The Downham Banner was made to commemorate the Centenary of the Downham Benevolent Society in 1885. It is approximately 280cms by 204cms and was designed to be carried at the head of processions by members of the Society.

 

Signed by Skerrett of Bury, Lancashire, the Banner is made from a single layer of blue rep-woven silk fabric seamed from 58cm wide vertical panels and bordered with red rep-woven silk fabric, complete with white selvedge strips down each outer edge. The Banner is fixed by 13 pole loops of 2cm wool or cotton tape secured to the silver-painted wood pole, which is finished with brass cuffs. A sleeve formed at the foot of the Banner contains a second 3cm diameter wooden pole. A 14.5cm deep fringe made from crimson silk wrapped over a cotton core trims the lower edge. All stitching is by hand using silk thread. The Banner is painted on both sides with different images.

 

The main panel on the front, edged with gold, shows The Good Samaritan. Silver mantling curls from the silver upper text scroll “Go thou and do likewise”, worked in red uppercase letters. A text panel of red, edged with silver states “In Commemoration of the Centenary of The Benevolent Society Downham 1885” worked in uppercase gold letters. The maker’s name is painted in the lower right of the main panel.

damage to lower seam
The front of the Banner before conservation

 

The blue-grey main panel on the rear is edged with gold and bears the inscription “In Commemoration of the Benevolent Society” in gold uppercase lettering. Below on a separate panel is “Downham 1885” worked in fawn lettering on a beige ground. Silver mantling similar to the opposite side drapes the panel.

With acknowledgements to The People’s History Museum, Manchester.