Christmas may be on everyone’s minds (and the smell of Christmas cake wafting through the house a few weeks ago didn’t help), but the house team are still hard at work putting the house to bed. November has seen us spend a lot of time cleaning, dusting, rolling carpets and checking the objects in our care, but no two days are ever the same. So, what does the house team’s typical day look like during the winter?
In general, we focus on a room at a time. All of our collections are on an online database, so Angie (our housekeeper) and I have spent several days going through the database, checking what should be in each room with what’s actually there. This is a particularly painstaking task when it comes to matching up all the porcelain collections, given we have hundreds of individually-labelled items. Once this is done, the cleaning and wrapping can begin! Many of the decorative items in rooms (porcelain, lamps, photos/small pictures, silverware, curios) need dusting, cleaning, buffing, or silver-dipping, before being wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and stored for the winter. Getting up close and personal with the collections is one of the perks of the job: given how diverse Godinton’s collections are, there are many plenty of interesting items to get distracted by. This process also allows us to check the condition of all our objects, and update our condition reports. It’s important to do this annually as it allows us to see whether the condition of items is deteriorating, and if any damage has occurred over the course of the year. The only minor downside of these processes is that as the further into winter we get, the chillier the house gets – and the more layers you’ll find us in!
Godinton is the proud owner of many beautiful carpets, and in the process of putting a room to bed, these also have to be checked, cleaned, turned (or rolled), and protected against moth damage. General wear to our carpets is expected, but we have to check them meticulously for any unusual, or extensive wear. We turn them annually, so the wear is spread across the carpets as much as possible, rather than concentrated in certain areas. It also allows us to send carpets off for restoration if they need any serious attention or stabilisation.
By no means does this cover all the work done in the house over the winter, but it provides a bit of an overview of the vital work we get up to over the winter months, that enables our collections to be kept in the best possible condition for our visitors in the summer.