Deep clean during the winter months

Conservation cleaning being carried out to woodwork at Lyme, Cheshire

The house is closed for the winter, re-opening on Saturday 15 February. But that doesn't mean we are putting our feet up! The winter conservation cleaning team of staff and volunteers have been busy working behind closed doors. Find out what they have been up to.

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.

A fitted dust sheet is used to protect this settee
A white sheet with an orange tag covers a piece of furniture
A fitted dust sheet is used to protect this settee


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.

The ghostly white shapes of covered furniture in the Yellow Bedroom Suite
A row of pieces of furniture covered in white dustsheets, around a four-poster bed with yellow hangings
The ghostly white shapes of covered furniture in the Yellow Bedroom Suite