The big winter clean at Dyrham Park

Conservation in action at Dyrham Park

Every winter, the house team has the huge tasks of cleaning the house and collection - checking for and protecting against damage.

The house team at Dyrham Park undertakes a three-month clean of almost fifty rooms in the 300+ year old house every winter, to compliment their regular cleaning efforts throughout the year.

It is important to ensure that the house is free from dust and dirt to protect the fabric of the building and the collection inside. They check for wood worm and beetles as well as larger pests and ensure the items are protected from light and moisture.

Those hard to reach places

To help them get to those hard to reach places, staff and volunteers are taught how to safely erect scaffolding so they can dust the cornices, chandeliers and paintings. This also helps them check for damp any possible and insect infestations.

“We’re not all the tallest members of the team here in the house so without ladders and indoor scaffolding we are not able to reach the highest places,” said Holley Richardson, Senior House Steward at Dyrham Park.  “The annual winter clean is a huge job and involves around a dozen staff and volunteers it’s a bit trickier this year as we are also remaining open to visitors but we are very keen to share this side of Dyrham Park with people.”

Dyrham's treasures

Dyrham Park founder William Blathwayt created the house as we know it, with the build taking place in the late 17th Century; he filled it with Dutch inspired ceramics, paintings and other artefacts. Many of these items remain in the house.

Thanks to a £3.8m conservation project, which was completed in 2016, Dyrham Park has a new watertight roof, which makes the job of protecting the house and collection much easier. A new biomass boiler installed as part of the 18-month project will help heat the house over the winter months too, in a much more efficient way than the old oil-burning boiler did.