Conserving the house

A grand façade

A bueatiful building with some serious problems

Tyntesfield had issues. The roof leaked, the electrics and heating systems were hopelessly out-dated and the collection was suffering from the damp and rampaging pests. So we got to work...

In order to conserve and repair the roof and stone work on the main house the largest free-standing scaffold in Europe was constructed. This incredible time lapse film captures the dismantling of this scaffolding in early 2011 over 14 weeks.

Some vital statistics...

  • The scaffolding included over 28 miles of poles and 24,000 fittings
  • Almost all of the 50,000 objects in our collection moved at least once
  • Some carpets had to be rolled up and re-laid over a dozen times
  • Over 200,000 visited the house during the project work
  • Over 1,200 floor screws had to be replaced in one bedroom alone
  • We had 48 old radiators restored and 50 new ones fitted
  • Tyntesfield has 43 chimneys, all of which were swept and repaired

Meet the team

A huge number of craftspeople were involved in saving Tyntesfield. Working from the cramped tunnels in the basement to the highest points of the roof they did a fantastic job and shared their work with our visitors.

The highest heights

  • The house under wraps © NT/LobsterPictures

    Making it possible

    SGB Scaffolding built us the largest free-standing scaffold in Europe complete with snow-proof ro...

  • New tiles being laid on the roof © National Trust

    Thousands of tiles

    West Country Tiling restored the patterened roof using as many of the original tiles as possible....

  • One of our many hunkypunks © NT/Steve Young

    Birds and beasts

    Minerva Conservation conserved and restored the intricate stone carvings, walls and chimneys.

A shocking mini-documentary

Crystals and cables

Specialist chandelier conservator Terry Brotheridge helped us to re-wire our delicate historic light fittings and chandeliers. The stone lion heads in the hall had light bulbs shining from their mouths once more.

Tunnels and radiator gunge

The team from Westford Mechanical Engineering fitted our new boiler and refurbished our historic radiators, as well as fitting new ones.

We can now keep the temperature and humidity at the best level for the collection.

Room to work

Team members rolling the carpets in the drawing room © NT/Tyntesfield

Team members rolling the carpets in the drawing room

In order for the electricians and plumbers to access the pipes and wires under the floors, every room had to be cleared and the carpets rolled up.

Objects were carefully wrapped and packed in crates and moved to other rooms temporarily to protect them from harm. 

Specialist joiners from CS Williams, the main contractor, took up the intricate parquet floors piece by piece to provide access.

Our incredible inventory

Staff and volunteers recording the ceramics for the inventory © NT/Andy Moseley

Staff and volunteers recording the ceramics for the inventory

A fantastic team of volunteers have been cataloguing, measuring and photographing every object in our collection from supermarket carrier bags to family portraits.

They also tracked the movement of these objects during the project work so that they could be returned to their original locations after the work was completed.

Pest problems

One of the pest traps in situ © National Trust

One of the pest traps in situ

The damp conditions in the house had resulted in big problems with moths and wood worm in the house. The project gave the house team the chance to check and treat objects before they were packed and moved.

Many of our textiles were frozen or fumigated to kill off the moths and their larvae, with a cottage on the estate being converted into a temporary fumigation chamber at one point.