Hidden places and secret spaces

Secret door in Library bookshelf opens to the Library annexe.

The secret door open to the secret passage in the Library at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

I don’t know about you but I love to hear about hidden corridors and secret doors in old houses.  The very idea of a priest-hole sends my imagination running wild.  It is one of the things I enjoyed about family holidays and my parents dragging us off to some castle or stately home – the colourful and interesting pasts of these properties, and cleverly concealed doors and corridors that would have been used regularly once upon a time (most likely by the servants).  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered Osterley had its own hidden and secret spaces that only the staff and volunteers knew about and used.

Now it’s your turn.  You are about to be ushered into the world behind the closed door.  Allow us to introduce you to a couple of our hidden spaces. 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).

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Not just a quick run round with the vacuum

Conservation Assistant with vacuum in Jersey Galleries at Osterley Park, undertaking routine clean.

Vacuuming in Jersey Galleries (photo by Laura Brooks).

Every day, Osterley opens its doors to the public to view our stunning rooms and collection, and, just as you might tidy your own home in preparation for guests, the house team at Osterley also has to tidy and clean before opening.  Just to give you an idea, here is what our Conservation Assistants, Hajira and Kate, plus volunteers, undertake on an average Tuesday morning. Continue reading