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Historic Royal Palaces
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ABOVE: A raven gets washed at the Tower of London.

Source: Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces employs a team of 33 specialist conservators who are responsible for the conservation of 94 rooms displaying over 5,000 objects, including 26 grand-scale wall paintings.

General facts and figures:

  • There are more than 8 acres of buildings at Hampton Court Palace comprising 70 display rooms, each and every one of which must by cleaned once a week.

  • Each year our conservators:

  • Climb up and down more than 6,000 ladder rungs each;

  • Use 2,000 pairs of gloves whilst handling historic objects;

  • Clean and coat 364 metal objects in the Tudor Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace;

  • Build and dismantle over 100 tall scaffold towers to care for the palace's high-level ceiling paintings and grand-scale objects;

  • Spend 33 hours peeling off more than 2 kg of chewing gum from the Royal State Apartment floors;

  • Delicately dust over 1 km of gilded (or gold leaf) picture frames using the finest pony-hair brushes.

  • With many of the ceilings being around 10 meters high, it takes three conservators and one electrician more than an hour to change one light bulb.

  • Last year, conservators trapped more than 700 insects and spiders, identifying 30% as object-damaging pests. (Not included was the baby grass snake that wandered into the King's Exhibition Room at Hampton Court Palace.)

  • The 66 historic mirrors at Hampton Court Palace are made up of 4,620 parts, all of which are inspected regularly to ensure they are well secured.

  • A newly-woven tapestry can support the weight of 1 double-decker buses. A 400-year-old tapestry can barely support its own weight.

  • The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Kensington Palace contains between 13,000 and 14,000 individual items that were fabricated between the 1750s and the present time.

  • Hampton Court Palace's six grand-scale Royal State beds are made up of more than 300 textile, wood, and metal parts, each requiring a specialist-tailored approach to its conservation.

  • Queen Caroline's State bed is fitted with six mattresses that are stuffed with straw, horsehair, and lambswool.

  • There are 94 pieces of giltwood furniture at the palaces, 63 of which have been treated in the past four years.

  • There are more than 100 pieces of sculptural building decoration at Hampton Court. The most vulnerable pieces in the palace gardens are wrapped each winter with special covers to protect them from freezing conditions.

Next page: Tapestries at Hampton Court Palace




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