“The Cedar Staircase had been lit by candles and oil lamps. A long carpet had been on the stairs in Mr Pearson Gregory’s time, but Mrs Van der Elst had separate carpet pieces on the steps of the staircase. The cedar wood was cleaned with bees wax and turpentine which brought out the lovely aroma of the cedar wood and kept it in fine condition. There were no cracks in the wood then, probably due to the house being so cold.
At the bottom of the Cedar Staircase is a marble floor. This was laid by Italians. Mrs Thornton did not know whether there was any truth in the rumour that the floor had been transported from the old Manor House together with the floor of the Great Hall. Mrs Van der Elst had a lot of statuary and many of the tiles had been damaged by moving these statues over the floor. Tapestries were hung on the Cedar Staircase. Mrs Van der Elst had all the plasterwork cleaned by workmen with a specialist gadget. However, in those days it was very difficult to see the plasterwork after dark as the lighting was so bad. She remembers that in one alcove stood a little black boy with an oil lamp. The Cedar Staircase was not used very much.”
Mrs. Thornton’s recollections, Head Housemaid, 1928-1937
Up in the heavens
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