Blog: Newton House Conservation

Kevin Henry , Senior Conservation Assistant Kevin Henry Senior Conservation Assistant
Portrait conservation at Newton House

Hi, I’m Kevin. I am the Senior Conservation Assistant here at Newton House and I’ll be leading the conservation and maintenance work throughout January. I’ll also be giving visitors a behind the scenes insight into some of our work every Thursday from 12 noon so please come along and find out more.

Newton House welcomes thousands of visitors every year which inevitably creates a lot of wear and tear on our 17th century house and its contents. It's our job to make sure we protect and preserve as much as we possibly can to ensure Newton House can be enjoyed for generations to come.

What’s involved?

One of the biggest tasks is removing the dust that has accumulated during the open season. If the dust is left, it can become cemented in place - and thus a huge problem to remove.

An important part of the deep cleaning process will be the hard to reach places, for example the decorative plaster on the ceilings and the frames of the paintings. These areas are difficult to clean when the house is open as scaffolding is often needed to reach the highest points. Cleaning these places is a delicate and often slow job, so the January closure is a perfect opportunity for our team to be able to take their time.

The historic floors of Newton House were not intended to take the footfall they do now so they will be given some TLC this January too. The wood flooring will be waxed and buffed, and the carpets will undergo a proper tamping. Tamping is a process of beating a carpet to release the dust and dirt which can collect deep in the fibres of the carpet over time. It’s a great way to burn off those Christmas calories.

Record keeping

One other key part of the house conservation work will be to carry out some important paperwork about our collection. This will include writing condition reports and updating the Collection Management System (CMS) which is a record of all the items in our collection. Furniture especially can get damaged easily, so recording each items condition is vital for the team to know which pieces need repair.

Discover more about our work

During a visit to Newton House why not ask a member of staff or one of our marvelous volunteers about the work we do.