A new BBC Two and BBC iPlayer series, ‘Hidden Treasures of the National Trust’ features members of the Cliveden Conservation team as it goes behind the velvet rope at the country’s most beautiful and historic homes, meeting the people saving our priceless heritage.
The six-part series which starts Friday 12th May (9pm BBC Two and BBC iPlayer) follows the experts, including conservators from Cliveden Conservation, at work as they breathe new life into fragile marvels, uncover hidden stories, and strive to keep the past alive.
Stories range from the restoration of an ornate nineteenth-century Chinese-style bridge at Biddulph Grange Garden, to discovering how the Trust has brought Paul McCartney’s childhood home back to life, seeing how the experts clean a model of a Normandy harbour used by Winston Churchill in the planning of D-Day and the renovation of Vita Sackville-West’s writing room at Sissinghurst Castle. The series also showcases stories of the gardens and landscapes within which these properties sit.
The Cliveden Conservation team appear in four of the six episodes demonstrating the skills and techniques used to preserve hidden treasures. Conservation and replication of marble antiquities from Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire are prepared as part of the restoration of the geological gallery. At Ightham Mote in Kent a condition survey and repairs are carried out to the masonry of a historic Venetian window.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden also in Kent, sees Cliveden Conservation restore the decorative plaster in Vita Sackville-West’s Writing Room and undertake specialist conservation treatment to repair a terracotta pot which is then later reinstalled. Then it’s over to Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland where conservators reinstate the unique storm damaged sculptures on the Dodo Terrace.
Based in a different region each episode, the series looks behind the scenes at the extraordinary work that is being done to care for these properties and their contents for future generations. Audiences meet volunteers and staff who look after the properties and these objects, revealing their passion, dedication and affection for the houses they help to maintain.
Tom Flemons, Director and conservator, Cliveden Conservation, who was filmed as part of the series, looks forward to seeing Hidden Treasures of the National Trust broadcast:
“Working with the film makers added a new dimension to our projects. It allowed us to step back and appreciate what a privilege it is to be involved with The National Trust’s treasures, caring for the collection, and preparing it for the future.”
Image: BBC/Blast Films