Putting the house to bed
November is when we begin important conservation work. We'll be condition checking and cleaning the both the content and fabric of the Messel Family Rooms.
Conservation work in the Book Room
The tiny book room manages to cram in a surprising 1,101 books, mostly on literature and gardening. Over time the ceiling has cracked and is now in urgent need of repair. To do this we'll need to remove all the room contents and protect the fittings that can’t be removed before we start work.
Even the curtains will be taken down which will give us the ideal opportunity to closely examine them and be repaired, if necessary. Blackout curtains will be put up so that when the curtains are rehung they will be protected. Light is a major factor in the deterioraton of their condition and blackout curtains will prolong their life.
The bookshelves will also be having some special treatment with the span of each shelf being made shorter to prevent books from being squashed where the shelves sag. The books themselves will be packed away while the ceiling is repaired and when the time comes to put them back on their shelves, they'll have ‘book shoes’ inserted to help conserve them. As a charity the National Trust receives no statutory funding and relies on supporter's generosity to help us look after Nymans with projects like these. Work starts on the 1 November.
Slides from Harold Comber's plant hunting trip of the 1930s.
This winter the house team and garden volunteers have been working on a project to copy historic slides and negatives for our Head Gardener, Stephen Herrington. The negatives were produced from photographs taken by Harold Comber, the son of Nymans Head Gardener James, on his plant hunting trip to Tasmania in the 1930s. Stephen is recreating the trip in January and will be using prints from the original negatives to help him retrace Harold's footsteps.
Harold Comber also produced slides of the places he visited and the plants he collected. Following his visit he used the slides in giving talks about his trip and Stephen will be doing the same.
Paper hats & polish tours
We will be opening our doors on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11:30am for our ‘Paper Hats and Polish’ tours. These tours are free of charge and limited to six spaces. Tickets are available from reception. Each tour will show what we're working on in the showrooms, giving a small insight into the work we do. You'll still be able to visit the garden, woods and gallery right through the winter.
New statue covers
If you've visited recently you may have noticed that our garden statues have new covers for the winter months. This is when our statues are at their most vulnerable to weather damage and, with the hard frosts and snowfalls of recent days, a decent statue cover is essential. Each cover is fleece lined and designed to fit the statue beneath it. The Nymans Needlework Guild - a group of Nymans volunteers who meet regularly and follow in the footsteps of the original Guild set up by Maud Messel - will applique designs onto the statue covers, giving a hint of the object that lies beneath.