Housekeeping Training Blog Post No. 7
As well as considering the conservation of more immediately recognisable objects within National Trust properties such as books, textiles and furniture, the housekeeping study course also covered what could be conceived of as the fabric of many buildings – stonework. This included things like stone floors (often forms the flooring of entrance halls and ground floors) and stone busts (a large number of properties have stone statues and busts). This part of the course was really fun – it’s rare we get the chance to put substances on marble slabs and have a go at trying to remove them! The photos below show a taster of what we got up to.
Sacrificial marble slab where we were taught how to remove different substances, including ash, lipstick, mud, boot polish, olive oil, and red wine (which you do pour white wine over after sponging it up to remove it – it’s not a myth!)
Removing ash from the marble slab
We were also shown how to safely transport and carry a stone bust. Here’s what you do:
The stone bust has a bin which it will travel in, lined with a soft blanket to prevent damage. When the bust is in the bin it is much easier for two people to transport together than if one person was carrying it alone
Putting the bust in the bin, nestled in blankets
Two of the group carrying the bust through the room, having made sure that the route was clear and any obstructions removed
Bust safely transported to the other side of the room and lifted onto a table
A similar technique is used when transporting a stone slab across the room, in a safe manner to protect ourselves and the object. It is upright which makes it easier to handle, and is carefully slid off the table with a blanket for protection, before being placed on the ground upright, resting on some wooden blocks
Stone sculptures in the gardens have protective plastic covers put on them over the winter period to stop deterioration caused by wind, rain, and snow
And that was the end of our housekeeping study days course 2012! We hope that you’ve liked following our progress during the course, and enjoyed getting a view of how the National Trust conservation staff all around the UK are trained to look after the properties and objects in our care. You should recognise us putting these skills into use at Nostell Priory in some of the upcoming blog posts!