This was the second phase of our work at Quarry Bank Mill – and rather different from squeezing into the millworker’s cottage! The elegant home of Samuel and Hannah Greg will soon be on show to visitors after a substantial building project. National Trust staff at Quarry Bank have an astonishing workload, so Hog & Fitch were just the extra hands needed to help the existing staff and volunteer teams meet their project deadlines.
If the worker’s cottage was all about bending down and fitting into cramped corners, this was the opposite – a light, airy space meaning plenty of work from ladders. The builders had done a good job of clearing up but the house still need a thorough top-down clean, particularly removing dust from high-level features such as the servants' bells.
It’s things like moving ladders and vacuum cables around carefully and safely, working around scaffolding and cleaning out fireplaces that take up time, so we were really glad we were free to help. Our extending fleece and goat hair brush proved particularly useful for this job and we even had time to do a bit of extra furniture cleaning and a bonus clean-through in the kitchen at the end of the week.
How satisfying it was to see dust sheets and floor protection removed and watch these graceful and perfectly understated interiors re-emerge. It was a pleasure to work with the National Trust team and hear more about all the exciting developments across the whole Quarry Bank Mill site. We can’t wait to return as visitors once the house is open and enjoy it all at leisure from floor level.
And we rather liked being called 'saviours from the north', too..!
Image captions are at the bottom of the page.
Main header image: cleaning and checking furniture
Images from top: Angela removing dust from the hearth surround; cleaning from the top down - ceilings and walls harbour dust, too (2 images); dust hiding on top of curtain rails and light fittings (2 images); working from the tall ladder to reach the servants' bells in the entrance hall (2 images); the goat hair brush in gentle action in the study; view from the dining room window - see our blog post for more about the views; Margaret cleaning and checking furniture and dealing with some mould inside drawers (2 images); Angela removing dust and grit from fireplaces (4 images); coaxing dust out of the crevices of the longcase clock; buffing the table in the dining room to a satisfying shine (2 images); the house seen from the garden.
All images by Hog & Fitch, reproduced by permission of National Trust