Last winter, our house team worked their socks off, Continue reading
… 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.
Dust covers that needed to be taken off the furniture and also put back into storage, in the Housekeeping Store.
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.
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.
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.
We are well into the new year now and the team at Osterley have certainly had a productive start to 2015.
While condition checking and cleaning one of the lacquer cabinets in Mrs Child’s Dressing
Room, a couple of unwelcome visitors were discovered in a bottom drawer. A few woolly bears (no longer alive) were found amid a pile of suspicious looking fragments. The base of the lacquer drawer was also patterned with golden blooms that may have been a result of previous mould damage, or some sort of damage to the wood layer underneath the resin layers. All the other drawers and the shell of the cabinet were in great condition, so the discovery of the problematic drawer was completely unexpected and poses some interesting questions. Could the drawer have contained something which attracted the pests and caused the damage to the surface? Could this explain where the dust fragments we found came from? Continue reading