Monthly Archives: July 2011

Meet Fern, Project House Steward

Having assisted with the inventory process, Fern has recently been working on the plan for the storage of items – where they will be put, how they are to be recorded, the materials needed and the organisation and practicalities of moving them. She has planned out on paper what will be going on each shelf in the store and facilitated the recent removal of furniture.

As Fern explains, working at 575 is unique and hard to compare with experiences at other properties. In her previous position at Tyntesfield, she was part of a very large team with hundreds of volunteers, whereas at 575, the team at the house has usually consisted of three people. She says that it is lucky that the team has got on so well, considering they have been working in such a confined space! Fern has had to get used to working in a house that is so much smaller, rather than properties with fifty or so bedrooms. Setting up a photography table for the inventory or finding a place for packing crates has been a challenge: ‘Every time you do a job, you take up space’, she comments ruefully.


Creative Writing ~ Summer School

575 Wandsworth Road ~ the beginning, transformation & conservation

8-12th August 2011

Writers’ brief

  • Are you a writer looking for an opportunity to take your work to the next level? 
  • Is writing a hobby that you’d love to turn into a profession?
  • Would you like to work with a group of writers who are also at the same crossroads in their writing development?
  • Would you benefit from working with professional writers and world-class storytellers?
  • Do you need to hear honest feedback on your writing?
  • Would you like to be part of a unique project at this magical new National Trust acquisition?

 If you find yourself answering YES to any of the above questions then this might just be the project that helps you realize those dreams!

 The National Trust would like to offer a selected group of young writers (under 24 years of age) the opportunity to work with professional writers and storytellers, in order to develop their craft and increase their knowledge base of ways to make a living as a writer.

 ‘In the beginning, transformation and conservation’ is a summer writers project with a difference. The writing element of the project lasts for five days, but the work produced during those intense five days will have the opportunity to last for eternity. The stories produced that best fit the brief will be used to engage family groups visiting 575 Wandsworth Road.


  • Programme curator: Adisa
  • 10.30am – 4pm Monday 8th –Thursday 11th
  • Friday 12th 10.30am – 7pm (including evening celebration)
  • Location: National Trust London Office, 32 Queen Annes Gate, London, SW1H 9AB
  • There is no charge.
  • Participation by application by 27th July to:
  • Please include contact details followed by a brief description (max 250 words) describing what this opportunity would mean for you.

 This project has been made produced as part of Stories of the World, one of the major projects at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The Cultural Olympiad began in 2008, and used the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially amongst young people.

A Bug’s Life

When I visited Geoff and Alex to see the conservation and inventory work in action, I was immediately greeted with a vivid description of the bugs and larvae one encounters doing such work and an offer to see an illustrated poster – not for the faint of heart!

Clothes webbing house moths seem to appreciate the house as much as we do. Unfortunately, they are not the ideal housemates as they destroy wool and other protein based materials (for example, horsehair upholstery, feathers and silk). To the right, you can see evidence of moth activity on one of the kilim cushions. The kilims will need to be deep-cleaned because of this issue and the sheep-skin rugs, particularly affected, will be frozen. Here Alex is sewing fabric inventory labels onto the kilims, being careful not to cause them any further damage.

The team is taking measures to stop the moths in their tracks in order to protect the vulnerable textiles. To the right is a blunder trap – a little folded card trap with a sticky adhesive inside. After identifying the insect species causing the problem, the conservators can add a pheromone vial to the blunder trap. This emits the attractant to all of the adult males in the vicinity, the moths get trapped onto the sticky adhesive and a generation is wiped out as they are unable to reproduce. Take that, bugs!