Rewiring project at Oxburgh Hall, 19 November 2012

We are protecting our bookcases so they aren't damaged during the project © IIana Van Dort

We are protecting our bookcases so they aren't damaged during the project

The King’s Room and Queen’s Room were rewired during Phase 1 of the project, so we are able to use these rooms as storage areas. However, with regards to the ground floor showrooms, we have to empty rooms into one another. This week, the contents of the Library and Dining Room have been emptied into the Saloon and Drawing Room. Once the contractors have completed their work in the Library and Dining Room, the contents will be returned to these rooms, along with those of the Saloon and Drawing Room, to allow work to commence in the Saloon and Drawing Room.

There were some large pieces of furniture in the Library and Dining Room, including Victorian sofas, tables, sideboards and carpets. Thankfully, there were some strong and very hard-working volunteers on hand to help us! In some cases, we were able to place the items on piano wheels and carefully push them from one room to the next.

The dining table in the Dining Room proved more of a challenge. This is profusely carved and therefore rather fragile. Once the table top has been detached from the base, it can’t be put down as the carved edge would crumble under the weight. Therefore, the table top had to be held by a group of five people, while another three people carried the base into the Drawing Room. Once the base was in its new location, we could then carry the top into the Drawing Room and reattach it to the base.

The bookcases

The bookcases in the Library are built into the wall and needed to be protected in situ. We tied sheets of permeable, strong conservation-grade fabric to the tops of the cases and then taped one sheet to the next to protect the books from dust.  Sleeves of conservation-grade corrugated plastic were affixed to the protruding corners of the bookcases.

The Library Carpet

The Library carpet dates to the 1830s and is the only carpet in the House that remains behind ropes and is inaccessible to visitors. It is a large carpet, covering almost the entirety of the Library floor. In order to pack it, we first needed to turn it upside-down, as carpets should always be rolled pile-side out. This prevents the pile from being crushed by the weight of the carpet. We pulled the carpet back by about 3 metres, then rolled a section of it onto a PVC drain pipe, before pulling it back further and rolling some more!

Once rolled, the carpet was wrapped in conservation-grade fabric and secured using luggage straps and book-tape. The actual rolling process required seven people – six to roll and one to monitor and make sure we were rolling it straight! It took six of us to carry the carpet to its new location in the Saloon.