Many hands make light work!

This week we were joined by two extra pairs of hands, Liz and Sam.  Liz is an A-level student who came for a weeks work experience to see how a National Trust property is run.  Liz spent most of the week working with the Conservation Team and an two afternoons shadowing the Volunteer Co-ordinators and the Visitor Services Team.  Sam is with us for 4 weeks on a work placement as a part of her Conservation Studies degree.

On Monday and Tuesday we set to work catching up with the cycle of show room deep cleaning.  We were able to get through 8 rooms this week, including two of the long galleries and the Great Hall.

Liz dusting the panelling in the Venetian Ambassador’s Bedroom using a hogs hair brush and the ‘back vac’.

Sam dusts a picture frame in the Billiard Room, using a pony hair brush and a vacuum cleaner.

Deep cleans during the open season occur 4 to 5 times, they are a mini winter clean of show rooms, when furniture and objects get a more thorough dust with our cleaning brushes. Picture frames and panelling get a tickle too to remove the dust. We use the vacuums and dust directly in to the vacuum nozzle to remove the dust and not just displace it around the room. Our weekly dusty is usually just cleaning flat surfaces with a duster.  The deep cleans are necessary to stop the dust levels building up, which not only looks unsightly, but in our very damp conditions there is a risk of the dust physically bonding with the surface it has settled on.

Lucy dry mops the floor under furniture in the Billiard Room. This is done once a week on our closed days. Parts of the floor walked on by visitors and as close to furniture as possible, are vacuumed every day.

Our closed day clean this week was finished off with some floor waxing on the Great Stairs and Brown Gallery.  We re-wax the floors throughout the open season to keep them looking good and protect them from wear and tear.  All this rain is making them suffer a lot more than usual.  We get a lot of drip marks from soggy coats and umbrellas.

The end of June is the time to carry out our second pest insect trap inspection.  However we weren’t able to carry out the checks until this week, due to a hectic end to June.   There are 70 traps to check in 25 rooms.  We monitor all the show rooms, our store rooms and cupboards, and this year we have stated monitoring in rooms to be opened up to visitors in a few years as a part of our Inspired by Knole project.

Sarah explains to Sam how we record any catch on the insect traps on our spreadsheet.

Sam has a go at identifying creepy crawlies on a trap from the bottom of the Great Stairs.

It takes most of the week, after cleaning time to get round all the traps, but we found some time to start cleaning up the paintings store, the last of our store areas in need of some tlc.  We’ll be carrying on with this job next week.  Once complete we’ll focus on object condition checking in the stores, a task that will more than likely take us up till Christmas and beyond!

Sarah, Lucy, Melinda, Emily, Sam and Liz.

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