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Winter conservation at Paycocke's House

A volunteer is seen dusting a window at Paycocke's House and Garden in Essex
A volunteer dusting at Paycocke's House in Essex | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

When the doors of Paycocke’s House close for winter, the people who care for the place are hard at work inside. Find out about the important conservation work that goes on behind the scenes.

Checking and cleaning

One of the biggest tasks faced by conservators at Paycocke’s House is removing the dust that has accumulated during the open season. If the dust is left it can cement in place and become a problem to remove. The large amount of wood featured throughout in the form of timbers and panelling, also presents another major task when it comes to waxing and polishing.

The closed period offers the perfect opportunity for taking a closer look at the condition of the building and contents. Conservators look carefully for signs of general deterioration or insect damage, to see if any treatment needs to be planned or action taken to prevent further damage.

Carrying out important project work

Another advantage of having the doors shut for a period over winter is that it provides a good opportunity for larger projects to be undertaken. These are typically rewiring and building conservation work that affect large areas of the house, tasks that can’t easily be carried out while visitors are enjoying the place.

However, when the doors are open, this type of work is made accessible and safe for visitors to take the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes.

How to get involved

Keeping Paycocke’s House in pristine condition is an ongoing challenge and volunteers play a big role throughout the year. If you would like to be part of the Paycocke’s story, visit the volunteering page.

A close view of the windows and the plasterwork on the exterior of Paycocke's House, Colchester, Essex

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