Winter Conservation at Basildon Park

Basildon Park Sutherland Room floor conservation

Over the quieter winter months here at Basildon Park important conservation work keeps our House team busy. This allows us to make sure our showrooms and collection are in the best possible condition year round.

Shifting the Dust

From November to the beginning of February half term, our conservation assistants are getting into all the tight corners to remove the dust which builds up over a year. They are going behind furniture, shinning up ladders to reach the cornices and cleaning intricately made objects.

Each object in the collection gets personal attention, as we check its condition against our records and clean it.

“The Shell Room was fun” says Rosa, “but very time-consuming because they are so delicate. It was so satisfying to see them clean when we finished.”

One of the house team working on the shell collection at Basildon Park
Shell Room at Basildon Park
One of the house team working on the shell collection at Basildon Park

Outside help

Some jobs are too specialised for the House team to manage alone, so freelance conservators come in to help us.

In the Sutherland Room the pine floorboards got some much needed attention. The footfall of over 120,000 visitors a year had taken its toll and the floor was becoming ‘springy’ in places. The conservators have added extra support and a new coat of wax will get it ready for the year ahead.

Conservators work on the Sutherland Room floor
Sutherland Room floor at Basildon Park
Conservators work on the Sutherland Room floor

Making repairs

Winter is a good time for us to make repairs where things have gone wrong or been damaged. There was a small leak from a broken roof tile which caused water staining on the ceiling and wallpaper in Lady Iliffe’s Bedroom last winter. This year an interior decorator was able to repair the damage using a piece of the original wallpaper from our stores.

Window redecoration in the Crimson Bedroom
Crimson bedroom conservation Basildon Park
Window redecoration in the Crimson Bedroom

New discoveries

Sometimes conservation work can help us to find out new things about the house and collections. Under the floorboards in the Sutherland Room we found a piece of decorative plasterwork.

“It’s clearly not from the current ceiling plasterwork in this room” says Lauren, House and Collections Manager “It looks like a piece of a daisy motif, which the original architect, John Carr, used a lot around the house. It could be from an earlier ceiling, or from another room.”

Decorative plasterwork found under the floorboards in the Sutherland Room at Basildon Park
Decorative plasterwork discovery in Sutherland Room, Basildon Park
Decorative plasterwork found under the floorboards in the Sutherland Room at Basildon Park

Come and visit us after the 13th February to see the House spick and span.