We’re often asked why Harewood House closes to the public during the winter months. There are in fact, a number of projects that we are unable to complete when the doors are open to the public. This winter is no different! The team are busy delivering a whole host of activities to ensure that the House, grounds and Bird Garden are maintained. Here’s a snippet of what’s going on behind the scenes.
In the House:
Protecting the fabric of Harewood House and the collections we manage takes a huge amount of work and planning. The simplest task like dusting the top of a bookshelf requires scaffolding! Cleaning the floors is another challenge. To remove a delicate carpets from the State Rooms can take up to 10 members of staff over an hour. Only then can our expert housekeepers polish the entire floor. These are all jobs that form part of the winter cleaning schedule which is a rolling programme of work completed during our closed season.
In the Gardens:
Our gardeners are now hard at work preparing the borders for the harsh winter months. On the Terrace, 3 members of staff and 8 volunteers removed 20,000 bedding plants and replaced them with spring bulbs ready for the 2016 season. Heavily scented hyacinth and violas form part of the planting scheme visitors will be able to enjoy.
Caring for our trees is another important aspect of winter maintenance programme in the grounds. Each year a survey is conducted which informs the work that we need to complete. Our specialists consider the condition of the individual trees, their location, hazards, disease, storm damage and any areas of dead wood which may need to be removed. All these aspects are taken into account before tree surgeons climb scale these magnificent plants and make sure they are in the best possible condition.
In the Bird Garden:
The Bird Garden is undergoing a major change this winter with tree clearing and maintenance starting off this exciting project. We are in the process of finalising plans for an enhanced bird collection, aviary repair work and more. Watch this space for updates throughout the winter months!
These are just some of the activities which take place behind the scenes when we are closed. They form a very important function to protect, maintain and develop Harewood House Trust for future generations.