A Christmas round-up

Hajira dusting the Library ceiling at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Hajira dusting the Library ceiling from the scaffold at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

December has arrived and it’s not long ’til Christmas.  The preparations outside have begun with the lights up in the trees near the stables and inside, the decorations for our Georgian Christmas have been going up.  Amidst all of this, the house team have continued the Winter Clean.  Below is a round-up of what has been achieved already. 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.

 

A peek into the Housekeeping Store

Housekeeping Store at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Housekeeping Store at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

A Happy New Year from the team at Osterley.  We all hope you had a good break.  The house team have been back at work for almost a week now and have got stuck into continuing the Winter Clean.  More about that next time but we thought we’d share with you some pictures of our housekeeping store which houses our essential equipment for cleaning Osterley House.

Trolley in Housekeeping Store at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Trolley in Housekeeping Store at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Dust covers, museum vacs and other equipment in storage at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Dust covers, museum vacs and other equipment in storage at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Notice board, long-handled and cloth dusters, radiator brush and vinyl and cotton gloves at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Notice board, long-handled and cloth dusters, radiator brush and vinyl and cotton gloves at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Set of drawers for cloths, brushes and stationery at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Set of drawers for cloths, brushes and stationery at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Box of acid free tissue at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Box of acid free tissue at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Housekeeping Store (with parts of the scaffold in the background) at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Housekeeping Store (with parts of the scaffold in the background) at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Before you view this last shot, please be warned, these are insect traps which we have collected from around the house, therefore you may spy an insect or two.  Look away now if you cannot abide insects of any kind.

Used insect monitors in housekeeping store

Trug with collected insect monitors from around Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Putting the State Apartment to bed

Curtains let down in Tapestry Room at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

Curtains let down in Tapestry Room at Osterley Park (image: Laura Brooks)

By now, lots of properties have started their winter clean for 2014/15 and Osterley is no different.  Having got a head start in September, thanks to the Conservation in Action that we carried out during London Open House, we have now finished in the Drawing Room and the State Apartment, and the rooms are sleeping peacefully, waiting for the new season.

Continue reading

Waking up the house

Eating Room with lots of dust covers and acid-free tissue waiting to be removed.

Beginning to prepare Eating Room for the 2014 season at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Over the winter, we have been blogging about ‘putting the house to bed.’  A few weeks ago, the team began to prepare the house for its first day of the new season.  In doing this, we were echoing the servants who worked at Osterley all those years ago and whose responsibility it was to get the house ready for the family and their guests, when they came to stay (although the servants then probably wouldn’t have been using a Henry vacuum cleaner to clean the floors).

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