The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Kensington Palace became part of HRP’s collection, the care of which was the responsibility of the studio. The team increased to 22 people.

Following the representation of the palace and with no temporary exhibition programme, the studio became self-funding by taking on external commissions.

Historic Royal Palaces set up a rolling programme of conservation care for its wall paintings.

The Textile Conservation Studio (TCS) and the Conservation Housekeeping departments amalgamated forming the ‘Conservation and Collection Care’ (CCC) section within the Conservation and Learning Department of Historic Royal Palaces.

EU-funded Monitoring of Damage to Historic Tapestries (MODHT) project proved that light was not the only factor in textile degradation. Chemical changes due to the environment or even from the original dyes also contribute. Find out more >

Conservation of George II’s travelling bed completed; the last known royal campaign bed in existence.
Completion of five years conservation of Mary of Modena’s Bed and its reinstatement at Kensington Palace.

Conservators work in the public eye for the first time on the tester of Queen Charlotte’s State Bed in the Queen’s Withdrawing Room.

Cyclical conservation and cleaning of the Arms and Armour in the King’s Guard Chamber at Hampton Court over five years.

Completion of the conservation of the last in Abraham series; The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession.

‘Henry VIII’s tapestries revealed’ ; a highly popular visitor light show is the result of a 5 year PhD study of the original colours of Henry VIII’s tapestries.

To mark the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, conservators removed five royal wedding dresses from storage, conserved and displayed them on individually designed mannequins for special press events. 

Three year project to study and conserve the Terracotta reliefs at Hampton Court Palace completed.

The newly-represented Kensington Palace is opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II and includes the display of Queen Victoria’s wedding dress.

CCC celebrates its centenary year with a series of Autumn lectures, blog posts and other special events.