Posted: January 15th 2021
If you’ve ever been on a cellar tour of Holkham you will have come across our wood cellar, as well as many other fascinating chambers along the warren of hidden corridors. We often describe our cellar as the Hall’s secret heart; for behind the scenes and down below, each of the chambers in the cellar had - and some still have - a role in keeping the Hall running and working perfectly. From the furnace room below the Old Kitchen, the salting and slate rooms and early ‘cold room’ technologies, to the old laundry, bakery, and boiler rooms.
Whilst boilers and heating systems have been replaced and updated and cold rooms replaced by refrigerators, one room which has stood the test of time is the wood cellar. The traditional tasks surrounding this particular chamber have been carried out for hundreds of years.
Whilst the Hall is closed for the season, the team has been working hard behind the scenes on a deep clean, ensuring the staterooms are sparkling and cellars organised ready for a busy year ahead (we hope).
Houseman Ryan recently had the task of sorting, tidying and cleaning up the wood cellar. From his before and after pictures, we’d say it was a job very well done!
The wood, which is predominantly Ilex, Oak and Ash from the estate, is processed into firewood logs and delivered to the Hall by our forestry team. The logs go down a chute from outside of the Hall straight into the cellar where the housemen neatly stack it. The wood continues to season until it’s ready to use in the Hall’s many fireplaces.
You may have also noticed a pile of stacked willow - this wood previously made up the hazel arbour in the Walled Garden which sadly had come to the end of its life and had been dismantled. Not wanting it to go to waste, Ryan brought the hazel down from the garden to the wood store for it to dry out and be repurposed as kindling.