Spring Cleaning at Longleat House

PUBLISHED: 13:53 01 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:07 20 February 2013

Spring Cleaning at Longleat House

Spring Cleaning at Longleat House

Staff at a stately home avoided a Del Boy moment when they successfully lowered a 200-year old chandelier to the ground so it could be cleaned.

Staff at a stately home avoided a Del Boy moment when they successfully lowered a 200-year old chandelier to the ground so it could be cleaned.



The ornate 36 bulb light fixture that hangs above the grand staircase at Longleat House, Wilts, was last given a spruce up nearly 10 years ago.



So when the time came for its latest spring clean, employees went about the task of lowering the chandelier with some trepidation.



Dr Kate Harris, curator of historic collections at Longleat House - the home of Lord Bath - said: "I have to admit that the classic chandelier episode of Only Fools and Horses was at the back of our minds during the whole cleaning operation. I'm just delighted that the lowering of our chandelier was somewhat more successful than Del Boy and Rodney's.



"The chandelier was last cleaned about nine years ago so it was about time it had a spruce up. A specially adapted low suction vacuum cleaner was used and I dread to think how much dust was collected. It took several hours to thoroughly clean."



The chandelier at Longleat is suspended from the ceiling by a chain covered in a velvet sleeve and staff used a crank to gently winch it 40ft onto the stairs.



As the wrought iron chandelier was lowered two more workers hold open a large dust sheet beneath it in case any fragile parts fell off.



A successful clean later and the chandelier was gently winched back into position.



The spring clean has taken place ahead of Longleat House opening to the public on April 2.



The magnificent country house dates back to the 16th century and the chandelier, that is decorated with ornamental foliage, was hung above the grand staircase in the early 19th century.

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