27th August 2004

 

MAPPING OUT THE PAST

 

A paratrooper’s silk escape map from World War Two has been conserved by a student at the University of Lincoln’s School of Art and Design.

 

The colour-printed map measuring approximately 50 square centimetres shows south-west Europe and depicts the German occupied zone of 1942, the Vichy area and coastal areas that would have been more heavily patrolled.

 

Joy Bleach, Deputy Head of Quality at the university, asked staff in the school’s Conservation and Restoration department if they could improve the condition of the map which had belonged to her late father.

 

“During the war my father was in the 1st Special Air Service and when he died my mother gave me his medals, cap badge and the escape map,” said Joy. “All the items had been kept safely in a drawer.

 

“The map had been folded for a long time and I knew it must be getting damaged but when I opened it I found it was worse than I expected.  It was badly creased from the folding and had small holes and some staining.

 

“When I saw the finished article I was amazed.  Not only have they got all the creases out but they have framed it for me too. They have done a marvellous job.”

 

Student Caroline Rawson (21), who graduates in September after gaining a 2:1 degree in Conservation and Restoration, carried out the work on the map as part of her third-year project.

 

“Caroline spent the whole of the second semester working on the project,” said Chris Robinson, Senior Technician in Conservation and Restoration.  “Her brief was to flatten it out, clean it and stitch it to a support fabric prior to framing it for display.  

 

“The main problems included rehumidifying and flattening it and doing all the fine stitching required. She really did a brilliant job.”

 

Silk escape maps were part of the escape and evasion kit issued to Allied airmen during World War Two for use in various theatres around the globe.  Exhibits can be seen in the Imperial War Museum in London.

 

For more information contact:

Gill Noakes, Assistant Press Officer

01522 886244                         gnoakes@lincoln.ac.uk