Winter clean at Croft Castle

A volunteer inspects historic fabric during winter clean at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

While our doors are closed to visitors during the week over the winter, the castle is not quiet. In fact, our house team and winter clean volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to give the castle a thorough clean.

Traditionally, rooms would be cleaned from top to bottom and each piece of furniture would have a hand-made dust sheet called a case cover. The house would then be “put to bed” over winter until it was ready to welcome family or visitors again in the spring. Now we open our houses much longer and our closed period is shorter. Cleaning and conservation work is more important than ever as we welcome more visitors through the door than ever before. Winter is one of the busiest times for our house team, who take the time to get up close and personal with our collections.

Our team of conservation volunteers clean and care for a whole range of objects and artefacts
A volunteer holds an historic document up to the light at Croft Castle in Herefordshire
Our team of conservation volunteers clean and care for a whole range of objects and artefacts

This winter the house team will be using high ladders to brush dust from ceiling plasterwork and to reach light fittings and the tops of hard to reach picture frames. Each item in our collection has a condition report that tells us what an object is made from, what areas of damage it has and how to clean it. These are updated every year as each object has the equivalent of an MOT. We inspect for environmental damage caused by dust, insect pests and light.

Cleaning the chandeliers is a meticulous and intricate job
A volunteer looks at a chandelier
Cleaning the chandeliers is a meticulous and intricate job

When we have worked our way to the bottom of the room, we tamp our carpets with special rubber paddles to remove ingrained dust, and wax our wooden floors to recondition them.

Our winter clean volunteers have been 'tamping' the carpets to remove ingrained dust and debris
Two volunteers tamp the carpet in the Ante Room at Croft Castle in Herefordshire
Our winter clean volunteers have been 'tamping' the carpets to remove ingrained dust and debris

Discover what our house team gets up to behind the scenes during winter with conservation in action in the castle on Saturdays in January and February from 12pm to 3pm.

We couldn’t complete this work without the help of our winter clean volunteers, who are trained to work alongside the house team. Working together, we have an expert eye to make sure our collections are preserved for ever, for everyone. Follow the link below to find out more about our volunteering opportunities.