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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Chapel Complete!

After many weeks of hard work doing the Deep Clean the Chapel of Saint Mary the Virgin is once again open to the public and back to normal!

The Deep Clean means the team of staff and volunteers clean from as high as we can reach, using long poles to vacuum the walls, working all the way down, finishing with scrubbing the Chapel floors.

The candlesticks that stand on top of the Rood Screen are  objects that can only be cleaned once a year. They are out of the way, so do not suffer from any corrosion due to people touching them, but they do get dusty and are affected by the humidity.

So we brought them down from the Rood Screen, to dust them off with a pony hair paint brush and then remove any corrosion. We do this with a metal cleaner in very minute quantities, gently applying it with wads of cotton. You can see the difference this makes in this picture; the one on the left has been cleaned and the one on the right is still to do.

After we have removed the corrosion we put a protective layer of wax on the candlesticks. This will stop any moisture in the air from reacting with the metal and potentially corroding the candlesticks. Finally they are buffed until the shine with a very soft duster, before being replaced on the Rood Screen.

The same wax we use on metals can also be used on other objects, such as the marble floor that leads up to the altar in the Chancel. The floor is cleaned and then a fine layer of wax is added and buffed up. This increases the floors shine, as well as protecting it from dirt, grit and the effects of people walking across it.

Cleaning the intricate wooden carvings with a hogs hair paint brush was a great opportunity to really study the beautiful details and admire the craftsmanship. Delicate cleaning like this allows us to get into all the nooks of the beautiful carvings, making sure we are doing a really through job of removing cobwebs, dust and debris. 

One of the last jobs to be done during the Deep Clean is to scrub the floor, a huge job and a very good upper arm workout. We use water with a very small amount of mild detergent in, and proper scrubbing brushes. It gives you a taste of the life of a parlour maid and makes me quite glad that I am not one! You can see how much scrubbing we did by how worn down the brush was once the floor was done.

Finally now all the items have been returned to their proper positions the Chapel is looking wonderful and ready to receive visitors again! Now onto the next big project!

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog, I was christened in the Chapel, my family on my father's side having lived on the estate for many years. It was my grandfather who wrote a guide to the Chapel. Thanks for caring for the place. Richard Alcock.