Protecting the collection at Tredegar House

The fireplace in the Gilt Room at Tredegar House

Preserving and protecting 500 years of Tredegar House heritage is essential to our day to day operations. In order to carry out our roof repairs safely we have taken significant steps to ensure no damage is done to the House or its collection over the next 12 months.

Preserving and protecting 500 years of Tredegar House heritage is essential to our day to day operations. In order to carry out our roof repairs safely we have taken significant steps to ensure no damage is done to the House or its collection over the next 12 months.  

The conservation team and their army of volunteers have spent months carefully packing and protecting the historic collection in the attic rooms along the 17th-century front to ensure they are not in harm’s way during our year of roof repairs.

By removing all collection items from these areas, space has also been freed up to allow Ellis and Co. and their sub-contractors the access they will need to repair the dormer windows later in the year.

The collection has been packed away to allow dormer window repairs to go ahead
One of the dormer windows to be repaired at Tredegar House

The winter months have been dedicated to designing, building and installing fireplace protection throughout the House. As part of the roof works we will also be restoring five chimneys found along the front façade. A total of 14 fireplaces needed protecting from falling rubble and dust including those in the New Hall, the Brown Room, the New Parlour, the King’s Room and the Best Chamber.

Each fireplace has had to be completely padded on the inside using acid free tissue, polyester wadding and corrugated plastic boards to ensure the delicate ironwork and ceramic decorations, such as purple Delft Chimney tiles in the Best Chamber, do not get damaged from dust or tumbling debris. 

Acid free tissue is used to protect the cast iron fireplace grates
Acid free tissue gets wrapped around the grate of a fireplace

Project Conservator Clare Turgoose then worked with Joiner Nigel Hunt to design and build giant wooden cases to block or cover the fireplaces. This precautionary protection will ensure little to no dust will escape into the House, as well as avoiding any damage from larger rubble falling during the works.

Protection encases the entire fireplace in the New Hall
Fireplace protection in the New Hall at Tredegar House

Hidden history

When undertaking large scale conservation such as our Lifting the Lid project it was inevitable that we would find something new to record.

When surveying the fireplaces, Clare stumbled across some old chalk graffiti from when Tredegar House was a school. The names of Helen, Kathleen and Anne are clearly visible in the fireplace of the King’s Room. This particular room would have been used as a classroom back in 1972 when the pupils appear to have left their mark.

Pupils have chalked their names inside the fireplace of the King's Room
Graffiti in the King's Room fireplace at Tredegar House