Curious about Conservation

Drawing room interior with portrait of Mary Anne Disraeli, wife of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli at Hughenden
Published : 20 Apr 2016 Last update : 22 Apr 2016

How do you clean a Meissen sideboard? Hughenden’s Drawing Room will be deep cleaned between Monday 25 April – Friday 13 May. Come along and discover how the house team care for Hughenden's Victorian interiors and unusual collection.

Cleaning methods past and present

Historically servants in large houses would perform a deep clean whenever the owner of the house was away. When the Disraelis were in their London home or travelling, the servants would be able to carry out a thorough deep clean and cover the furniture. Today, Hughenden is open to the public all year round, so the house team carries out the deep clean in front of visitors, providing an opportunity to see how historic interiors are cared for. 

The Drawing Room and its contents will be cleaned from top to bottom, while also documenting the condition of objects and identifying any potential problems. Staff and volunteers will be using special brushes to dust into adapted low suction vacuums. Textiles and ceramics will be carefully cleaned, curtains relaxed and furniture checked for damage. 

Conservation cleaning at Hughenden Manor
A volunteer cleaning green ceramics in Hughenden's garden hall
Conservation cleaning at Hughenden Manor

Conservation Talk

Join a member of the team at 2.15 pm each weekday to find out how conservation cleaning is managed today, and how it compares with the work servants carried out in the past. There will also be displays of housekeeping materials past and present, object highlights and on-going conservation work to watch.