Winter cleaning in the house at Chartwell
Closing the house over winter gives us full, unrestricted access to each of the rooms, allowing us to go through each in the depth and detail that they need. Read about the conservation work that’s carried out during this time.
Why is the house closed over winter?
Maintaining the Churchill family’s home as they wished it to be seen is a balancing act between sharing the stories of the house that the Churchill family loved, whilst maintaining museum-level care of the objects and interiors within it.
How long does it take to clean each room?
The house team spend roughly a week in each room of the house over this period, going through it from top to bottom. This means a full deep clean and condition checks of every single item in the house, from skirting boards to chandeliers. A full inventory check of the whole house is also completed as part of this process.
Keeping environmental conditions stable is vital to safeguard the collection against everything from cracks in furniture to management of pests. During closure, humidity and temperature levels can be managed throughout the house as we keep the doors and windows closed. We can also black-out rooms, only lighting the spaces we need to access, which helps us to prevent light damage.
Sending items away
Closure also gives us the time to assess whether to send certain items off site for necessary conservation work or loans to other museums and institutions around the world.
Repairs and maintenance
A lot of the general checks and maintenance can happen in the winter too dealing with minor building repairs, maintaining decoration and servicing systems in the house that would not be safe to do whilst open.
Dust like you mean it
Dust can be destructive; not only does it make our collections dirty, but dust can speed up the chemical processes that lead to deterioration in our items.
During our winter deep clean the team gets deep into all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies to eliminate the dust built up by opening the house to visitors each year. It's a time-consuming process, but a vital one.
Book and textile cleaning
One area that gets special attention is the library where over 4,000 books are taken out and dusted individually.
The same care and attention is also shown to the textiles with a hoover carefully held under the brush to catch any dust before it settles.
Careful chandelier cleaning
Cleaning the many chandeliers hanging at Chartwell is no mean feat. Each chandelier is carefully taken down and taken apart piece by piece so that each crystal and link can be individually cleaned to perfection.
A cotton bud is gently swiped across each piece to ensure that no dust remains in any nook or crevice.
There are thousands of significant collection items at Chartwell, each with their own story to tell. We’ve picked some highlights, including Churchill’s Nobel Prize and speech box
Explore the beloved home of one of Britain's greatest politicians, Sir Winston Churchill. The house has many treasures and provides an intimate portrait of the Churchill family.
Discover more about the extraordinary life of Sir Winston Churchill in this permanent exhibition at Chartwell, including five must-see items from the curator.
The Trust’s story at Chartwell began whilst Winston Churchill and his family were still in residence. Discover how we helped to preserve a significant piece of British history.
Discover more about Churchill’s Chartwell appeal, a £7.1 million project to acquire over 1,000 of Churchill’s personal belongings which now have a permanent home at Chartwell.
A guided house highlights tour is great way to discover more about Chartwell’s stories. Choose from four different themes focusing on specific elements of Chartwell’s history.