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Conservation cleaning plans for Blackwell the Arts & Crafts House and Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts, 2016

Hog & Fitch's report assessed the current position with conservation cleaning routines for historic interiors and contents at these two very different historic sites in the Lakeland Arts portfolio. This included talking to the curatorial and cleaning teams, testing cleaning times for ourselves at each interior, then devising plans tailored to each site.

For any heritage organisation, but particularly such a busy one, where staff work across several diverse sites, a conservation cleaning plan is absolutely essential. It ensures that the basics are covered to prevent damaging dust aund dirt building up and to achieve the best possible presentation for visitors. Crucially, it also avoids the common pitfall of over-cleaning the same fragile objects while others are neglected.

At Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House, we were planning for the routine care of iconic panelling, tiles, important floors and significant Arts & Crafts furniture. At Abbot Hall Art Gallery, it was all about elegant plasterwork, gilded picture frames, Gillows furniture and textile wall and curtain fabrics.

Hog & Fitch devised a programme for routine daily, weekly and monthly conservation cleaning. This was combined with a longer term plan for in-depth conservation cleaning projects to ensure that all work can be achieved on a cyclical basis.

A plan only works if it is monitored and adjusted over time. That's why keeping records of conservation cleaning work is so important. With this in mind, we also provided bespoke forms to enable Lakeland Arts to record routines quickly and efficiently without having to waste precious staff time on making lengthy notes.

Images and acknowledgements

Main header image: Angela cleaning the ceiling of Blackwell Main Hall (M Reid/Lakeland Arts)

Main page from top: Bespoke cleaning monitoring sheet designed for quick record keeping; Angela and Margaret working on the cleaning plan in the Saloon at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal; Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House Dining Room, showing variety of contents and materials; Abbot Hall Dining Room; detail of Abbot Hall Dining Room fireplace; detail of chandelier in Abbot Hall Saloon; variety of surfaces and materials in Blackwell's Main Hall; detail of fragile painted surfaces in Blackwell's iconic White Drawing Room; looking down the Corridor towards the White Drawing Room, Blackwell; detail of glass at Blackwell; detail of carving in Blackwell's Dining Room

All photos other than header image by Hog & Fitch, reproduced courtesy of Lakeland Arts