As we prepare to reopen the house tomorrow we have our last preparations to take care of. As well as the more glamorous elements of conservation at Knole are the little jobs that people often forget about.
One such job that gets done a couple of times a year is tamping mats. This is a great stress reliever as things get more and more hectic around here as it involves a lot of jumping up and down using lots of energy!
The basic goal of tamping is to shake loose the excess dirt and dust that builds up over the course of a year in our mats. We have a number of coconut mats around the house that collect dust from visitors feet. Our biggest mats are on the loggia in front of the main entrance and exit to the house.
These huge mats need a really good beating to make sure all of the dust and dirt is cleared out. You can see here just how much dust gets collected from just one mat!
We flip the mats upside down and jump up and down and stamp and beat until dust and dirt is all loosened and fallen onto the ground. This is the result of jumping up and down and beating the mat once:
And a final third time:
The dust that comes out is incredibly fine, more like sand, thanks to the numbers of feet that repeatedly pound over it every day. You may think that this much dust really should be dealt with on a daily basis but we vacuum these mats every single day! This is why it’s so important to vacuum throughout the house and to try and make sure people have clean feet when they come inside.
Hopefully they’re now ready to take on another Sahara’s worth of dust!