Replicas of delicate historical items will be displayed in the Mayor’s Parlour at Morpeth Town Hall after expert work was carried out.
The town council linked up with Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn in a project to produce two exact replicas of the Great Seal of the Realm – the chief seal of the Crown, which is used to show the monarch’s approval of important state documents.
One was issued on behalf of Queen Victoria relating to Morpeth and the other was on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II in regard to the district of Castle Morpeth being given the status of a borough in 1974.
The attached parchments for both were also re-created.
Northumberland Archives sought the expert conservation assistance of Durham County Record Office and between them, they managed to do the replica for the Queen Victoria seal.
As for the Queen Elizabeth II seal, it was concluded that it was potentially made of ‘cella mold’, an early plastic made of cellulose acetate.
This plastic can become unstable in contact with certain chemicals, which can trigger its auto degradation and unstoppable deterioration.
As a result, an alternative method of replication had to be found and the organisations turned to the advanced manufacturing experts at AMAP, which is part of the University of Sunderland.
Explaining how it was able to produce the replica, AMAP managing director Roger O’Brien said: “The historic wax royal seal was scanned using our state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology.
“It was then reverse engineered in an advanced process to create a finely detailed 3D model that was then printed on a high precision 3D printer.
“Finally, the conservator spray-painted the replica to colour match the original and attached braided ribbon.”
Town Council clerk Gillian Turner said: “The replicas are brilliant and we’re so pleased that we can show people works of such high quality in the Mayor’s Parlour.”