16 November 2012

Tick tock, tick tock, it's time to...

... do some much needed conservation work on the Wray Castle clock-tower clock!

You can just make out the clock on the tower  behind and to the right of Beatrix Potter and family holidaying at the Castle in 1882.
At some point in it's history, the Wray Castle clock has both stopped and lost all but one of it's hands. As part of our conservation project, we plan to get it back into working order. This week, our building contractors have been up on the roof having a good look at it. It's got a beautiful sandstone face with diamonds carved by each number - a detail which could never have been seen from the ground. It's another wonderful example of no expense being spared by the Dawsons and the skill which has gone into building the Castle.

The one remaining hand!

The fine detail of the carving on the clock face
 There was one of the original hands still on the clock face and this gave us a bit of a surprise - it's made out of wood and not metal as we'd previously thought. It looks as though it would originally have been painted white. We've taken the hand down and it will be conserved as well as providing a template for us to make new hands.
One clock face is still in remarkably good condition, but the other is definitely showing the results of standing outside in over 150 years of lakeland weather!
We'll be putting a new mechanism behind the clock so that when you visit next spring, it'll be telling the time reliably once more.

Elsewhere on the property, we're well on with our conservation work. At Hill Top, the contents of the kitchen and the parlour have all been packed up and wrapped up to protect them from the cold and damp. The conservation team needed a few layers to protect them from the cold and damp too!

Beatrix Potter's furniture in the parlour - unrecognisable in made to measure winter coats!

Beatrix's delicate original ink illustrations for her very first edition of 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' are in the process of being packed up too. They're being sent to be safely stored after their season as the feature of our 2012 exhibition. Because of their sensitivity it's likely to be ten years or so before they can be seen again. It's sad to see them put away, but it's essential to keep them in the best possible condition for future generations to see.

We've got another blog to keep you up to date with the work going on at Wray Castle. Have a look to find out more about what our conservation building team is getting up to there at  www.repairingwraycastle.blogspot.com

Have a good week!