THE NEXT time you’re doing a bit of spring cleaning, spare a thought for the staff and volunteers at the National Trust across Warwickshire, where ‘giving the house a once-over’ can take weeks.
Everyday tasks such cleaning the floor take on a whole new meaning at Charlecote Park, where it takes four volunteers, three full days to wash and polish the marble floor tiles in the Great Hall.
At Baddesley Clinton it takes two people more than two and half hours to vacuum the house, and an hour to just prepare the fire each day.
The spring clean at the houses and mansions in the charity’s guardianship takes time and care, as Julie Marsden, a Conservator at the National Trust explains: “With many of our places now open all year round, the traditional ‘spring clean’ that happened before the start of the season, now takes place throughout the year.
“The importance of the buildings and collections in our care, mean cleaning takes patience, skill and the right tools for the job.
“Even the simple task of dusting needs specialist equipment – a soft pony hair brush is used on ceramics and gilded surfaces, whilst a stiffer hog’s hair brush is used for wooden furniture or plasterwork.
“And brushes are used with a small vacuum cleaner so that dust is removed, not just displaced.”
Whilst the staff and volunteers have traditionally done this important work behind closed doors, the National Trust is now welcoming visitors to see conservation cleaning in action, and discover how the spring clean is helping to protect Warwickshire’s historic buildings for generations to come.
To find out more about behind-the-scenes tours, talks and conservation days at a place near you visit nationaltrust.org.uk/events