Here are just a few of the projects we've been involved in over the years. In each case we've provided funds to help the National Trust restore and preserve the objects and places they care for.
Queen Margaret’s Bed – Packwood House
This oak stump bedstead was used by Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, at Owlpen Manor Gloucestershire (then a Royal Manor) on May 3rd 1471, the night before the Battle of Tewkesbury. It was evidently re-upholstered and the pillars and canopy added in the time of Charles II. The hangings are largely of that date and the colours red and white commemorate the Battle of the Roses. It was bought from Owlpen to Packwood by Baron Ash in 1927.
The bed was taken apart during the re-servicing project of 2012-13, as asbestos had to be removed from the room and electric wiring replaced, and it was decided to remove the textiles from the room due to the dust and damage potential.
The bed was disassembled and the loose textiles (curtains, bedspread, bedding) were removed. The dust sheet (over the top of the bed) and the outer and inner valences (the bits at the tops of the curtains) were removed by lifting tacks. The headcloth was taken off by unpicking the stitching at its top and side edges. The tester (the canopy over the bed) was lifted off the uprights, the textiles being left in place on the tester.
Having disassembled the bed, Velcro waas applied to some of the textiles so that future reinstatement or disassembly is made easier and less damaging to both textiles and bedstock. Velcro will be applied to evenly support the hanging textiles.
The textiles were cleaned, and small repairs carried out in areas of the red braiding, and elsewhere as required.
Protection sheets were attached to the top of the tester and the back of the headcloth to prevent against future ingress of dust.
The bed can be seen in Queen Margaret's Bedroom at Packwood House.
Queen Margaret's bed as it arrived at Packwood in 1927.
The Causeway at Packwood House
The Great Pool at Packwood is over three acres in area, and the water is held back from the gardens and the house by a dam. The walkway across the top of the dam is known as the Causeway.
It was discovered that the causeway wall was in a poor state and endangering the dam. Work to repair the wall was begun in 2015 and in 2021 we were delighted to add the finishing touch to the work by funding the tree planting along the Causeway.
Portrait of Sir John Yate - Coughton Court
On the main staircase at Coughton Court you can find a portrait of Sir John Yate.
Sir John married into the Throckmorton family, bringing with him the estates of Buckland and Harvington - as well as plenty of badly needed cash!
The portrait was in a fragile condition, not helped by some dubious restoration work carried out over 100 years ago. The canvas wasn't lined and was coming away from the wooden stretchers which should support it. In addition, there was paint loss and flaking of the surface.
The Solihull National Trust Centre was able to provide the funds to have the painting professionally conserved and put back on display.