Conservation Work

Keighley Old Contemptibles' Association Standard


Ian Walkden and Mick Hastings with the standard at Keighley Drill Hall

We'd heard this standard in it's glass case had been removed from the wall at Keighley Shared Church and was being stored under a sheet. We managed to get permission to take it to Keighley Drill Hall in order to have it installed there in pride of place along with other standards in similar glass cases. However, the future of the Drill Hall looked in doubt at the time with the withdrawal of the Territorial Army from Keighley and we moved the standard to the Civic Centre for safe keeping.

Our Director Ian Walkden successfully negotiated funding from Keighley Town Council to have the standard conserved and an expert in textile conservation from Cliffe Castle declared that the standard was fit to be put on display but needed some work to mount it properly in its case. For example, it was held up in the case by four rather rusty drawing pins, which were damaging the cloth.

Andy Wade describes the standard of the Keighley Old Contempibles' Association

Andy Wade describes the standard of the Keighley Old Contemptibles' Association

We displayed the standard in August 2014 when we commemorated in Keighley, the centenary of the start of the Great War. We read out the names of the Old Contemptibles who had returned home and been members of the association in Keighley and several relatives of these men came along to see them honoured in this way.


Peter Karkoszka carries the standard for it's final parade in Keighley

We also paraded the standard in Keighley in the Remembrance Day parade and it was given lead position in the parade. The standard was carried with great pride and honour by Army veteran Peter Karkoszka. After this parade the standard went to the conservator for the work to be carried out on it.

The work included lining the case with a special mounting board with backing cloth and support sheet to mount the standard properly and it was hand sewn in place very carefully followed by each tassel being individually sewn in position.

The pole and finial was inserted into a new sleeve especially made for display purposes. (Note the original rusty drawing pin hole)

Each individual tassel was hand sewn on to the conservation quality backcloth.

The standard was hand sewn on to the conservation quality backcloth.


The fully conserved KOCA standard set in its case with full support from the new back board and cloth covering.

The brass finial with the badge of the Old Contemptibles' Association

The final part of the story of Keighley's Old Contemptibles' Association standard was the discussion with the church who agreed to have it mounted high up on the wall. Several veterans got involved in helping to move the standard and it was mounted on a purpose built support shelf, with spacers holding the back of the case away from the wall surface to reduce the transfer of moisture from the wall. The spotlights were then moved to illuminate this important piece of our heritage in hopefully it's final resting place. and we hope it's still there in a hundred years time.

Veterans helping with the installation of the Old Contemptibles' Association standard at Keighley Shared Church.

The standard in it's oak case with the front glass and frame removed, ready to be mounted on the wall.

Fitting the glass and frame on to the front.

Close up of the standard in it's case, mounted on the wall.

The Keighley Old Contemptibles' Association standard, fully conserved and back in it's original case, mounted high up on the wall at Keighley Shared Church.

More information is available on the Keighley's Old Contemptible's Association chums here

Forty of the original members of the Keighley branch of the Old Contemptibles' Association, photograph believed to have been taken in 1938.

3 Responses

  1. This is a wonderful project and I am delighted to hear of the successful rescuing and conservation of the standard for the old Contemptibles and of the way this small band of soldiers has been honoured. My Grandfather went to France in early 1915 and just missed being an old contemptible but was always proud of them and their heroism
    • Andy Wade
      Thank you very much Helen, we're very pleased with the way it's turned out. Most of the early British Expeditionary Force was wiped out by the end of November 1914, so the ones who survived the war were indeed a rare bunch! We are also very proud of them for what they did. If you Grandfather was local to Keighley and the Worth Valley we would be very interested in hearing more about him, if you would like to use our submission form, we would then be able to look further into his Army career during the Great War period. Best wishes, Andy.
      • Thank you for your reply. I am sorry but my grandfather was from Hampshire and served in the Hampshire regiment and was then transferred to an Irish regiment. My other Grandfather was from Darwen and served in the East Lancs where he was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery during the raid onSan Quentin May 1917.

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