2014 saw us once again dedicated to the Conservation work that is so crucial to maintaining the Manor, garden and collection. The team worked hard to monitor the environmental conditions within the Manor and Cottage and limit the agents of deterioration and will continue to do so in 2015, it is a never-ending task! Snowshill has followed the national trend with an increase in moth activity which we will be continuing to observe this year. We started the process of writing a light plan for the property which will help us limit the impact of light damage to the collection. One of our greatest achievements was the completion of our first inventory check, all the objects were checked in 18 months and this would have never been possible without the help of Allen, Alex and a host of volunteer inventory checkers.
We were once again visited by a number of specialist conservators in 2014. Our clocks were looked at in great detail by Dr Mike Flannery who has advised us on which of Mr Wade’s clocks we can run and which of the clocks need a rest. (see last year’s blog post) A team from Tankerdale Ltd came on several trips to Snowshill throughout the year and in October they returned Mr Wade’s doorbell now in fully working order. We also had a number of ceramic items repaired by a team at West Dean College.
In other areas of the property great strides were made in reducing our energy consumption; this has been greatly assisted by the installation of new energy efficient heaters in our holiday cottages. There was also a major re-roofing project at Manor Farmhouse this year which has secured the safety of the building and improved its energy efficiency.
Every year has its highlights and every year brings some unusual challenges. In May one of our volunteer room guides had quite the shock when small pieces of plasterwork started to fall from Turquoise ceiling. This was caused by the heavy footfall in the room above (Occidens) and some unstable plaster. As a result we had to close Occidens for most of the season, this was a great disappointment to us as Occidens has some wonderful objects inside including items from the costume collection, family photographs and examples of Mr Wade’s paintings and drawings. The safety of our visitors, collection and building is and will always be our first priority. Subsequent visits from our structural engineer and consultants from Cliveden Conservation mean that repairs will be soon underway.
The team was also greatly concerned when our beloved cat Tinker was taken to the vets last year. If you have seen Tinker on a visit to Snowshill you will know that he is quite the character. After repeat visits and an operation we are happy to report that Tinker is back to his normal cheeky self and was well looked after by the garden team over the Christmas break where he enjoyed the finest smoked salmon!
We have also had lots of fun this year. In October we were contacted by the team behind Escape to the Country and a few days later a small production team arrived at the Manor. Nikki Chapman was the presenter who interviewed our Conservation and Engagement Assistant Sue. We are all eagerly waiting for it to be aired on BBC2. We were also visited by BBC Radio Gloucester when Snowshill was featured as their village of the week. Jenny our House Steward and Katie our Assistant Gardener were interviewed as they walked around the property. We also featured in the new Antiques Roadshow Magazine when Marc Allum talked fondly about being inspired by Mr Wade’s collection. Our Apple day weekend was transformed into a three day Apple festival celebrating all things apple related. The garden team worked tirelessly to prepare for the event which saw 488 varieties of apple on display.
In next week’s blog some of the team have picked their 2014 highlights and we will look at what we have to come in 2015.