Many of you of a certain age!, went on a school trip to Horniman Museum in South East London. You’d have learnt about Chinese ladies who had their feet bound to stop them growing and tried to fit your feet into the tiny shoes, or wore a wooden European face mask which dated from the 1800s. You would have enjoyed your packed lunch with your friends and fell asleep on the coach on the way home. But I bet you don’t remember looking up at the Grade II listed glass roof in the conservatory?
Built in 1894, the Victorian conservatory is a unique glass structure, but due to access difficulties relating to the unusual design, the glass roof hadn’t been cleaning for years. All Clean Services were asked to survey the site and suggest the best way to deep clean the glass roof without causing any damage to the fish scale glass, roof spandrels and cast-iron frame.
We proposed using a lorry mounted cherry picker and waterfed poles, utilising two of our window cleaning services. The combination of cleaning via both these services, ensured that the delicate Victorian structure wasn’t damaged during the cleaning process. Especially as most of the panes of glass are original and difficult to replace with like for like glass in the 21st century.
The job was carried out on a Sunday, whilst the museum was closed to avoid disruption for staff and visitors. Our team arrived bright and early having already co-ordinated the arrival of the equipment – including the lorry mounted cherry picker to site. Once the team had carried out all their Health & Safety checks, they started work, using purified water via our waterfed pole system. The waterfed pole system dislodges the dirt via the brush, the running water ensures that the dirt is washed away and then the glass is rinsed again with clean water to ensure that no dirt is left behind. By using a purified water system, when the glass dries it is left clean and streak free, without having to dry the glass with a chamois cloth. The job took 9 hours to complete and even our team mentioned how much better the glass looked and how much brighter the conservatory was when they stood inside and the Building Manager said he was delighted with the results.
The conservatory is home to music, film, dance and poetry performances at many of the special events held at the museum and is the perfect venue for a wedding, drinks function or party. The conservatory was originally situated at Coombe Cliff House in Croydon, the home of the Horniman family. Sadly, after the house was sold, the conservatory fell into disrepair, but after campaigning, the conservatory was dismantled and reconstruction at the museum began in June 1987. Restoration was completed in 1989 and the conservatory officially opened in October that year.
If you own or have responsibility for a historical, Grade I or Grade II listed building, which needs special care during cleaning, contact All Clean Services, we have in-depth knowledge and experienced teams in cleaning fragile and delicate internal and external surfaces and can advise you on the best equipment and cleaning products to protect these delicate finishes.