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.