Curveballs and Care of Collections at Chastleton!

Published : Fri 16th Mar Author : National Trust

On Tuesday 6th March ten "Passport to your Future" trainees from all over the country headed to Heelis for “moving to employment” and Housekeeping training. The career development day focused on all important CV writing and how to sell yourself to possible employers- celebrity style! Emma and Sian gave us an insight into what goes on behind the recruitment scenes and secrets on how to make the shortlist. The scariest bit for most was the mock interviews and there was no getting away from the curveball questions.After a hard day at work, we headed off toward scenic cotsworld town Moreton in Marsh to check into our posh “penthouse suites” at the Redesdale Arms Hotel where we were spoilt with jacuzzi baths and complimentary sherry- a taste of the good life!

On Wednesday morning after a full English we headed toward  NT Chastleton, a Jacobean country house built between 107 and 1612 by a prosperous wool merchant as an impressive statement of wealth and power. Shortly after being built the family ran out of money and the house remained essentially unchanged for nearly 400 years as the interiors gradually succumbed to the ravages of time. With virtually no intrusion from the 21st century, this fascinating place exudes an informal and timeless atmosphere in a gloriously unspoilt setting, truly taking a step back in time- dust, cobwebs and all!

The Housekeeping training at Chastleton was presented by NT conservators and began with Light and RH training by Nigel Blades. Light monitoring involved doing spot readings with the hand held Elsec monitor,record keeping and the use of basic controls to reduce light e.g black out blinds, UV filters and blue wool dosimeters. RH training involved monitoring and basic controls also with the Elsec and existing Hanwell Monitoring systems in rooms.

Everybody loves creepy crawlies and us NT lot particularly love getting rid of em.’ Thats where Assistant conservator Catherine Harris came in- IPM or Integrated Pest Management. We got to I.D them bugs, looked at ways of trappin em’ and we were involved in the serious bit of record keeping…to end off we all did the woolly bear dance.

After lunch we got down and dirty with the nitty gritty looking at depth of cleaning in relation to location/visitor numbers/object condition. Identification of material types and related cleaning techniques, planned a House Keeping plan for a room and review of display mechanisms/protective measures/packing and moving techniques.

Republished by kind permission from the NT Passport To Your Future blog (