Packing up Castle Drogo

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Our work to save Castle Drogo in Devon is one of the largest conservation projects we have ever undertaken and will last five years.

In December 2012, we started the mammoth task of moving our precious treasures out from the south end of the castle where the conservation work will focus over the first couple of years.

Our first step however was to have photos taken of each room and to record the home and position of every single object. This will allow us to return our rooms to the way they were before the project began.

Opening up new rooms

Storing the belongings of a castle needs a lot of space; thankfully we had the very place, the nursery rooms on the third floor. Previously staff accommodation, the beautiful wooden panelled day and night nurseries are now open as storage rooms to the public for the very first time.

Fuelled by tea and cake, the conservation team spent a busy December moving the castle’s furniture and packing up our smaller items. Carrying heavy furniture upstairs was hard work, especially around the tight corners of the staircases and we were ably assisted by some expert movers and our Project Conservator Kate.

Moving tapestries, portraits and chandeliers

Some of the more difficult objects to move included the massive longcase clock from the main stairs and the large portraits. Each portrait had to be fitted with ‘legs’ so they could stand safely on the ground without damaging their frames.

Storing the library’s carpets and tapestries was hard work. After cleaning, they were rolled up and suspended on racks which prevent their great weight causing damage. You can see them on display in the Room of Good Fortune.

The chandeliers from the drawing room were another challenge. Each one was carefully dissembled by experts and carefully washed and dried before being packed away. The large central column of the chandelier is kept suspended on a frame to keep it safe.

The big move was finished before Christmas 2012, allowing the team to enjoy a well-earned break.