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Our work at East Riddlesden Hall

Volunteers cleaning the collection at East Riddlesden Hall
Volunteers cleaning the collection at East Riddlesden Hall | © Victoria Holland

Discover how staff, volunteers and specialist contractors work together at East Riddlesden Hall to carry out important conservation and cleaning throughout the year. Find out what it takes to keep the house and collection in excellent condition and preserved for future generations to enjoy too.

Celebrating 90 years of the National Trust

2024 marks a big milestone for the estate at East Riddlesden Hall, it has been 90 years since two local brothers stepped in and saved the Hall.

From 1 June you can see the new exhibition exploring the history of the estate and it's strong connections to the community. The Briggs brothers championed the need for green spaces and history, and with help from the local town saved East Riddlesden Hall.

Shifting the dust

Throughout the year, members of the East Riddlesden Hall team squeeze behind furniture, climb up ladders and reach under beds to remove dust from all the nooks and crannies.

Dust builds up quickly in a house like East Riddlesden Hall and it can cause damage by general soiling or by speeding up chemical processes that lead to material breakdown. We always dust with a dry cloth or fine horsehair brush and we never use polish as this leaves a film on the surface of the object.

Every object in the collection gets personal attention and we check its condition against our care plan records to make sure that no damage has been done in the past year.

Caring for the floor

The wooden floors in the house suffer from wear and tear from the 38,000 pairs of shoes that tread the floorboards each year. We try to stop as much gravel and dirt from coming into the house as possible, by using coir mats at the entrance. Research has shown that we need to use 3 metres of this to catch all the dirt.

Every morning we dry mop the floors to remove dust and dirt from the previous day. Doing this in the morning allows for the dust to settle overnight. Each winter we apply traffic wax to the boards to keep them in great condition.

The Hall showing the fireplace and part of the staircase at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire. The fireplace is decorated with thistles and terminal heads, and forms a structural part of the 1640s rebuilding of the east range. The oak furniture is early to mid-seventeenth century.
The Hall with fireplace and part of the staircase | © National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

Sharing the history

Throughout 2023 and 2024 we are working to update the history told throughout the hall.

Starting with the Kitchen Chamber, where we hope to tell some of the stories of the last residents who lived here, the Bailey family.

They lived and farmed the estate at East Riddlesden as tenants until 1934.

Our recent work

Discover some of the recent work completed to help care for the collection.

The Flemish tapestry undergoing conservation work, East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire
The Flemish tapestry undergoing conservation work | © National Trust Images

Uncovering the details

The largest item in our collection is the stunning Flemish tapestry in the Great Hall. Dated from around the 1600's, it is believed to show a scene from the life of Alexander the Great. This was a popular subject for Flemish artists at the time. Made with rich wool and vibrant silk, this tapestry need specialist care to keep it in good condition. During 2022 it was removed from the wall and carefully cleaned by a Textile Conservator with a specialist conservation vacuum cleaner. Several undetectable stitches were sewn into places where the thread was weakening. This care brought the beautiful colours and details of the tapestry to life, and will keep it safe for future generations.

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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 woman and child look closely at herbs in the Herb Garden at East Riddlesden Hall


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

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