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19 Oct 2018

Drying out water damage

Newhailes House is an elegant mansion on the outskirts of Musselburgh
Newhailes House is an elegant mansion on the outskirts of Musselburgh
At number 27 on our 100 Ways list is the recovery work we’re doing at Newhailes House after flood damage.

Like all property owners, sometimes the National Trust for Scotland has to call the emergency plumber. This is what happened at Newhailes House earlier this year when a flood was discovered.

Our emergency protocols kicked in and the water was stopped and the collections removed really quickly, which meant that the damage was minimal.


Quickly removing the collections meant that damage was kept to a minimum
Quickly removing the collections meant that damage was kept to a minimum

Responding to an incident like this, even when the damage is limited, takes time and expertise from all over the Trust. There are lots of decisions to be made – everything from the best way of drying out delicate textiles to how to re-route visitors.

Newhailes House has had a busy summer season, with the clean-up effort carrying on behind the scenes.

The work took a significant step forward this month with the return of almost 600 books to the house, some dating back to the 1600s.

After being frozen and preserved by one of the country’s most respected book conservators, the books have been safely returned in acid-free cardboard boxes to the house and will now be left to acclimatise at their original home, Newhailes.

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“I’m particularly ecstatic by the return of the books, as the collection contains an original of one of my all-time favourites – The Gentle Shepherd. I studied the book when I completed my History of Art degree at Edinburgh University, and there is an original of it here from 1790!”
Pat Wigston, Conservation Manager

Since the flood, the carpets have been removed to be frozen and cleaned, and the floorboards have been taken up and replaced. Ongoing tasks include restoration of the textile collection and the ceiling of the Chinese Sitting Room.

Pat Wigston places the conserved books back on the shelf in Newhailes House
Pat Wigston places the conserved books back on the shelf in Newhailes House

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in which we’re loving and protecting Scotland, for you.

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