Holly Kirby, a National Trust curator at Attingham Park, has kindly explained what essential work is currently being done in the House during the Covid-19 closures. Usually, the Easter period is a very busy one at Attingham Park, but at the moment Holly works alone in large empty rooms protecting the textiles.
Here is Holly in a 'selfie' taken in the Sultana Room at Attingham Park
This is what Holly’s working life is like at the moment:
We have been cutting down on the number of staff in on any one day and working a distance apart to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. We are fortunate that Attingham is large enough that we can easily find separate areas to work in! My typical week involves 2-3 days taking care of the collection at Attingham and the rest of my work is done from home.
The closed Drawing-Room
We are working through each room giving the items a deep clean and condition check. We do things like vacuuming textiles, waxing furniture and dusting paintings from the orange scaffolding you can see in the Picture Gallery photo.
The Picture Gallery
Then we cover each item to protect it from dust whilst we are closed. It brought back memories getting out the gingham dust sheets and making acid-free paper ‘hats’ to cover collection items. Last time we did this was in 2012. As we’ve been open longer in winter it hasn’t been necessary to close the house down properly for a while. Many of the gingham covers have been specially shaped to fit specific items of furniture and when they’re in place it looks like everything has been spread with jolly picnic cloths!
The Dining Room table looks spooky with items covered in white paper – it reminds me of Miss Havisham’s wedding feast!
The dining-room looking like Miss Havisham's wedding feast
We would like to thank Holly for kindly sending the account of her working day along with these wonderful photos. I'm sure that you all, like us, can't wait to be able to visit National Trust properties again.