IN SPRING it’s not only the plants, animals and birds which come to life, but also the houses we look after, East Riddlesden Hall being no exception.

During the winter months when we’re closed, our house steward Jackie Waters and a team of volunteers deep clean the house and carry out the necessary restoration projects to conserve the fixtures and fittings for generations to come.

This winter we’ve focused on the wooden floors which not only stand the wear and tear of over 39,000 visitors every year, but also support heavy oak furniture.

When the house is open all the floors get cleaned daily in the morning, however it is in the winter when we can really give them the treatment they need to preserve them.

The protection of the floors against damage from daily use has always been a high priority in historic housekeeping as 18th and 19th century housekeeping manuals clearly demonstrate.

One such household even admitted that the dining room floor was deliberately stained with soot and beer to hide the dirt!

Our job involves emptying the rooms of their contents and stripping back any floor covering before sanding, colouring and finally waxing with a heavy duty wax which will ‘feed’ the wood.

This is an extremely labour-intensive process as there isn’t any electricity in the house, so it took a team of three people three days to complete each room…. but the result was worth it.

Jackie, our house steward, was thrilled with the result and commented: “This really makes the job an absolute joy and it is a privilege to be able to care for these special places so everyone can enjoy them.”

The floors aren’t the only thing which is cared for during the winter: we have recently cleaned all the pewter.

Each piece in our collection is carefully cleaned using a pony hair brush which helps to get into all the small grooves, and a damp chamois leather so it gets a gentle clean. Metal polish is never used as it takes off the top layer of metal to create a shine, when in fact it should be dull.

The dullness in pewter is directly attributed to the amount of lead content in each piece. Finally we use a renaissance wax which creates a dust and light protective barrier.

All of this is then logged on a care plan with accurate details of any damage and overall condition.

In the last few days you might also have spotted someone using a cherry picker to reach the top of the building … this is so the Rose Windows can be repointed.

This is part of a £30,000 repair project to the East Riddlesden Hall.

If you want to get involved or learn more about our conservation please go to our website or call 01535 607075 during office hours.

• If you’ve missed any of our previous Hall Of Fame articles in the Keighley News, simply visit, click on What’s On then Out & About and you’ll find them all there.