Behind the scenes during winter

Visitors often ask what the staff do in the winter when the house is closed. To give one example, the building team is currently carrying out ceiling repairs around the bay windows in the Great Chamber. Although the work is very minor and will only take a few days, the House Team got to work beforehand preparing the room, moving furniture to make room for step ladders, covering pictures and storing fragile items etc. out of harms way. Once the work is complete, the furniture will need to be moved again to allow the Trust’s electrician to replace faulty lighting behind the carved frieze. The House Team will then give the room a deep clean before returning everything to its rightful place in time for our visitors in the spring. The Great Chamber is the setting for some of Godinton’s greatest treasure and is home to Captain Toke’s remarkable carved chimney-piece and a long series of frieze figures depicting movements of musketry and pike drill. Each figure represents a movement in the drill, and those performed by the pikemen are still used today by the Honourable Artillery Company on ceremonial occasions. In the centre of the room is a fine example of a George III square pianoforte – we know that Jane Austen was acquainted with the Tokes at Godinton and we like to think that she may have played this instrument if she ever visited – sadly there is no evidence of this!