Hidden Charlecote… your chance to get behind the scenes!

During the winter months, when the house is on its reduced opening for its deep clean, we’re looking to run some special tours for our visitors. These tours will show the ‘hidden’ parts of our place. Rooms and areas not normally open through the year. We will be running these tours with members of our volunteer team, however we need more!

Have you a hankering to delve into the past? Does our special place fascinate and excite you? Do you enjoy talking to people? Would you like to lead a tour at Charlecote?

Visitors on a guided tour... Could you lead them? (©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra)

Visitors on a guided tour… Could you lead them?
(©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra)

We’re building up our team of guides and this is a great time to join us!

Don’t be put off!
Don’t be put off if you’re thinking ‘I don’t know enough about the house’ or ‘I haven’t volunteered here before’, that doesn’t matter as training will be provided. The key thing is that you enjoy communicating with people and sharing Charlecote with them. We’ve some training days scheduled for September and October with one of our regional managers. At these training sessions we will put the content of the tours together as a group, everyone will have a chance to influence what goes into the tours and how they are run, and we will also look at what makes a good guided tour.

Go behind the scenes as a tour guide and learn all about the 'Hidden Charlecote'...

Go behind the scenes as a tour guide and learn all about the ‘Hidden Charlecote’…

Get in touch today!
You can read more about this volunteer role by downloading our role profile and submit your volunteer application to us via our website. If you would like an informal chat about the role and what is involved, just get in touch and our volunteer coordinator will be happy to help answer any questions you have.

 

Tour Guide Role Profile by CharlecoteNT

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/275725832/p

 

One of our 'hidden' areas...

One of our ‘hidden’ areas…

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House Elves and the Winter Clean

Sorry for not updating you about our progress with the winter ‘deep’ clean sooner, but as you can imagine we have been very very busy Elves! A lot has happened since Christmas, too much to mention here, so we thought we’d compile a few highlights showing what we’ve been doing into a short video to share with you.

As you can see, a huge amount of care and attention has gone into successfully completing the clean in such a short space of time. We’re now downing brushes and dustsheets in preparation for the house reopening February 14th; but an Elf’s work is never done as we’ll continue to clean and monitor the collection during the open season.

Stay tuned for more updates!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Christmas has arrived at Charlecote.  There are baubles galore, stockings being sewn, candy canes everywhere and even an angel on a litter picker. The festive cheer may seem a little early but in order to decorate the huge tree in the Great Hall and to prepare for the arrival of Father Christmas and his grotto, we’ve had to start early.

Decorating Bust

As Conservation Assistants, this time of year is strange- it almost feels as if we are on our  Christmas holidays! We down tools (well dusters, wax, brushes and vacuums) and devote  ourselves to all things Christmas.
This started on Monday, when we spent the day placing boards, dust sheets and plastic on the  floors. This protects the historic floors from the Christmas trees. Objects which could be  knocked over by the arrival of the trees were also moved, including a couple of heavy busts.

On Tuesday, the Christmas trees arrived and the festive cheer really began as we started to  decorate the house. We carefully removed the dinner set from the dining room table, vacuumed and folded away the table cloth, before decorating the table.Dining Room before and after

By Wednesday we had decorated the Christmas trees, Great Hall, Billiard Room and Dining Room. The furniture is protected from the rough surface of the garlands by a layer of plastic and green velvet. The tree in the Great Hall has so far been the most time consuming task and has involved 4 House Elves (who have a good head for heights), 3 different ladders, 4 strings of lights and a litter pick to be able to place the angel at the top of the tree.

great hall before and after

We have been busy House Elves this week, but we’re by no means finished. Father Christmas is arriving in the Drawing Room next week. We’ve already moved some of the furniture into other rooms in order to protect it as well as to make space for the grotto. Next week we’ll give you an update on the grotto, we can’t wait to get started!

It’s that time of year again…

Winter is quickly approaching. With the days getting shorter and the nights getting colder, we feel like we should be going into hibernation with the rest of the wildlife at Charlecote. But there’s no rest for us house elves as we begin our winter ‘deep clean’ of the house!

A ‘deep clean’ basically allows us to go through each room in the house and clean every inch of it, from the ceiling to the floor and everything else in between. We make sure that each individual object is cared for, and then covered over with a dust sheet or tissue paper ‘hat’ – it feels a bit like we’re tucking them into bed!

So as you can imagine there’s A LOT to do before the house fully reopens again and not a lot of time to do it in, so we decided to get ourselves ahead of schedule by starting a bit earlier. In the past month the house elves have been busy ‘deep cleaning’ upstairs and have finished the Orange Bedroom, the Ebony Dressing Room, and the Ebony Bedroom (nearly!).

We’ve been up ladders dusting paintings:

blogann

We’ve been carefully removing dust from bedspreads:

Very dusty bedspreads from the Ebony Bedroom and Ebony Dressing Room

Very dusty bedspreads from the Ebony Bedroom and Ebony Dressing Room

As well as getting into the nooks and crannies of fenders:blogvic

As you can probably tell, we’ve been removing large amounts of dust from the collection. Although the majority of objects do get cleaned regularly throughout the year, there are some that are either too high for us to reach without erecting scaffolding, or too delicate to be cleaned even once a year. With around 150,000 visitors so far this season, you can definitely tell what needs to be cleaned and the winter gives us a great chance to tackle those dust coated objects – and sneeze a lot!

We’ve got a huge and exciting to-do list for the next few months, including preparations for Charlecote’s Victorian Christmas and the arrival of Father Christmas, so we’ll keep you updated!