Putting the house to bed - Winter Clean 2019
Since the house closed at the end of the main season on Monday 4 November, the house team and our winter conservation cleaning team of volunteers have been busy working behind closed doors to ‘put the house to bed’.
In any rooms not opening for Christmas, we need to protect all our furniture from dust through the winter months. This helps to prevent our collection items gathering dust whilst we prepare for Christmas and for the winter deep clean, which is when we inspect and clean all of the furniture and rooms we did not complete whilst we were open to visitors.
Protecting Lyme's treasures
For the house team, ‘putting the house to bed’ means first removing dust off the exterior of more robust surfaces on historic furniture, such as wood and stone. Then we protect the furniture from dust by placing a light weight cotton fitted dust cover over the furniture.
If the furniture has a delicate surface such as textiles, leather, metal, painted or gilded surfaces, we protect the surface with white acid free tissue paper before we place the dust cover over it. For delicate objects suchas ceramics, mantel clocks and metal figurines we make a rectangular acid free tissue paper 'hat', which sits over the top of the object.
A history of sleeping houses
This act of putting the house to bed has a tradition going back long before the conservation practices of period houses today. Traditional period houses were ‘put to bed’ by the servants of the family when the family was not in residence. In the case of the Legh family, they would spend the time in London or at one of their other houses in Lancashire.