Starting out at Polesden

Hi! I’m Amy, & whilst I have already introduced myself as an Internship Conservation Assistant at Polesden Lacey, I have recently started as a full time Conservation Assistant here. This week i’ll be giving you an insight into my new role  and what I have been up to in the past few weeks. I am the Conservation Assistant for Conservation and Collection Care, working alongside one of Polesden’s Assistant House Stewards, Helen. The main parts of my role include helping with the daily cleaning routine, checking the light levels, completing environmental monitoring and working on other projects, such as the basement stores.

Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey

Firstly, I had a two day induction plan, which gave me an introduction to my role. With some things it was just a recap, as I had already learnt about them during my internship, such as the daily housekeeping routine and setting light levels. I have quickly become used to doing light levels by myself, which i did do a few times as an intern, but once you start doing it everyday it’s amazing how much quicker you become!

I have also had the opportunity to work with some of our conservation demonstrators, who are volunteers who come in and help us with our cleaning tasks and conservation work. We deep cleaned the balcony, which involved gently vacuuming some of our sofas and chairs there. I also worked with some of them to dust some of the desks around the house: taking all of the items off, dusting the desk and then dusting each item before it is put back into its place. It has been brilliant working with some of our many volunteers so far, and i’m looking forward to working with more of them in the future!

Writing-table in the Library at Polesden Lacey, Surrey. The early 19th-century mahogany writing-table is covered with framed photographs of guests, table lamps and a telephone.

One of the desks in the Library that is regularly dusted by Conservation Demonstrators

I have already assisted Charlotte, one of the Conservation and Engagement Assistants here to clean mould off of some of the books in the library and study. This  gave me the opportunity to have a close look at some of the books here, which I hadn’t had the chance to do before. I have also helped to set up and run our Messy Monday’s, where children have been helping us with carpet tamping and also polishing our brass stair rods.

Another aspect of my role here at Polesden is to help with the environmental monitoring of the showrooms and stores. I have 5 showrooms and 5 stores which I monitor weekly, checking the temperature and relative humidity, then writing a report every 3 months. This is really important as we can really keep an eye on our collections and make sure we are keeping them in the best conditions possible.

bathroom 4

Mrs Greville’s Bathroom, one of my 5 showrooms I monitor weekly

I will also get to carry on with the basement stores project that I started as an intern (there is a blog that explains this too so if you are interested find out more here): The main purpose of this project is so that everything stored here is properly inventoried and we know what we have stored where.

Completing an internship really helped me to prepare for this sort of role, but I have now been able to take on more responsibility and help with more of the projects going on here at Polesden. It has been a very busy few weeks but I am thoroughly enjoying my new role, learning a lot which I hope will continue!


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