Sleigh Hearse Conservation
Since 1986, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum has been home to the Tanner Hearse Collection. This turn of the 20th century collection of unique undertaker equipment includes a sleigh hearse (c. 1900), funeral carriage/coach (c. 1890), and a pallbearers wagon (c. 1900). The sleigh hearse was fabricated by local craftsman, James Stewart, and remained in use until 1936. The sleigh features an exposed driver’s seat and glass enclosed cabin for the coffin, supported by a wood and iron frame, set upon sleigh runners. The rear cabin is capped with decorative wood finials and silver-plated brass rails. The majority of the original interior padded ceiling and felt curtains remain, as do the decorative silver-plated brass rails/fixings. Prior to purchase by the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, Mr. Tanner completed a restoration project to stabilize the hearse.
CSI was contracted to carry out the conservation work on the sleigh hearse, which included confirmation of conditions and implementing conservation treatment. Treatment included removing corrosion from metal components, stabilizing dry rot on the seat and sleigh runners, consolidation of cracked glass, repairing leather components on the seat, and reattaching the side seat panel. The interior curtains were removed for storage to facilitate future reproduction. Upon completion, CSI will provide a full treatment report to the client.