Getting Floors Castle ready to open to the Public
It was 1977 when the 10th Duke of Roxburghe kindly opened the doors of Floors Castle to the public for the first time. To this day, with the 11th Duke in residence, visitors continue to marvel over the Castle collections and the architectural style that makes Floors one of the most iconic buildings in Scotland.
As 2022 unfolds, April 9th will mark the 45th year of opening Floors Castle to the public.
It was 1977 when the 10th Duke of Roxburghe kindly opened the doors of Floors Castle to the public for the first time. Inside, visitors were treated to the most marvellous collection of furnishings, tapestries, art, oriental ceramics, and all kinds of wonderful objects collected over the 300-year history of the Castle. To this day, with the 11th Duke in residence, visitors continue to marvel over the Castle collections and the architectural style that makes Floors one of the most iconic buildings in Scotland.
Every year, in the two months leading up to the Castle opening, an intense operation cleaning and preparing the public rooms begins. Leading this mammoth task is Jackie, the Castle’s Housekeeper, and her small team including Jill, Liz, Carly and Margaret (who celebrated her 29th anniversary of working at Floors Castle this past Saturday). Richard the Butler and Calum the Handyman are also integral in the preparations and are hands-on throughout the process.
It is very interesting to watch and learn what goes on behind the scenes of Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle and we wanted to share a little bit of this with you by highlighting the amazing house team who in this last week started preparing for the Castle opening.
Jackie, Richard, and the team started off by working from the east end of the Castle in the former Billiard Room and the Gallery display area. Richard carefully dismantled the show cabinet which houses a variety of dirks, daggers; in the photo, you can see him working away on a fly plaid brooch. Every item will be checked over, dusted, and polished as required. Richard is meticulous when it comes to polishing and in April the room behind him will be filled with some of the finest giltware the Castle contains.
The ladies work away dusting every single piece of furniture in the room. They are highly focused and ever so careful with every movement – the ceramic dishes are fine, fragile, and irreplaceable. The paintings date from the 18th and early 19th centuries, and so are very delicate. Dusting the frames require the lightest touch as they too can be easily damaged. You would imagine the atmosphere in the room to be tense, but in fact the room is full of pride! They know that tens of thousands of eyes will be looking at their work from April until September and one of the most asked questions that the Castle Guides get is, ‘How do you keep the Castle so clean? I don’t see dust anywhere’. The Castle housekeeping team work hard behind the scenes all year long, and keep the interiors and collection looking immaculate. They take great pride in their work, and it shows.
When break time comes it’s a chance for a rest downstairs. Nicky and Natalie who work in the laundry join the team and laughter and chatter can be heard as the team enjoy a well-deserved break and a cup of tea.
Next month we will update you with more of how Floors Castle gets ready to open with a look at how the team takes on the grandest rooms, finest art, and the beautiful chandeliers in the Castle’s State Rooms.