Charlecote House - A Victorian home

The golden drawing room with furniture covered in dust sheets

The house is now closed over Christmas and winter so that our team can carry out essential conservation work and prepare for the start of our long-awaited Heating Project.

The parkland remains open every day from 9am – 4pm (last entry at 3pm) and the café, shop and outbuildings are also open daily. Keep reading to find out what's going on behind the scenes inside the house.

Why is the house closed over Christmas and winter?

Christmas has arrived early for the team at Charlecote Park! We’re excited to be able to start work on the long-awaited Heating Project this winter.

The Heating Project will see the old Victorian heating system in the house, replaced and some features like the period radiators, will be restored. This will help the team to stabilise the atmospheric conditions in each room (controlling the temperature and humidity), which will better protect the collection against mould, pests, damage, and decay.

Closing the house over the winter will give our team time and space to prepare for this work before it begins in 2022. Here’s what will be going on behind the scenes for the next few weeks and months:

Closing the house in winter means the team can clean off the mould that affects the collection
Charlecote Park's house team tackle the mould that affects the collection
Closing the house in winter means the team can clean off the mould that affects the collection


1. Conservation clean and mould management

The team will start by carrying out a deep clean which, usually takes place every January to remove the build-up of mould and pests. They have their work cut out of them this year as mould has crept into more unexpected places due to being closed for 14 months during the pandemic.

As our visitors walk through the house, they usually create a gentle disturbance in the air, creating some ventilation through the rooms, which the mould dislikes. But with no visitors inside the house while it was closed, coupled with Charlecote’s riverside location, the mould has had the perfect conditions to thrive!

The team will be kitted out in PPE to tackle the mould. They’ll use Hip Vac hoovers with HEPA filters and delicate brushes will be used to gently clean dust from delicate surfaces, paintings, and historic textiles. Polishing the floor in the Great Hall and Dining Room floor can often take over a week each to complete. The team have been trained to erect a scaffold tower which enables them to clean those hard-to-reach paintings, fixtures, and fittings in the Great Hall.

The team have been trained to erect a scaffold tower to reach and clean the ceiling and paintings
The team have been trained to erect a scaffold tower to reach and clean the ceiling and paintings
The team have been trained to erect a scaffold tower to reach and clean the ceiling and paintings


2. Inventory details and record keeping

As they clean each item in the collection, the team will use this opportunity to check the information we hold about the object.

The information can include details about the object’s condition, size, materials and more. We need to ensure that the notes we keep in our inventory records are as detailed and up to date as possible to help determine each item’s history and origins. This work is very detailed and with over 6,300+ items in the collection, it’s expected to take a while!

3. Packing and reorganising


Once each room has had a deep clean, the team will pack away certain items of the collection to protect them from the work. They’ll also prepare the surfaces and rearrange furniture in the rooms to accommodate the Heating Project work to start.
 

Dining Room covered in dust sheets ready for conservation work to take place
Dining Room covered in dust sheets during lockdown and cleaning
Dining Room covered in dust sheets ready for conservation work to take place

Closed for Christmas


We know the house decorated for Christmas is a highlight for many visitors each year. We hope to have the house open again and decorated for next Christmas in 2022.

There's still lots to enjoy over the festive period. Thank you for your support and understanding while we carry out this vital work.


When will the house reopen?


In spring 2022, we’re hoping to reopen part of the house to visitors on weekends only. As space will be restricted it’s likely we’ll continue to use a timed ticket system, similar that used during the summer of 2021, where a non-bookable ticket could be picked up at Visitor Reception on a first come, first served basis.

Keep checking the website and social media for updates on the house reopening.

Why will you only be open on weekends in the spring/summer?

The heating project is still in the very early stages so we’re not quite sure how things are going to look for our visitors just yet. We’ll only be open on weekends in the spring, to give the contractors and conservators plenty of space to continue working during the week. We’ll aim to increase opening days as the work progresses through the house and rooms are completed.

Why will only part of the house be open?


Did you know that the donor family still lives at Charlecote Park? Charlecote is of a few places in the National Trust where the donor family still lives in a wing of the house. We open certain rooms for visitors to enjoy and keep one wing closed to allow the donor family privacy and space to live.

Charlecote is a beautiful sight across the river Avon on a frosty day
Charlecote house view across river on frosty day in winter
Charlecote is a beautiful sight across the river Avon on a frosty day