I am so sorry I have not been producing blogs for the past wee while, I have had so much to do which has near made me go round the bend! But as we say in Ireland, ‘sure, it will be grand’, which carries with it the connotation of a care free attitude. However I can assure one and all that around here we care greatly for this property and it shows through in the people I work with.
I must say I work with the most amazing bunch of people! Everyone loves their job despite the frustrations and problems which arise. The passion we all share for our jobs and the place we work can be so strong that I find personally I can’t switch off. My life is given over to this project and the delivery of it on time(ish)!
I am writing this over lunch time as things are quiet around here between 1:00 and 1:30pm!
So I nipped down earlier to take a few photos of a floor which is being lifted in the Drawing Room. This room was where various functions would have taken place among other rooms but this room was totally stunning with all its decorations etc. I have mentioned the room in previous blog posts and this time you will see the room with all the furniture and paintings removed and in storage, it feels like it’s having its heart ripped out.
So, just had to pop out there and sort out a delivery of timber! Why on earth does that happen?! Deliveries come either at 4:55pm or between 1-1:30pm, usually just as you’re about to sink your teeth into a sandwich!
The Drawing Room…
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very proud to bring to you a special wee woman who was over with us for a week to gain some knowledge in heritage carpentry and joinery. I hereby present to you Miss Sarah Hudson.
Sarah took the decision she wanted to become a joiner and has proved herself very capable in the trade. She will do well as she proved to me that she has a very keen interest and wants to learn. I don’t want to uplift the trade to any height but anyone who wants to become a tradesman in any of the trades must go through 4 years of low pay and feel the weak link in any team, totally reliant on their work colleagues and needs support in most areas. There must be more inside the apprentice to really want to be a trades person to see past the early years.
Speaking of myself, I was 16 when I went out into the big bad world and had to get wise very quickly! The thing is, Sarah is mostly in a man’s world and yet she sticks at it and I must applaud her for her determination and drive to push boundaries.
Keep up the good work Sarah! The joinery team at Mount Stewart wish you well and hope in years to come to hear you having completed your apprenticeship.
Right! The Drawing Room…
In the following images one can see the floor mostly lifted with the joists being visible. See what I mean by having its heart ripped out?
A few stories have emerged following the floor being lifted. I noticed at the commencement of the project when I lifted a few boards seeing glass scattered all over the place.
So why all the glass?
Back when I first noticed it, I picked a few pieces up and noticed it was from something that was curved. I figured that it was a broken glass table or something which had been swept into the floor void.
So when the floor was lifted I saw that the glass was all over the floor not just in one section. So the penny dropped (and in my head it has to drop a long way)! I am one of those people who wins an argument an hour after it has happened! One of the joiners said to me, ‘It’s almost like they cut all the glass for the windows in here’.
That’s it! It’s crown glass! My goodness! It’s all the remnants of the glass from the late 1840’s when the windows were being installed and the Drawing Room was used to glaze the sashes.
In the photo below you will see how glass came to site. Glass manufacturing of the day was by means of placing molten glass on a spinning table. The centrifugal force flatted out the glass into a disc.
If you’re ever around Mount Stewart look at the windows, those are the ones I have taken out. Look particularly close at the panes, they will be distorted but the key to spotting crown glass in particular is the circular rings which can be visible.
Why is this guy so excited about finding this?
Well crown glass is no longer made anywhere in the world, to find these bits of glass gives me a sense of just how big the discs where and I can also imagine all the sashes in the room and the glazers cutting and fitting the glass and glazing them. I am now going over their work approximately 144 years later! I find that amazing.
Yes yes, I need to get out more!
Two more joiners
We have two more joiners started with us which brings the team up to 7 poor souls who have to work with me! I will post a few images and a bit of info about them in due course, I have run out of time for this session.
All the best and please keep on supporting the project here and the National Trust in general.
Bye for now. If I haven’t posted another blog post in a few weeks please come and find me, as I might have taken to the hills or rocking back and forth mumbling about sash windows and glass! I am so glad I have a beard these days it’s such a de-stressor, as I muse and think over what the dickens I have to do next!
As we have some readers who might appreciate the following:
Slán go foil! Or goodbye for now in English!