SECRETARY’S REPORT

Chairman Peter Staples opened the third Open Meeting of the season by welcoming the attendees and in particular the lady guests in the audience on what was St. Valentine’s Day!! John Tyreman was also welcomed back after a long absence. Three apologies had been received prior to the meeting.

Today’s Speaker Mr Terry Frazier has been one of our regular Speakers in recent years and the subject of this discourse was to be “Putting The House To Bed: Conservation And Housekeeping In The National Trust”. Backed up by a comprehensive slide show he started with some history of the National Trust which was formed in 1895 and now owns three hundred historical houses and is in need of constantly seeking to raise large sums of money for restoration and maintenance. National Trust properties are generally closed down in winter and open to the public from March onwards.

His talk focussed on the following areas:

–establishing causes of deterioration.

–preventative conservation.

–more radical conservation or restoration.

The problems confronted by the National Trust and its Volunteers are the effect of light (damage and fading); humidity (under or over); damage from feet and hands: mechanical issues; dust; incorrect use of proprietary cleaning products and insects (wood worm and carpet beetles).

Accompanied by slides from rooms in National Trust properties we were shown the before and after impact of various restored items therein. Terry also advised how the various problems were addressed including keeping humidity in the 50/60% range; use of matting and blinds to minimise dust, dirt and light damage; the use of barriers to create distance and again limit dust issues and interestingly allowing mechanical objects to remain inert and enhance preservation. Use of specialist restorers was looked at as was the range and variety of dusting and polishing for different items.

What came across quite strongly was both the professionalism and planning schedules applied to restoration and maintenance issues by the army of volunteers and others to the vast range of objects in their care including all types of furnishings, metal items, wood, ceramics, art work and books. The use of modern technology in the many processes was also highlighted.

A variety of questions and comments were put to the Speaker at the end of the morning.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Mike South on behalf of the forty member attendees and eleven lady guests— a record number for both an Open and any meeting!!

Before closing the proceedings the Chairman advised of a Harrogate Archaeological Society talk at Harlow Hill Methodist Church on Saturday March 4th 2.30p.m.–4p.m. by Marion Jefferies entitled ” Yorkshire Women At War: The Story Of Women’s Land Army Hostels Including the Beckwithshaw Hostel”.

 

NEIL RAMSHAW   SECRETARY

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