Leather child's shoe, upper, with decorative openwork elements.
- Excavated/Findspot: Bank of England, site of
- (Europe,United Kingdom,England,London,City of London,Bank of England)
- Length: 160 millimetres
Roman Britain, probably 1st or 2nd century AD
Found on the site of the Bank of England, London
This small shoe, from a waterlogged deposit in London, probably belonged to a child. It has a thick hob-nailed sole and decorative openwork on the upper.
From sculpture and other pictorial sources we know that there were many types of footwear in use in the Roman world. Leather footwear ranged from sturdy workmen's shoes and hobnailed military sandals to finely-made, costly slippers for use by the wealthy. Because leather perishes, the shoes themselves do not often survive. But where conditions are favourable, which in Roman Britain generally means waterlogged ground, large numbers of complete or broken shoes in every stage of wear and in many different varieties have been found.
13 October 1996
Reason for treatment
Clean, repair (broken in several places). Contact Metals conservation re hobnails. Reshape as far as possible.
Surface slightly dusty. Sole and upper separate and misshapen. Several small breaks, some small pieces detached. Evidence of old restoration in the presence of adhesive along split in sole and breaks in sandal part of upper.
Loose dirt removed from surface using a soft brush and low powered vacuum cleaner fitted with a flexible rubber hose. Sole; consolidated with 5% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in xylene. Allowed to dry slowly, in an environment rich in xylene. Secured loose top layer of sole to the one beneath, by inserting a 'ball' of Japanese kozo (mulberry fibre) paper tissue which had been moistened with undiluted Vinamul 3252 (vinyl acetate,ethylene copolymer). The paper had been previously dyed to a matching colour with Solophenyl (azo dye). Upper; reshaped in a humidity chamber in high RH, rising from ambient to 90%RH, over a period of several days. As leather became more pliable, padded out with small shaped sponges which could then open up gently, creating a more three-dimensional structure but still fitting on to the sole. Reduced RH to ambient slowly and removed from chamber. Repaired breaks by applying undiluted Vinamul 3252 (vinyl acetate,ethylene copolymer) by brush. Repaired break in sole of upper by backing with Japanese kozo (mulberry fibre) paper, using Vinamul 3252 (vinyl acetate,ethylene copolymer) as adhesive, approx 50% in water. The paper had been previously painted to a matching colour with Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic). Mounted on a piece of Plastozote polyethylene foam, cut out to accommodate the distortion of the sole. Gently padded upper and tied with a cotton tape.
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
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Object reference number: BCB72535
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