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Churches are hard enough to keep clean, even in the best of circumstances. High ceilings, dark corners and fragile historic features all bring serious challenges. Add a major building project on top of that and you can find a seemingly insurmountable task on your hands.

These were the circumstances that brought Hog & Fitch to the historic and much-loved parish church of St Michael and All Angels in Addingham. An impressive building project had just come to a close, but had left the inevitable legacy of dust behind it.

We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier and more tranquil place to spend ten happy days working our way from roof beams to carpet edges – although the prospect of a double christening just three days into the clean brought a certain urgency.

Spiders were rehoused and the ceiling cleared of the festoons they had created during the building project (our long pole really helped with that). As usual, Hog & Fitch worked from the top down, removing dust from walls, high fittings and architectural features to stop it circulating. The space started to feel crisper – always a good sign.

Working our way down, we carefully, carefully lifted the cobwebs from the stained glass windows and fragile stonework around them. We took pride in cleaning the memorials around the walls. These can sometimes get a bit ‘lost’ and disappear into the fabric of the building, so it’s good to give them some dedicated attention.

No corner was left uninvestigated. We chased the debris out from behind pipes and furniture. While cleaning, we were also checking for evidence of insect infestation – dark, warm, hard-to-reach corners by pipes and under carpets are prime breeding grounds for moth.

Cleaning the outside of the organ was particularly rewarding – it’s hardly a task that the leaning team has time to tackle every day. Our diligence was rewarded by the discovery of some interesting grafitti in a hidden corner.

Over the course of ten days, Hog & Fitch’s trademark thorough and detailed approach paid off. The space looked better, then it started to smell better – and that’s the key. It only happens if you get everywhere, into every pocket of dust.

We felt privileged to spend ten happy days getting to know a very special place. But we were particularly pleased to get such positive feedback from the congregation.

This is beautifully cared-for building. The building work has set it up for a safer long term future – and our conservation clean will make it easier for the regular cleaning teams to carry on caring for it.

IMAGES , TESTIMONIAL AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

'The Church looks wonderful. Thank you'

Churchwarden, St Michael and All Angels, Addingham

All images by Hog & Fitch, with permission of the Church of St Michael and All Angels, Addingham From top: St Michael's in winter weather, having benefited from a substantial conservation building project that will ensure its future safety (3 images); building and general dust that had built up in awkward to reach areas during the project; removing high level cobwebs at the start of the top-down clean; carefully removing dust and webs from windows, with due attention to some tricky environmental conditions (2 images); smaller objects required dust removal as well as the main building fabric (2 images); the tranquil rural setting becomes visible again as windows are cleaned; stone memorial during cleaning; working on the pews and choir stalls to ensure that all dust was removed - including right underneath (3 images); the organ before, during and after cleaning (3 images); post cleaning images of a dust-free building ready for Christmas (2 images)