DURING the quieter winter months at East Riddlesden Hall, Jackie our house steward and her team of volunteers are kept busy with important conservation work and cleaning.

This makes sure that the house and collection are in excellent condition year-round and they are looked after for future generations to enjoy too.

From November to the beginning of February the team squeeze behind furniture, climb up ladders and reach under beds to remove dust from all the nooks and crannies.

Dust builds up quickly here and it can cause damage by general soiling or by speeding up chemical processes that lead to material breakdown.

We always dry dust with a cloth or fine horsehair brush, and never use polish as this leaves a film on the surface of the object.

Every object in the collection gets personal attention and we check its condition against our care plan records.

The wooden floors in the house suffer from wear and tear from the 38,000 pairs of shoes that tread the floorboards each year.

We try to stop as much gravel and dirt from coming into the house by using coir mats at the entrance, and research has shown that we need to use three meters of this to catch all the dirt.

Every morning we dry mop the floors to remove dust and dirt from the previous day, doing this in a morning allows for the dust to settle overnight. Each winter we apply traffic wax to the boards to keep them in a great condition.

Winter is a good time for us to make repairs where things have gone wrong or been damaged.

This year the 17th century crewel work that can normally be seen hung beside the bed in the Green Room has been sent away for repair work.

Local textile conservator, Kate Stockdale, will carefully clean, repair and re-back the intricate wall-hanging and we hope to have it back in its place next year.

This month we’ve been joined by Skillingtons, one of the UK’s leading building conservation, repair, and restoration companies.

They’re currently completing a survey of the ornate Jacobean plasterwork ceilings in the Dining Room and His Own Parlour.

Floorboards in the bedrooms above the two ceilings have been lifted to allow Skillingtons to check for damage.

They’ll produce a report to tell us what work need to be done to repair any cracks and prevent future damage.

Specialist work doesn’t come cheap and it’s taken us four years of fundraising to be able to commission the report on the ceilings.

We’d like to thank our visitors and members for their ongoing and generous support; every visit to East Riddlesden Hall and every purchase made in the shop and tea-room, and every raffle ticket bought allows us to pay for essential work and repairs.

The tea-room and shop are open between 11am and 4pm every Saturday and Sunday until December 17, with free admission to the shop and tea-room.

The house and gardens at East Riddlesden Hall are now closed until early February.