Historic First World War Football Conserved An historic football from the ﬁrst World War has just been conserved at the Centre. The football belongs to the London Irish Riﬂes and will now be displayed at the Regimental Museum in Camberwell, London.
The football was used at the start of the Battle of Loos, 1915 with the soldiers kicking the ball across No-Man’s Land as they advanced on the Germans, under heavy machine gun fire.
The leather was in very poor condition, with several splits and tears, and had acid deterioration (commonly known a red rot). The leather was consolidated and the acid deterioration treated. Then the splits and tears were patched using new archival quality leather, dyed to match the original. The ball was padded with cotton ﬁbre as the original rubber bladder had perished.
Every object conserved at the Centre receives the best possible treatment but it is always special to work on an item where we know the history and this football certainly has an important and very touching story.