It seems everyone has their opinion on the restoration of Pelham puppets,and it can prove to be a very difficult choice deciding whether to go ahead.Here are a few guidelines.
1) If a puppet is in reasonable condition then I would say leave well alone and don't make unneccessary changes.
2) Unless you are a competent artist don't try to restore a painted face. The people who originally painted the faces were very talented and skilled. If the paintwork of a face needs repair then look for some-one who can do a professional job.
3) I don't think there is any harm in doing small touch up jobs on the paintwork where a small area has worn away, The little metal nose on the ss puppets can often do with a little extra paint.
4) If you have a puppet where parts are missing then I think it is quite acceptable to use spare parts from other puppets to make a repair....just be sure to use the correct parts for the age of the puppet.No point putting plastic hands on a brown boxed puppet!!!
5) Puppets often get dirty or dusty after long periods stored in lofts. I think cleaning up a puppet is quite acceptable if it has become very soiled.
If you are careful you can unpick clothes and wash them by hand in warm water, then sew them back into place.Really stubborn rust marks can be removed with a good soak in Oxiclean.
What you shouldn't do is replace clothes using today's modern materials. They are mostly man made fabrics and just don't match up to the original natural materials used by the company.
This applies to the felt parts as well. Felt from the 1950's was wool based and very different to the felt manufactured today.
6) If you do have some spare parts then put them to use by making your own pelham style puppet. Lots of people do it and I have seen all wonder of new creations.Its probably one step past restoration but still a lot of fun.
7)If you are selling a puppet restored in any way then it is a good idea to mention what has been replaced.