Following a much welcomed break over Christmas and New Year the Conservation Team are now back hard at work continuing with the winter clean! Our usual winter routine is very different this season as we are working around the building works taking place as part of the first phase of the Inspired by Knole project.
On the 8th January, a crane returned to Knole to lift off some of the larger scaffold beams from the first phase of works now completed. As this work takes places directly over the show rooms for safety reasons the house was out of bounds for the day.
As we weren’t able to go into the main showrooms, we set to work in the Orangery to give it a deep clean. We soon
discovered that the mild and damp weather conditions had caused mould growth along the windowsills and on some of the benches.
Mould on the windowsills and benches.
The windowsills and benches were cleaned with mild detergent in warm water and lots of elbow grease!
For the rest of the week we have been winter cleaning in the Great Hall. As the ceiling is so high, we built our scaffolding to its highest point which allows us to clean the tops of the picture frames and change light bulbs as well as getting lovely views of the room below.
We work from the ceiling down, removing cobwebs and dust. As the Great Hall had played host to the Knole staff Christmas party in December, we found rather a lot of party balloons on the top of the panelling along with the usual cobwebs!
This week, our contractors have begun removing the polythene tunnel which provided dust protection from the building works. It had been in place along the east front show rooms March 2012. This will allow us to start reinstating the contents of the rooms, much of which has been in store since the tunnel was built, ready for visitors when the house reopens on 9th March.
As part of the preparation for this, all the net curtains (used to keep direct sunlight out of the rooms) from these rooms need washing. These were taken down to allow for the windows to be repaired and were badly water stained from the regular leaks from the windows over the years. Each curtain has been hand sewn and made to measure so to avoid shrinkage they are individually washed by hand.
Thank you to volunteers Zena, Nadja, Susie and Lisa for their hard work this week.
Lucy, Melinda, Sarah and Emily