In January when the Castle is closed to the public, mass conservation works are completed to ensure the artefacts in the Castle retain their splendour. The team work through every room in the Castle; from the large fireplaces to small jars, nothing is left out.
General cleaning of the Castle is done all year round, but the new year sees a deep clean. A range of materials are used to clean the Castle, a gentle liquid of purified water, synperonic and white spirit (if needed) – called V&A solution is used as well as cotton wool on satay sticks for the furniture and panelling and paint brushes for the less intricate pieces of furniture.
2019 marks Conservation Officer, Alison Palmer’s 11th year of looking after the Castle and its contents and she gave us an insight into the deep clean:
“We deep clean every January and February mainly because while closed to the public we can thoroughly inspect each individual piece of furniture; we check furniture and other items in the collection for any deterioration and/or damage, and if needed repairs are carried out. It also gives us a chance to completely empty each room and give it a thorough clean, as dust can build up in places that are normally only accessible with the help of scaffolding.
We asked Alison what the best part about the clean is, and what areas are the hardest: “I like seeing a room once the clean has been completed, you can stand back and think wow it looks amazing, it’s very satisfying. The Minstrels Gallery and the Inner Hall balcony are very difficult to clean because they are so intricate, but the worst is the panelling – it can be extremely tedious cleaning miles of identical panels!”.
Cleaning the Castle is a very important task which means that come February, visitors can see all the artefacts in pristine condition.
The Castle reopens on 9th February 2019. Further details on opening times can be found here.