Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Cleaning - at Basildon

As you know I love all things historic and part of that is being interested in how objects are cared for and cleaned.

Everything in a National Trust property is very carefully cared for and cleaned according to the individual objects needs.  For example, carpets that visitors walk across are vacuumed every single day, but some things may only be cleaned once every few years.

It all depends on how an object will be affected by being cleaned - or not.

One of the objects that is only cleaned very occasionally at Basildon Park is the chandelier in the Octagon Room.  I have only seen it being cleaned once since I have worked there - I am now in my fifth year - and the last time this was done was actually last year.

I realised that I hadn't shared this with you, so although this post is some months late, if you have visited you will have seen a lovely bright sparkly chandelier.


First of all the furniture in the area of the chandelier has to be moved so that the fixture can be accessed and worked on and of course to make sure that nothing gets damaged.


A scaffold is erected as that is the safest way to get up and down, no hanging off ladders here!  Each of the drops has to be removed and this has to be done very carefully to ensure that the fixture does not become unbalanced.


There are an awful lot of crystal drops on this chandelier as you can see.  They look rather grey because the light was rather dark, but also because they were still a little grubby at this stage.


You can see just how many there are.  It is very important to keep a record of what pieces came from where so that they can all be put back in the right places.  They are washed with a little cotton bud and then dried before being ready to hang up again.


Once it is all back together again you can see how bright and beautiful this chandelier looks in the room.  It really makes a great statement and is a wonderful sight!


So although this will not be cleaned again for some time, we keep on cleaning every day to make sure that everything is in the best possible condition and is well cared for.

Amy

41 comments:

  1. Wow. That is quite amazing. I've never really thought about it before. That's some job!

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  2. That's very interesting ! At home, no such a chandelier :-))))) ... ouf !!!

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  3. Wow, it's gorgeous. It's lovely to see what good care the National Trust takes of all of its amazing things. And fascinating to see the process behind cleaning the chandelier. I saw a programme on (I think) Buckingham Palace a while back, and they have a lowering mechanism now on two of their enormous chandeliers so that they can be lowered down to a couple of inches above the floor - quite brilliant. Do you remember that scene with the chandeliers in Only Fools and Horses? It did remind me of that! CJ xx

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  4. Fascinating. I don't think we really appreciate all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. What a job. So many crystal pieces. Not sure I'd have the nerve to clean it, nor the patience. It look beautiful in the last photo. well worth it.

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  6. Can you come and clean my house please!

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  7. What a stunning chandelier, Amy. It must look wonderful when freshly cleaned. Threading it back up again must be quite a challenge for somebody! xx

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  8. A very impressive chandelier, amazing how much work goes into cleaning one.

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  9. I'm glad I don't have a chandelier! :o)

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  10. Thank you for showing us the time-consuming process of cleaning one chandelier. No wonder it's done only every few years! It looks wonderful when back in place, all clean and sparkling.

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  11. My parents have a chandelier - about a 20th the size of this one! I don't think they've ever cleaned it because it would take too long...can't even imagine this! How amazing. Thank you for sharing :)

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  12. I'm with CJ, this post reminded me of the Only Fools and Horses episode. There's such a lot of work which goes in to keeping these houses going, it's a good job there's lots of people on hand to help.

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  13. Wow! That looks a real labour of love! It is so sparkly when clean though.

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  14. What a gorgeous chandelier......and what an enormous task to clean it! It is one of those jobs that has to be slow and painstaking.....and then just look at the end result.......so beautiful and sparkling!
    Wishing you a lovely week, Amy.
    Helen xox

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  15. Quite a job, I need to clean some of my hanging lamps, but they're behind the baseboard and blinds.

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  16. I can see that this is quite a task! So many crystals, and then putting them all back where they need to go. It looks beautiful!

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  17. Wow! That is amazing. Such a tedious job. It sure is beautiful all lit up and sparkling clean!

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  18. With a fine tooth comb me mum would say ! Very interesting things that make ya go HMM ! cool ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  19. Not the way it was done in Only Fools and Horses!!
    Jane x

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  20. I've had chandeliers before that were made of those little teardrops, and they are awful to keep bright and shiny. Great that they can be cared for there.

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  21. Wow! I'd be terrified of taking it apart then not being able to get it back together again! It looks stunning for a good clean though. X

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  22. Wow! I guess I'll say I'm very happy I don't have a giant chandelier!! What a time consuming process - but with tremendous results! xo

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  23. That would be quite a job to do Amy. I don't think I'd want to be in charge of the chandeliers. It is a gorgeous one though and I'm sure keeping it sparkling is an important task.

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  24. Simply amazing! I'm glad they take such good care of these beautiful treasures.

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  25. So much behind the scenes work goes into it all, doesn't it? Amazing xx

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  26. It looks so sparkly, all clean and shiny. Glad I haven't got one at home! :-)

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  27. I love listening to all the things you have to say about the beautiful place your work. I bet you never have a dull day walking around that gorgeous place.
    Meredith

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  28. When Heidi was three she was fixated with watching a NT volunteer dusting a massive shell collection with a teeny paint brush at Cragside in the North East. She still talks about it! Check out my post today Amy you inspired me to write it. Jo x

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  29. It is so lovely hanging from that beautiful ceiling! A true treasure! xo Karen

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  30. That is a beautiful chandelier, but I really like the ceiling medallion. WOW!

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  31. It is so beautiful! And I can only imagine how long it takes to remove all of those pieces and get them back in the right spot! My goodness! I have always wondered how they were cared for as I have a tiny chandelier with crystals and shhhh don't tell anyone but it hasn't been cleaned since I got it 3 years ago...think it's time! Happy week you! Nicole xoxo

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  32. I've been looking at my mini-chandelier from Laura Ashley this week and wondering how to clean it so this is a very timely post. I'm so jealous of you working for the NT - that's a dream job! Judy.

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  33. What painstaking and delicate work that is - someone with patience and firm but delicate fingers would be needed to do that job, I suppose once started it has to be finished but the final result is stunning:)

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  34. It's so beautiful. This is one of the things I love about The National Trust most, the way they take such good care of things. I always worry about that scene in Only Fools and Horses though when I see a chandelier ha! X

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  35. I never thought they would remove the crystals for cleaning !! I clean my chandeliers with a damp cloth (water and ammonia mixture), but with the crystal drops on the chandelier... That is a lot of work, removing crystal drops... plus the risk of breaking drops...

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  36. Wow. How long does it take to get them reassembled? Now you've embarrassed/motivated me to go clean our light fixtures. :) They REALLY need it.

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  37. Such a stunning chandelier and such an intricate cleaning process. With my track record, best not ask me to assist!

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  38. Good-ness! It's beautiful, but what a chore!

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  39. Stunning and what dedication to the maintenance of such important items.

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  40. It sounds like a sort of fairy tale punishment, cleaning the chandelier droplets with a cotton bud! Like Cinderella seperating the peas and lentils! Looks stunning though! X

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