Oxford

Blenheim Palace 1950 clean-up photos revealed

Blenheim Palace Image copyright Neil Kennedy
Image caption The pictures show the Woodstock stately home before it opened to the public for the first time

Photographs of the first "deep clean" of Blenheim Palace, taken in 1950, have been discovered.

The pictures show the Oxfordshire stately home before it opened to the public for the first time.

Staff at the World Heritage Site, in Woodstock, have recreated the images as part of the current pre-season clean.

The cleaning includes 40 busts and sculptures, 28 marble tables, 10,000 books, 18 clocks, 38 pieces of armour and 200 pieces of porcelain.

Image copyright Blenheim Palace
Image caption The Painting of 9th Duke of Marlborough was cleaned in 1950 and 2016

Blenheim Palace house manager Kate Ballenger said it took a team of up to 10 people six weeks.

"The process of cleaning has obviously evolved with technology over time; we now use an indoor hoist for high spaces.

"The rooms appear very similar to how they are today, with the same objects, although some have moved around a little.

"One thing that definitely hasn't changed is the hard work," she said.

Image copyright Blenheim Palace
Image copyright Blenheim Palace

Ms Ballenger said each room had to be stripped of all its furniture and vacuumed from the ceiling to the floor.

The floors are then cleaned and polished, while a specialist team carefully cleans each item.

A variety of tools are used, from museum vacuum cleaners with special filters, to natural bristle brushes such as those with hog hair or pony hair.

Image copyright Blenheim Palace
Image copyright Blenheim Palace

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