Removing the precious textiles revealed that the horse-hair stuffed mattress beneath was past saving. Still sodden from the fire hoses, we could smell it despite wearing face masks. A modern divan beneath could be dealt with more robustly: two of us shared the satisfaction of cutting it with a knife before disposing of it.
To our delight this exposed the original base-cloth, still intact, which once supported the bed’s three mattresses. These coarse woven base-cloths were often discarded, but here it was, still tied to the frame with its original strings; the very strings that could be adjusted for comfort giving rise to the expression ‘sleep-tight sweet dreams’.
This left the bare frame. Made 300 years ago, it came apart exactly as designed. With a bit of encouragement, we simply unscrewed the foot long bolts that joined the sections together. This was no accident, the bed was constructed with dismantling in mind so that it could be taken apart, moved and reassembled with the minimum of fuss.