Conservation work in January and February

Kingston Lacy house in Dorset during cleaning

One of the benefits of Kingston Lacy house being open to the public for more days of the year is the opportunity for the conservation team to demonstrate to visitors the work they used to do behind closed doors. Throughout the year they will be performing essential deep clean work in front of the public to showcase the conservation of Kingston Lacy for future generations to enjoy, which is at the heart of everything we do.

There is some work however, which due to its very nature, has to be carried out behind closed doors. January and February are the months when the most in-depth conservation work is carried out. Work that requires the use of scaffolding, ladders and specialist conservation equipment is done during this period. With more of the house open over the Christmas than ever before we have to plan our major work very carefully. The upper two floors of the house were cleaned during November and December, enabling us to open the state floor for Conservation Undercover and Christmas. As a result the state floor now requires a thorough deep clean in order to be ready for opening on 1 March.

It is vital the ceiling artwork is checked annually for conservation
Conservation work in January at Kingston Lacy
It is vital the ceiling artwork is checked annually for conservation

Starting on 2 January the conservation team had to clear away all evidence of Christmas before the deep clean could begin. In addition to this, scaffolding was due to be delivered ready to be assembled for an in-depth ceiling inspection outside the White Bedroom. Being a charity and always striving to get maximum value for money, the scaffolding will also be used for window cleaning prior to Ultra-Violet film being replaced, and the installation of new window blinds.  These blinds are a great improvement on the existing blinds which have been in place for over twenty years. They will enable visitors to look out of the windows and enjoy the same views the Bankes family enjoyed. They will also give improved protection against the harmful effects of ultra-violet light whilst allowing more light into the rooms.

Following an experiment in interpretation last year, the Saloon is getting another revamp this year. Visitor feedback told us the additional seating was most welcome and enabled people to sit and admire the paintings, but there was a feeling that some of the family feel to the room had been lost. That will be rectified this year and whilst the room is empty of furniture, the conservation team will be deep cleaning the room. This includes cleaning the painting frames and waxing the floor before the carpet is laid. Some furniture that used to be in the room is being brought out of storage for the re-display and this will need to be checked for woodworm and cleaned.

In addition to all this, floors have to be cleaned, routine maintenance carried out, dust covers taken off and shaken, ornaments and curios have to be put out and a whole host of other jobs in order for the house to be ready for opening on 1 March. Every visit you make to Kingston Lacy gives us more money to use for that conservation work and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour.