AS THE house is now closed for the winter season, the House Steward Jackie Waters and a team of wonderful volunteers are busy at work preparing for the annual deep clean - this year we’re focussing on the floors.

The protection of floors against damage from daily use was a high priority in historic housekeeping.

As floors were subject to heavy use, housekeeping manuals from the 18th and 19th century provide numerous tips and techniques for cleaning them - one eighteenth-century household even admitted that the dining room floor was deliberately stained with soot and beer to hide the dirt!

The wooden floors at East Riddlesden Hall suffer from wear and tear and abrasion from not only the passing of over 37,000 pairs of feet, but also from having to support the heavy oak furniture.

Wooden floors remain attractive and functional for an indefinite period of time but will deteriorate rapidly when neglected.

When the house is open to visitors, the floors are vacuumed and dry mopped daily before opening – leaving the cleaning until morning allows more dust to settle overnight.

This winter we’re emptying the rooms of their contents and stripping back the flooring by giving it a thorough sanding. Colouring will then be applied followed by a heavy duty wax to finish.

This all needs doing by hand and we expect it to take a team of three people approximately three days to complete one room.

Another reason for emptying the rooms of furniture is to make way for an important visitor – Father Christmas. Making a visit to Father Christmas adds that extra bit of magic to the festive

season for little ones (and the young at heart). So it’s good news that the man himself will be making a special stop off at East Riddlesden Hall.

This year, Father Christmas will be running group party sessions in the beautifully decorated Great Hall. Youngsters will enjoy hearing tales of his magical adventures, be invited to join in with music time and have fun playing the festive games.

There’ll be a warm welcome for everyone in these group sessions, a specially wrapped gift, the opportunity for a photograph with the man himself, access to the garden trail and the arts and crafts room where seasonal activities will await.

Sessions held at 12.15pm and 2.15pm will be tailored to under four year olds. Tickets cost £7 per child and booking is essential 0844 2491895.

Have you ever thought about a career with the National Trust?

East Riddlesden Hall is a beautiful place to work and there are a number of vacancies currently available with us from volunteer management to tea-room staff, from visitor experience to business support.

All vacancies can be found on the website Please type ‘Keighley’ in the search bar to bring up all available roles. Call recruitment services on 0870 2400274 for any recruitment help or enquiries.

Don’t forget there’s free entry to the Christmas Fair on December 5 and 6 between 11am and 4pm.

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