The Victorian kitchen restoration project has begun, including re-opening the chimney, replacing the ceiling and transferring some of our historic collections.
RE-OPENING THE CHIMNEY
Work on the Victorian kitchen started with the chimney. This area had previously been made into a cupboard for the shop, but it has now been re-opened for the first time in over 50 years!
We waited with bated breath to see how much soot would come pouring down after being unused for so many years, but we were pleasantly surprised when it only took up two wheelie bins and Mr Sheppard (Palace House maintenance) wasn’t lost under a sea of soot!
The next stage was to see how well the chimney structure had stood the test of time by setting off ‘smoke bombs’ to see if there was any leakage of the smoke into other rooms, thankfully this was successful and focus can now be on installing a working Victorian range.
Meanwhile scaffolding had also been erected for the complete removal and replacement of the ceiling. This caused havoc with plaster dust making its way up through three floors of the building! The ceiling has now been replaced and painted and work can start on the walls of the kitchen.
BIRD SPECIMEN PRESERVATION
A historic collection of taxidermy birds stood in the kitchen area, so they had to be re-located within the house before the ceiling came down.
All the specimens were collected from 1892- 1952 by Henry 1st Lord Montagu, John 2nd Lord Montagu and Edward 3rd Lord Montagu. The specimens could all be found here on the Beaulieu Estate and some, such as the Oystercatcher, can still be seen on the banks of the Beaulieu River today.
We called in the expertise of Simon Moore Misact, FLS, RScl, ARC (Conservator of Natural Sciences and Cutlery Historian) to stabilise the collection ready for them to be moved. This included dusting each specimen, re-hydrating their feet and beaks, re-attaching dropped feathers and re-painting their feet, the flamingo even got two new knee-caps!
The cabinet and its contents have been moved into the Ante room, where they can now been seen by the visitors.