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Our work in the house at Speke Hall

A view over the Blue Drawing Room at Speke Hall with plush blue chairs and a large gold-framed mirror on the wall behind
The Blue Drawing Room | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Ever wondered why the house at Speke Hall closes over winter? It's the perfect time of year for giving our 26 historic show rooms, nine collection stores, archive, two cellars and 6,000 objects the care and attention they deserve. Read on to find out more about the important work that the team are doing to preserve these special areas of Speke Hall.

Winter clean

The house closes every winter so we can give every inch of this special building a careful clean. It can take over a week to clean each room, so our staff and volunteers must work carefully to ensure that the objects and collections are preserved properly in time for the house’s reopening in early spring.

Beneath your feet

We welcome thousands of visitors to explore the house for most of the year, so cleaning the carpets regularly is an important task. We look for signs of pests such as moths and beetles, whilst removing abrasive grit, as all of these can cause significant damage.

We also inspect the historic floorboards that lie underneath the carpets. If major restorative conservation work is needed, this will need to be scheduled in over the winter with specialists so it can be completed before reopening.

Speke Hall's annual facelift

Every year, we undertake the huge task of giving one exterior wing of the house a facelift. This means erecting scaffolding at a significant cost. We then inspect the Tudor wattle and daub walls for signs of deterioration and re-paint them with specialist paint to keep the house safe from the harsh sea air coming in from the Mersey. It also gives us the chance to clean the many mullioned windows, pane by pane.

Cleaning centuries-old curtains and tapestries

Carefully cleaning Speke Hall’s many historic curtains, tapestries and other textiles is a painstaking task. We use specially designed hoovers and muslin to remove dust and potential pests from the delicate fibres.

Tools of the trade


Pieces of muslin are useful for testing the dust levels around the house. The small squares of material are placed over a vacuum nozzle whilst cleaning furniture, catching the dust that is lifted. This can then be examined by the team. Muslin also helps to save pieces of fragile furniture which might be dislodged when being vacuumed.


A hogs-hair brush is used to clean wood and stable metals. As you move around the house, take note of how much wood is visible and how long it would take to clean with such a small brush.

A pony-hair brush is used to clean a number of items in the house, including ceramics, leather, glass, paper, soft metals and plastics.

Lint free duster

Lint free dusters are used widely across the house in cleaning, including for dusting flat surfaces.


Gloves must be worn when handling any metals, photographic material, glass mirrors, glass chandeliers/vessels, giltwood, furniture, frames and textiles. They’re useful to protect historic pieces from damage by the oils on our hands.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

A row of bells mounted on a dark wooden board on the wall at Speke Hall, Liverpool. Each bell has a plate to indicate which room the bell is connected to.

Speke Hall's collections

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at Speke Hall on the National Trust Collections website.

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