Head for heights required

Scaffolding in courtyard of Osterley House (image: Laura Brooks)

Scaffolding in courtyard of Osterley House (image: Laura Brooks)

Kate cleaning frieze whilst up scaffold in the Long Gallery at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Kate cleaning frieze whilst up scaffold in the Long Gallery at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

We’ve had the scaffolding inside and outside of Osterley House lately.  Continue reading

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Continuing the Winter Clean

Jo and volunteer, Linden, both with hip vacs, dusting dado rail in Long Gallery at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Jo and volunteer, Linden, both with hip vacs, dusting dado rail in Long Gallery at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Last winter, our house team worked their socks off, Continue reading

How many people does it take to …

… prepare the house for opening?

As many as possible.  When a room has been put to bed for the winter and then needs to be ‘woken up’, there is a lot to do.  There is the acid-free tissue paper that needs to be removed, folded and put back into storage for the next winter clean.

Chairs and pole screen in Childs' bedroom covered in acid-free tissue, after winter clean at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Chairs and pole screen in Childs’ bedroom covered in acid-free tissue, after winter clean at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Dust covers that needed to be taken off the furniture and also put back into storage, in the Housekeeping Store.

Tapestry Room sofa with dust cover at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Tapestry Room sofa with dust cover at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Some rooms have curtains that need to be lifted up and adjusted, after the winter when they were allowed to hang down whilst being dusted.

Mrs. Child's Dressing Room's curtains being raised for the new season, after the Winter Clean at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Mrs. Child’s Dressing Room’s curtains being raised for the new season, after the Winter Clean at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

I can’t give you an exact number for the house overall, but to give you an idea of how many people are needed to make sure each room is spick and span, ready for opening, just take a look at the Long Gallery.  This room alone required three volunteers and one Assistant House Steward to dust and vacuum this 130ft long space.  And that’s just one (rather long) room.  Not all four people are visible in the picture below.  That’s because one volunteer is just out of shot on the right and the other one was the photographer.

Two volunteers and an Assistant House Stewaard working in the Long Gallery, in prepration for opening Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Two volunteers and an Assistant House Steward working in the Long Gallery, in preparation for opening Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Not counting the basement, the Breakfast Room, the Adam Room, the corridors and Grand Stair, there are 12 rooms on display, which all need to be cleaned and made ready for visitors to see them.  This many rooms calls for teamwork, which is why each season, there are so many people pulling together, both volunteers and staff, to ensure the house is ready to welcome visitors so they can once again, or for the first time, enjoy the delights there are on offer.

 

Open House London and Conservation in Action

Drawing Room armchairs ready for Conservation in Action at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Drawing Room armchairs ready for Conservation in Action at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

A few weekends ago, Osterley was part of the Open House London event and the team used this opportunity to get a head start on the winter clean and run Conservation in Action at the same time. Continue reading

Light and crewel work sofas

Crewel work sofa in Long Gallery, in-between Tudor stair and Drawing Room.

Crewel work sofa in Long Gallery (image: Laura Brooks)

If you’ve ever been in Osterley’s Long Gallery, you can’t have failed to noticed the sofas residing at both ends of the room, especially if you were with a child who had been given a wheel by the front of house team, that required them to find examples of different creatures throughout the Principal Floor (the first floor).  In the case of the Long Gallery, one of the creatures is a snail which can be located on one of the sofas (we won’t spoil the fun of looking for it by telling you the snail’s exact location).  During the recent winter clean, the team had a chance to get up close with the sofas, their cushions and bolsters, and inspect their condition. Continue reading

Cleaning in a 130ft long room

Long Gallery in November 2013

Long Gallery during open season (image: Laura Brooks)

A few weeks ago, with the Drawing Room and the State Apartment (otherwise known as the Tapestry Room, the State Bedroom and Etruscan Room) done and dusted (literally), it was time to move onto the 130ft Long Gallery. Continue reading