Rewiring project at Oxburgh Hall, 5 November 2012

Oxburgh Hall King's Room © IIana Van Dort

Oxburgh Hall King's Room

Oxburgh has been a hive of activity this past week. House staff and volunteers – fuelled by plenty of parsnip cake, orange cake and butterfly cupcakes – have worked hard to empty the rooms in preparation for rewiring work.

The contents of four attic rooms have been moved to the Queen’s Room – via the Spiral Staircase – and the contents of four showrooms have been moved to the King’s Room. Items that cannot be moved have been packed in situ, using a variety of materials, including a type of corrugated plastic; a type of strong, permeable fabric; bubble wrap and acid-free tissue.

The Textile Conservation Studio spent two days packing up the hugely fragile Marian Hangings (panels of embroidery that were stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick). The packing process involved a thorough condition check, before each hanging was rolled onto a padded PVC roller and packed in layers of protective materials. The ends of each roller were then placed on custom-made wooden supports.

The flock and gilt 1830s wallpaper in the Dining Room required protection in the areas surrounding the wall-light fittings. Our regional conservator, Chris Calnan, with the able assistance of a volunteer, spent an afternoon protecting these areas using a thin, translucent conservation-standard plastic.

The good news is that, in terms of the packing process, we are a week ahead of schedule!