Winter cleaning at Cragside house

Alex and Philip give Cragside house a deep clean over the winter period © National Trust/ Rosie Danagher

Alex and Philip give Cragside house a deep clean over the winter period

Latest update 29.01.2014 14:13

Staff at Cragside are currently working around the clock to open up the house after being in hibernation during winter.

Whilst the doors have been closed over the winter period, staff and an army of volunteers have been cleaning and restoring the collection, to ensure the ground floor of the house is ready in time for opening, with free entry, for February half term.

Delicate brushing, cleaning and dusting are all part of a meticulous and thorough routine and in order to give the collection the deep clean it needs, this can only be done whilst the house is closed over winter.

One of these jobs involves the annual task of book cleaning. With over 8,000 books on display, each individual book is removed from the bookshelves, opened up and brushed down to remove the dust into a specialist vacuum, sometimes taking weeks to complete.

Felicity Wheeler, Cragside Collections Supervisor said:
“We’re tasked with the delicate care of conserving our wonderful collection, so great lengths are taken in order to get the rooms open and ready for our visitors. With approximately 17,000+ objects in the collection, this is a very busy period for us.”

One of the rooms currently undergoing a transformation for 2014 is the Japanese room situated on the ground floor. Up until now, visitors could not enter into the room, only peer through the door, and now staff are working to rearrange the room so visitors will be able to step inside.

Felicity added:
“Visitors will now be able to step inside and get up close the beautiful Japanese prints which decorate the walls of this magnificent room. The prints were donated to the Armstrong’s by Yorisada Tokugawa, an uncle of the Empress of Japan, who stayed here with the family just after the First World War.”

A Carpet Conservation team are also soon to take the rare Chenille Dining Room carpet away for a nine month long £78,000 restoration project. The team have been closely inspecting the damage and deterioration of this bespoke chenille carpet, which is only one of 10 in the country, and soon the carpet will be restored to its original characteristics.

Due to the huge demands of conserving and cleaning, the ground floor of the house will only be open to the public during half term, giving the staff time to put the finishing touches to the upper rooms, when it fully opens for the season on Saturday 1st March.

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