Rewiring project at Oxburgh Hall, 12 November 2012
The Next Chapter
Once again, our very keen group of volunteers have worked like Trojans. The contents of the North Bedroom, Boudoir, North Corridor, Nun’s Cupboard, Admiral’s Room, Admiral’s Corridor and part of the House office have been moved to the King’s Room and Priest’s Hole. It’s amazing how much you can fit into one room.
The North Corridor is covered in leather wall-hangings and we spent a long time trying to work out how to protect the hangings in situ. The advice from our regional conservator was to pin long strips of heavy-duty bubble-wrap to the wooden coving at the top of the hangings and then attach the strips to one another using masking tape.
This process was very successful. We left the bubble-wrap unsealed at the bottom of each strip to enable airflow and prevent condensation. Though this type of protection may not shield the leather from the hardest of blows, it will alert attention to the fragility of the hangings and protect them from the dust inevitably produced by invasive building work.
The North Bedroom
The bed in the North Bedroom is a so-called flying tester bed and the canopy is attached to the ceiling, making it nigh on impossible to move. Instead, we enlisted the services of a local carpenter, who built a simple timber frame around the bed. We then stapled a type of corrugated plastic to the frame, boxing the bed in to protect it from damage and dust.
Once the frame had been built, we realised that the width of it prevented access to plug sockets either side of the bed. The contractors came up with the idea of affixing small handles to either side of the frame, which will enable them to pull it back slightly to give access to the plug sockets.
Trevor Proudfoot of Cliveden Conservation, who advises the National Trust on stonework, very kindly helped us to pack and move the two marble busts in the Library. These nineteenth century busts depict Mary Geraldine Trafford (daughter of Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, 6th Baronet) and Agnes Molyneux-Seel (sister of the 6th Baronet).
We also moved a third bust, which has been in storage for several years. This depicts Thomas Molyneux-Seel, husband of Agnes, and we hope to display him next to Agnes in the Library when the room is reinstated. The method used for packing each bust was simply to line a plastic garden bin with blankets and gently lower the bust into the bin and ‘tuck it in’ with yet more blankets. Each bin was then carried between at least two people and placed in safe storage.