Some of the most labour intensive jobs the house team undertake at Nostell are the ones which (thankfully!) are on a rolling schedule and take place every few years. One of these tasks is the cleaning of the ornate plasterwork (which is in almost every room inside Nostell!)
A lot of this work went on in front of the public, with us high on the scaffolding and visitors down below – meaning that it really was extreme conservation in action!
Below is a photo diary of the work that was involved in cleaning the historic plasterwork of the North Staicase and landings.
Boards ready and waiting to be turned into scaffolding
Foam to protect us from the bars when walking underneath the scaffolding
Scaffolding on the North Landing ready for us to clean the high plasterwork
Who’s this handsome fellow?
Plasterwork faces on the ceiling
Eagles feature a lot in and around Nostell, as an eagle was the symbol of the Winn family
This one has rather a large nose!
And this one looks angry!
Piles of equipment ready for cleaning the plasterwork – vacuum cleaning, brushes, smoke sponges…
The first step is to brush vacuum the plaster (gently use a hog’s hair brush to flick dust into the nozzle of a vacuum)
Next step is to use a smoke sponge (made out of vulcanised rubber) to clean the plasterwork
As the smoke sponge gets dirty, we trim it with scissors to get down to to a clean part
If any stains, mottled patches or mould is found, we wash it off gently using cotton buds and a mixture of white spirit, water and washing-up liquid.
The door frames are not forgotten either!
Julie gets stuck in to the brush vacuuming
View from above
After three weeks of hard work, the plasterwork was fully cleaned. And the best part is that it’s five years until the work will be done again!