The Great Store

Now that we have emptied the second half of the Showrooms we need to find somewhere to put it all. Considering Knole is one of the largest houses in England it should be simple to find somewhere to put all these things, right? The big surprise for many about this sprawling mansion is just how tight storage space can be! After centuries of being lived in and crammed full of wonderful objects there’s just not much usable space left.

The fragility and value of our collection means that it needs very specific conditions for its continued wellbeing. We have been working very hard to reorganise our current conservation store rooms to create space for as much as possible. Even this is not enough.

To make up for our lack of space we have been able to create a couple of ingenious extra storage spaces. These are the Old Kitchen and the ‘Great Store’ (formerly the Great Hall!).

In December a huge scaffold was erected in the Great Hall at Knole. It comprises two stories with plenty of storage space.

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The empty top floor ready to receive.

The empty painting rack watched over by Thomas Sackville, the man who did so much to make Knole what it is today.

The empty painting rack watched over by Thomas Sackville, the man who did so much to make Knole what it is today.

The first objects begin appearing from the Ballroom.

The first objects begin appearing from the Ballroom.

Ceramics from the Ballroom are safely nestled in their temporary home until they find their permanent place on the store.

Ceramics from the Ballroom are safely nestled in their temporary home until they find their permanent place on the store.

The largest paintings will be stored in their own racking on the Hall dais.

The largest paintings will be stored in their own racking on the Hall dais.

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

Special lighting appears to show off the glistening collection.

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NT staff carefully lifting a bust of the Duke of Wellington into place.

With the help of volunteers and specialist art movers the store gradually fills up. The Great Hall is now full of items from the Showrooms ready for visitors to enjoy from a completely different perspective.

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Now that everything is in we can add layers of protection such as these screen doors to protect against the dust.

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And this blackout material to protect the vulnerable items from harmful light levels.

Blackout material protecting vulnerable items

Blackout material protecting vulnerable items

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The detail of the Russia chest now in the Great Store. This pattern will be making another appearance very soon!

There is one more finishing touch to be added just before we open to the public. Then the store is complete.

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The finished Great Store provides a brand new perspective on fantastic objects. Letting them shine in new surroundings.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peak at the Great Store. Be sure to come and see it when we reopen again in March 2016!

Knole Conservation Team

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