Munched by moths - £13,500 refurbishment for Lord Mayor's coach after insect attack
PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 June 2019
A piece of the city's civic history has been sent away for a £13,500 spruce up after being persistently munched by moths.
The Lord Mayor's Coach, which was built in the 1850s, has carried many a mayor through its life, but is now retired to pride of position on display at Strangers' Hall.
However, its new home has not come with out a price, as the civic coach has found itself at the mercy of the common clothes moth.
The ravenous winged insects have caused persistent problems in the museum, but previously exterminators have been able to deal with the issue.
But after recent health and safety regulations tied the museum's hands, they have instead been left with no choice but to replace its upholstery.
Sarah Norcross-Robinson, senior conservator for the Norfolk Museums Service, said: "Strangers Hall has had a long-term problem with clothes moths, which we have dealt with in different ways.
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"In the past, Rentokil Pest Control would encase the coach in a bubble, which we would fill with carbon dioxide and suffocate them, but the little blighters would always come back.
"We would do this on around a five year cycle, but now health and safety regulations do not allow us to deal with them in this way any more."
The root of the problem is the horse hair in the upholstery of the coach, used to cushion the seat, which is particularly enticing to the insects.
Instead, museum service conservators have elected to strip and replace the upholstery and replace it with a foam filling to deter the moths.
To complete these works, the coach has been sent to a firm based in Kent, which will carry out the project.
The renovation is already under way, with the upholstery already sent back to Norfolk - as it was posing a threat to London's Lord Mayor's coach - which is also being worked on in Kent.
The upholstery is now being frozen at Gressenhall in an attempt to kill off any remaining moths and their eggs.
The coach is due to be brought back to the county in the summer.