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Our work in the castle at Croft

A man and child playing the piano at Croft Castle, Herefordshire
Visitors playing the piano at Croft Castle, Herefordshire | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Preserving the castle at Croft is an ongoing endeavour for staff and volunteers. From everyday cleaning to larger conservation and restoration projects, find out how the house team are caring for the castle and its historic collection.

Conserving the castle chimneys

In September 2018, a large conservation project saw 23 castle chimneys swept, capped and repaired. Part of the project undertaken by Volcanic Chimney Company saw stone/concrete slabs with stainless steel mesh placed on top of the chimneys and an inspection and ventilation plate was installed.

This work ensured that no further debris could fall down the chimneys and that they are sufficiently well ventilated to prevent any deterioration of the flues. This means the chimneys will be well protected for the future.

Winter cleans

While our doors are closed over the winter, the castle isn’t quiet. In fact, our house team and winter clean volunteers work hard behind the scenes to give the castle a thorough clean. From cleaning the upper parts of the rooms using high ladders, to cleaning carpets and individual parts of the collection everything is cleaned meticulously from top to bottom.

Each item in the collection has a condition report that tells us what an object is made from, what areas of damage it has and how to clean it. These are updated every year as each object has the equivalent of an MOT. We inspect for environmental damage caused by dust, insect pests and light.

A close up of a conservation assistant undertaking mould cleaning on a book with a brush at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
Each winter everything at Croft Castle is meticulously cleaned | © National Trust/Ellen Winton

Conserving the piano

Music is important to us at Croft Castle, and the Blüthner piano in the Saloon really brings the house to life. The piano was manufactured by Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik of Liepzig, Germany, in the late 1920s in mahogany and walnut veneer. It was purchased from Harrods department store in 1930.

After years of being played by hundreds of visitors it was in decline and needed attention. In 2016, it was returned to the manufacturer to have a leg repaired. In 2018, our conservator decided that it was in poor condition with steady deterioration. It was in urgent need of treatment.

In the two months that it was away, the strings, soundboard, felts, guide pins, damper guide, wires, heads, cloths and frame were all cleaned.

The piano is now stable and playable and we hope it will delight visitors for many years to come.

Recording the past

Over three years the stories of people who lived and worked at Croft during the twentieth-century were digitally recorded for prosperity. All of these stories form a permanent record of Croft's history and in conjunction with the British Library, are collated and held for the whole nation.

Extracts from these recordings can be heard on the History of Croft Castle page.

Thank you

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

The East, or Entrance, front of Croft Castle, Herefordshire


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