The big winter clean at Red House

The winter clean at Red House, Kent

Red House closed its doors to the public on the 19th December and re-opens on the 1st March 2017. During this time the house is a hive of activity with essential maintenance and conservation work taking place.

Inside the house a team of conservation staff and volunteers will be hard at work cleaning and inventory checking every item in the house. Every cupboard and drawer is emptied, cleaned and re-packed. Carpets are cleaned, rolled and covered to protect them from dust and the floors of every room are waxed by hand.

Scaffolding is brought in for the rooms with high ceilings so dust and cobwebs can be removed from the beams. This is done painstakingly with suction controlled vacuum cleaners and brushes made from hogs, pony, goat, badger or squirrel hair, depending on the delicacy of the object.

Red House
Conservation brushes at Red House, Kent
Red House

It is this time of year that delicate objects get a rest from light exposure which bleaches colours and can break down the structure of fabrics. Furniture is protected with specially made covers and the shutters are kept closed as much as possible.

Keep up to date through January and February with the progress of the conservation team.

Latest updates

01 Mar 17

Week Seven - Doors open

After two months of hard work our big winter clean comes to a close. During January and February our conservation staff and volunteers have cleaned the house from top to bottom. Red Houses's doors now re-open for visitors. Pay us a visit to find out about other conservation work going on throughout the year.

The hall and settle at Red House

14 Feb 17

Week Five - Measuring light

One of our annual jobs is to collect in our Blue wool dosimeters and send them off to be measured. They contain a strip of blue fabric that deteriorates when exposed to light. The dosimeters allow us to measure the light and calculate how much our collection is exposed to. They also show how damaging light can be to brightly coloured objects such as fabric or watercolours.

Blue wool dosimeters at Red House

07 Feb 17

Week Four - Cupboards and drawers

During the big winter clean at Red House we open all the cupboards and storage areas to check on the condition of the items stored within. We monitor for pest activity as bugs such as silverfish and clothes moths like dark undisturbed areas. Silverfish would happily munch through items made of paper and clothes moths would attack materials including wool and silk.

Open cupboards at Red House, Kent