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

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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.

 

Back to work

Laura cleaning the French ebony cabinet in Childs' Bedroom at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Laura cleaning the French ebony cabinet in Childs’ Bedroom at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

We are well into the new year now and the team at Osterley have certainly had a productive start to 2015.

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Surprise in one of the lacquer cabinets

While condition checking and cleaning one of the lacquer cabinets in Mrs Child’s Dressing

The Lacquer cabinet (with a drawer missing) in Mrs. Child's Dressing Room at Osterley Park.

The Lacquer cabinet in Mrs. Child’s Dressing Room at Osterley Park.

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