What We’ve Been Up To - Week ending 03/02/2014

It’s always rewarding for a volunteer organisation to welcome a new recruit, and this week has seen four new people at the weekly Volunteer’s Meeting – while another is going to start this coming week. Curator Nick is extremely happy that one of these new volunteers is an electrician for whom there are a number of projects already waiting.

Yet another offer of help has come from one of the party of Buckingham University post graduates who came to tour The House during the week.  Currently working towards her Master’s degree, Becky was fascinated by the opportunities for research that the RTH affords.  She has taken on the job of researching the room which we call the Library in order to learn how it originally presented when the house was first lived in.  Her research will include  finding out the original finishing details which will help achieve the authenticity which each renovation project at The House is committed to preserving.

Carolina our Swiss intern, and then Peter and his crew of proof readers, finished  the work which has been absorbing them for months. The mammoth task of copying every entry and illustration in the current authoritative compendium devoted to Silhouette artists and their works; supplementing these entries with shortened biographical articles; reproducing every photograph and caption; and proofing and editing every word is finally finished.

While this is not the end of the project itself everyone connected to this work can finally see for themselves how what they have been involved in is nothing less than the most comprehensive, up-to-date and user-friendly Silhouette resource on the Internet.  When the entire project is finished it will be invaluable for both amateurs and experts wanting information on the art of the silhouette.

Apart from one small metre-long strip the whole of the kitchen at No. 13 has, this week, had its first of plaster, the scratch-coat.  This was particularly difficult in the kitchen where plaster is applied equally to the rough bungaroosh, the even straight surfaces of old brick, and the various holes, small vents and the ‘ghosts’ of ancient fittings and fixtures which, over time, were added to the original walls.
In order to gain access to these walls a lot of ancient rubble, artefacts, vintage tools and materials had also to be sorted through and re-housed.  With this progress, we begin to see a kitchen.  Not the bright shiny, compact space that the modern word brings to the mind but one of the cavernous spaces that once formed the warm, beating heart of the Regency home.

In the Housekeepers room at No. 10 the flooring has long been a problem.  In the 1950s concrete was poured in to strengthen the timber floor. Last year we removed the concrete and laid temporary boards. It is this temporary covering that most visitors in the last year will be familiar with.  

Sourcing genuine floorboards of the right period, kind of wood, size and suitability has been an arduous process but the end is at last in sight.  Its hoped that, by the end of April replacing the New (temporary) covering with the Old (authentic) floorboards might be completed.  So watch this space: the triumphant news will feature soon in one of our newsletters!


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