Rewiring project at Oxburgh Hall, 14 January 2013

The Void in the South Corridor Oxburgh Hall  © Ilana Van Dort

The Void in the South Corridor Oxburgh Hall

This has been another busy week, fuelled by plenty of tea and lemon drizzle cake! Thanks to the snow, a smaller than expected group of staff and volunteers have worked hard to empty the Drawing Room, Saloon and South Corridor in preparation for rewiring work in these areas.

The Drawing Room has been completely emptied, including some very large and delicate display cabinets and their contents, a suite of furniture, chairs, desks, chests of drawers, and a very heavy carpet. Most of these items date to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and a great deal of care and attention has been paid to ensuring that we lift them correctly and that they are placed safely in storage.

Next week, our regional conservator will help us to protect the nineteenth century wallpaper surrounding the wall-lights in the Drawing Room by attaching thin sheets of translucent plastic to the walls.

The larger items of furniture in the Saloon have been left in situ and packed in acid-free tissue, bubble-wrap and thin sheets of corrugated plastic. This includes the Antwerp Cabinet - a beautiful seventeenth century display cabinet made of tortoiseshell, ebony and gilt metal - which we have decided would be at greater risk if moved, than if packed well and left in its place.

The Pugin design curtains in the Saloon, dating to around 1840, have been left hanging, but we have protected them with long sheets of conservation-grade fabric. The fabric has been pinned to a board above the curtains, then wrapped around each curtain and pinned together to form a dust-proof bag.

The South Corridor has also been emptied of most of its contents and we wait now only for professional carpet fitters to come and lift the runner, so that the contractors can begin their work in that area. The wall-mounted taxidermy in the South Corridor has been left in its place, but we spent a very cold morning up ladders tucking acid-free tissue and bubble-wrap around antlers and deer heads!

We are delighted to announce that the packing and protection side of the project is now complete. Once the rewiring work finishes (hopefully in a month’s time), we will have a busy few weeks unpacking hundreds of delicate items, putting everything back in place, and getting ready to open the House to visitors on 9 March.

If you’re interested in learning more about the project, why not join one of our rewiring tours? These will run every Saturday and Sunday throughout January and February 2013. The tours start at 11.30am and 2.30pm, and should last around 30 minutes. Tickets are available from the Ticket Office and cost £2 per person.