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Conservation work at Powis Castle

Sign highlighting curtain conservation work at Powis Castle
Curtain conservation work at Powis Castle, Wales | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Looking after a 13th century castle is no easy task, which is why we have a dedicated in-house team committed to caring for the castle and collection. From tapestries and tables, paintings and porcelain, to flooring and furniture, every inch is protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

What it takes to care for a castle

On any given day you could find the Collections and House team dusting historic paintings, measuring light levels or hoovering carpets, to name just a few important conservational tasks.

No detail goes unnoticed, the team keep an eye on everything from the environmental conditions in a room, to signs of wear and tear. They keep accurate records of items we look after and work together seamlessly to ensure we're fulfilling our duty of caring for the castle and collection.

Hands with gloves handling the Book of Hours at Powis Castle, Wales
Caring for the historic Book of Hours at Powis Castle, Wales | © National Trust/Lucie Andrews

Steady hands

Eleanor Percy's Book of Hours is one of the most significant books in the National Trust's care. Although it's kept in a secure, glass cabinet, we sometimes have to move it as part of a new exhibition or display. It requires a gloved, steady hand to ensure the delicate pages, writing and artwork aren't affected and to minimise the number of times the book is opened, every page has now been digitised.

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Ongoing conservation projects

Built in the 13th century and home to valuable objects from all over the world, a great deal of care and attention is given to the castle and its precious collection. We carry out specialist conservation projects throughout the year, and this can be anything from cleaning every page in a book to restoring a statue back to its original form.

The marble floor in the Grand Hall

The marble floor in the Grand Hall is undergoing significant restoriation work for six weeks from 6 February 2023. Over years of use and with hot water pipes running underneath, some of the marble tiles have moved. Some have lifted and some are cracked, so it's time to restore the area.

We're working with experts from Cliveden Conservation to remove all of the tiles, relay the underfloor, repair damaged tiles and then relay them all. When lifting each tile, the conservators will record each one, label it and safely store them.

Black and white marble floor in the entrance of Powis Castle, Wales
Black and white marble floor in the entrance of Powis Castle, Wales | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The most important part of the work, that will ensure the tiles can stay where they are for many more years to come, is the addition of an expansion joint around the edge of the floor. This will allow the tiles to expand and contract without lifting or cracking.

How will the work affect my visit?

The work in this inital phase will be carried out on the first section of the marble floor, inbetween the Smoking Room and the State Dining Room. Access to the castle for six weeks from 6 February will only be slightly different. You'll still acess the entrance via stone steps from the courtyard, but carry on through a smaller courtyard and enter the castle via the State Dining Room.

Previous conservation projects

Conservation of the Fame and Pegasus statue, Powis Castle, Wales
Conservation of the Fame and Pegasus statue, Powis Castle, Wales | © National Trust/Rupert Harris Conservation

Fame and Pegasus

The Fame and Pegasus statue in the courtyard was expertly cleaned to remove a chipped layer of paint and return the statue to its natural lead surface. We worked with Rupert Harris Conservation to ensure the statue was appropriately cared for whilst carrying out this work, minimising any damage to the structure.

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Get involved

Your support is vital to ensure the important conservational work we carry out at Powis Castle and Garden can continue. Whether that's through membership, spending pennies in the shop or cafe, or volunteering with us - without you, we simply couldn't play our part in the castle's journey.

Volunteering opportunities

Our volunteers are some of our biggest supporters. When you choose to volunteer at Powis Castle and Garden, opportuntities to help in other areas often arise. For example, some of our Castle Hosts have a keen interest in book conservation, and so when the time comes to dust the books in the Library, we're always grateful for the extra helping hands.

Find out more about volunteering here.

Wide shot of two volunteers walking up a hillside from left to right with blue sky behind

Donate to make a difference

Your support is essential to help us look after nature, beauty and history. Make a donation today, and together we can protect precious places for everyone, forever.

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View of the East Front at Powis Castle and Garden, Wales

History of Powis Castle 

Powis is a Welsh castle built by a Welsh prince, Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn (c1252). It survived wars and division to become one of the most prominent castles in Wales.

Close up detail of a Pietra Dura (hardstone) table top made around 1600 on display in the Long Gallery at Powis Castle in Wales, showing different coloured inlaid stone garlands and swags surrounding a bird

The collection at Powis Castle 

Visit the castle and discover more about the global collections at Powis, including statues, furniture and textiles from Europe, India and East Asia.

Volunteers looking at the Roman Pietra Dura Table

Volunteering at Powis Castle and Garden 

Looking for a great way to spend your spare time, meet new people, and make a difference? Find out more about volunteering opportunities at Powis Castle in Wales.