Posted: February 16th 2018
by Jo Lewis, Marketing Assistant
Behind the scenes in Holkham Hall, runs a well-oiled machine which keeps the hall looking its best. Each year, Holkham’s team of housekeepers and housemen, undertake a deep spring clean prior to the start of the visitor season. Due to the enormity of the house and complexity of the rooms, the team run the deep clean on a rotating basis, undertaking to clean 4-5 rooms each year. Of course, work never stops in the hall and each room is regularly attended to, but the deep clean sees no nook, corner, ceiling, fixture or fitting untouched by the fair hands of Hall Manager Jon and his team, Aneta, Sonia, Alice, Claire, Rose, Mark and Lewis.
Today, I left the comfort of my office to take a trip over to the hall to see for myself at what the hall team were up to. Going largely unnoticed to the general public this team forms the backbone of the hall and without them, it would look very different from how you and I are used to seeing it.
This year, the deep clean is carried out in the Green State Bedroom, the Green State Closet, the North State Bedroom and Closet and the North State Sitting Room.
The Green State Bedroom is the most important bedroom in the hall; kings, queens and nobility of all ranks have slept in here over the centuries.
The North State Bedroom is dominated by a late Regency four-poster bed, whose canopy incorporates the Prince of Wales’ feathers.
Houseman Mark has played an important role in helping the housekeepers maintain the brass fixtures and fittings, predominantly door and window handles. He has painstakingly cut out templates to surround the fixtures to protect the surrounding wooden frames from being damaged by the Brasso used to polish the handles.
Once the deep clean is complete, the team must prepare for the visitors. One last big job stands in the way before the hall can be opened to the public. This is implemented one week before opening and sees the team meticulously waxing and buffing every wooden floor, along with hiring in an industrial stone scrubber to buff all of the stone flooring, mainly found in the corridors and in the Marble Hall.
Once the visitor season commences on the 25th March, the hall will be open to the public on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays between 10am-4pm. All the furniture will be put back where it belongs and the house will be looking spick and span all thanks to the hall team.
This year’s exhibition in the hall will lead you through the staterooms and you can see for yourself the work that goes into maintaining the house. Find out more about the exhibition here: Treasures and Trophies: The Making of a Gentleman and a Great House.