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The National Trust puts Dunham Massey to bed
11:00am Wednesday 31st October 2012 in News
STAFF and volunteers at Dunham Massey will be demonstrating how they begin putting the hall to bed for the winter next weekend.
The house closes at the end of the season on November 4.
The staff and volunteers will be working on the Stamford Gallery, carefully taking down the precious 19th century curtains in the St Thomas and Blue Chintz bedrooms, as well as removing bed hangings, covering items with bespoke dust covers and starting the winter conservation clean.
Liz Langham, Dunham’s visitor experience manager, said: “The physical wear and tear and exposure to light through the open season, along with build up of dust on fragile, tricky to clean items, such as bed hangings and curtains makes the winter clean a crucial time for the long term survival of many of Dunham’s treasures.
"Traditionally, when Dunham and houses like it were privately owned, the family would travel around to their different country houses and, of course, to London. They would stay in each house for only three or four months at a time, meaning that for most of the year, the furniture and other objects would be covered and stored until the family came home.
"Now open to our members, supporters and the public, Dunham receives around 100,000 visitors through the house each year, which makes Dunham’s excellent standards of cleaning and care all the more necessary.
When we close the hall for the winter it allows us to undertake a full cleaning programme for objects and surfaces, which takes care not to damage by over-cleaning. Slow, careful techniques, soft brushes and non-abrasive polishes are used to clean with the least damage. Carpets are vacuumed and rolled to relax their pile . Furniture and metalwork are cleaned and polished before being shrouded and ‘put to bed’ for the winter. With over 100 rooms, winter is a very busy time for our conservation team ”.
Meanwhile, outside the gardening team will be giving propagation demonstrations and will be on hand to answer any gardening related questions, and If you’ve ever wanted to meet a National Trust ranger and find out what they do, then now’s your chance – Dunham’s rangers will be out chatting to visitors about how they look after the 300 acre deer park and the wider Dunham estate.
While the hall will close on November 4, the rest of the Dunham estate remains open daily throughout the year (closed December 25). You can enjoy the fantastic autumn and early winter colours in the UK’s largest winter garden, or join a daily guided walk through the park with a park guide. Check out the shop for some early Christmas shopping or drop by the Stables Restaurant for a delicious bowl of hot soup or an award winning Dunham cream tea. There are also some great Christmas events coming up in December – go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunhammassey for details.
You can see Dunham being put to bed on November 3 and 4, 12noon - 4pm. Normal admission rates apply.
The hall re-opens for the new season on February 23, 2013.