Episode 4 The Manor Reborn

Episode 4

The designers and historical experts rush to get the house finished for opening day. Will the National Trust accept the outlandish schemes, and what will the public make of it?

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Everything can be sat on. Played with. And enjoyed by the visitors.


Avebury Manor will be reborn to reflect 500 years of its history.


But time is running out. It is taking twice as long as it should.


The Trust is getting nervous. starting to get really quite


anxious now. With opening day in just a month's time, can we pull it


off. It is touch and go if that will go through the front door.


There is an awful lot to do before we hand over.


We have deadline and we are keeping that deadline.


It is autumn, and with only four weeks to go before we hand the


manor back to the Trust, it is not exactly a hive of activity in the


house. But outside, the Trust is already


Designer, Russell Sage, is out and about barring began hunting,


unruffled by -- bargain hunting, unruffled by the deadline. Four


weeks is a big deadline, we have to make sure everyone is focused.


Russell is in is element, scouring the country for table ware and


drink kits. We never know what we will -- drink kits. We never know


what we will iend find. Russell hasn't got a shopping list, but he


will know what he wants when he see it is. What about this Nothing can


be too expensive or precious. you do �30 on it. We want visitors


to be able to handle on it. Can you do 200 of those and those. �360 we


are done, go on. Russell knows a thing or two about haggling. Can I


have a receipt. We're down to �120, it is making me �15. Half price, go


is only because it will disintegrate further. You won't


make it back to London. Very Art This method uses a high lead


antique look. It is much cheaper to make them than buy the real thing,


hot in here. Hello. You must be Jo. What is the first thing you have to


do? Picking up the blowing iron, and gech it in the water and make


you pick up too much molten glass, can adjust slightly and cut the


glass, it is best to get the right amount every time. I have to get


the bubble in there as quickly as possible. Now I'm blowing quite


gently. It's all about the turning, stopped turning everything goes off


centre and goes wrong. I'm dropping out the stem in the middle of the


cup. I'm ready to put the foot on. using a foot board, a hinged board,


hinged together with some leather, kept in a bucket. That is so clever.


That is perfect. You have got that wonderful bubblous balances trade,


put into a kiln to slowly bring them down in temperature and stop


making carpets for 70 years. I'm checking up on two we have


commissioned for the house. One for our 1930s Art Deco sitting room,


and an absolutely enormous one for our Georgian dining room.


That is our carpet. Doesn't it look lovely. Sadly, of course, the


dining table will be over the middle of it. We will have to move


the dining table out occasionally to look at the carpet.


Specially designed for Avebury, it echos the architectural detail of


our dining room. Keeping an eye on quality control is Charlene. May I


stand on it, to Christen it. You may. I will take my shoes off,


I promise. 1234 Have I spotted something? And


I haven't even got my glasses on. The next carpet to come off the


machine, transports Avebury straight into the 20th century. It


is inspired by Alexander Keeler, who lived at Avebury in the 1930s.


Keeler was a rich Playboy, with a zest for life. Married four times,


he some how found time to indulge his other great passions, fast cars,


and archaeology. Keeler carried out his own historical makover, using


his robust brand of archaeology, to resurrect the Avebury stones.


He bank rolled his pursuits from the vast fortune he inherited from


the family business, marmalade. Our striking carpet is the first


completed commission to be installed in the manor. How


exciting. Perfect, spot on, that is. All we


need now is some furniture. Using Russell's zebra skin, Helen


is upholstering the chair typical of the Art Deco period. I can't


one before. This is slightly over the years. But never one like


this, certainly not in a zebra skin. I think it has been shot by a


Muscat, looking at the wounds here. That was the death shot. This is


the creature's face just here, here is his eyes. It is surprisingly


thick where the mane is. Wow. Then this side, you have a little


cupboard. You can put your bottles. It is the ultimate man's chair this.


Apart from without having the remote control!


Back in Avebury, work is up and running again in the dining room.


Corin and his brother Ashley, are applying 23 carat gold leaf to pick


out the ornate Georgian mouldings. I'm pretty much using the


traditional tools that the Georgians would have used. So the


reason I'm covered in cold is I'm using a guilder's tip, and to get


that little bit of static on the tip, I'm brushing it on to my


stubble. Having a golden beard is a total fashion statement, I can't


know I had one. So that's why men Gold started to fly everywhere, I'm


going to get out of here, it is too much of a mess.


Working alongside the boys are Chloe and Kevin, preparing the old


and uneven walls for our spectacular wallpaper, coming from


China. Because they are old walls, obviously there are cracks and old


drips of paint, and the lining paper will give us a smoother


surface to work on and hide a lot of it. I'm creating a straight edge


that I will then cut and make sure it all looks nice and neat. This is


often the problem with old houses, you don't get sort of totally true


straight edges, the corners of buildings might have cracked over


the years and been filled, you have wobbly lines. New houses aren't


totally square either, but they are a lot easier to work with.


It will be fine and look great. Russell's come to the upholsterers,


to work out how they will cover the Queen Anne bed in silk. After the


decision to go for precise much harder. Now we have ended up


with a shape, which I appreciate, is absolutely beautiful, but


virtually impossible to cover in fabric. You didn't realise it was


going ob all this. You thought, nice easy job -- going to be all of


this, you thought, nice easy job. There are 92 separate pieces to the


cornice, and to emphasise the fine detail, each contoured piece has to


be tightly covered in silk. It will be one hell of a job. That's our


shape, we are trying to get the fabric into that corner there, it


is quite tricky. Sample two coming up. You need to put a piece in


there, to there, and back tape that way and that way. My faith is


dropping, this is going to take you houses of hours, isn't T


-- it. It is taking twice as long as it should, you know. But, it is


a challenge. That's not the only challenge with


the Queen Anne bed. They are worried that the dome is too big to


fit through the manor doors. Once it gets there it will be tight.


Try to ram it through the door. Juggle it in, I reckon. With time


against us, they are going to have to start dressing the dome. We will


worry about getting it into the manor later. Once it is fully


upholstered, you can't grab hold of these, the only place would be


its side it will make a awkward to try to get it through the doors and


up the stairs. This is going to be our bill yard room, we are


decorating and furnishing it in a style inspired by Edwardian sold


yerb and champion sportsman, Lieutenant -- soldier, Lieutenant


Colonel Genner. He lived there up until the 1980s. We wanted to


reflect a time when upper-class men retired from dinner to the billiard


room for manly talk, port and cigars. Restorer, Peter Ludg ate


has started work on the rescued billiard table. To ensure the


finest playing surface, you need Welsh slate. Originally beds of


tables would have been made in parquet flooring. We have tried all


sorts of different surface, like glass, but slate is the tried and


tested way. It is heavy and stable and comparatively cheap. Brace


yourselves, each of the four slate segments weighs more than 20 stone.


That's it. Once the slate is in place, the


surface is finally sanded, before the cloth is fitted.


The thing has to be level, we have to get it absolutely spot on. It is


like tuning an instrument, it has to be tuned to perfection. It is


very nice, hello, I'm Paul, pleased to meet you. Have you put all this


bit of help with the slate i thought you would help us. I have


come at the right time! Do you know the ball runs beautifully, it


In Northumberland, furniture makers George Smith are at work on a


classical-style sofa for the dining room. It is likely to be one of the


most sat on pieces of furniture, so it will need to be sturdy.


This type of frame I would say is all me!


It's a production line of highly- skilled craftsmen, and women.


Obviously every aspect and process of the sofa is tricky. But to me


the upholstery is vital because it is the finished product. Every job


is a challenge, you don't realise material out, how it ends up, as


the finished item. You appreciate really what you are doing.


The Georgian-style sofa is the first piece of commissioned


furniture to arrive on site. It is not the only piece to be delivered


today. Our hand-painted wallpaper, which I saw being made in China has


arrived. 25 rolls of it. This is what we have been waiting for.


Chloe is only one of a handful of people in the country, skilled


enough to hang this unique wallpaper. Very, very excited.


has taken 12 artists over 600 hours to paint. Wow.


Wow. That is amazing. Absolutely, this is really what it's all about.


It really is. It's just such a massive badge of honour to be


involved in this, to be working with this work. Sorry! Every step


of the process is going to need absolute precision. Some people


might think I'm being a bit with something of this value, I


don't want to get it wrong. Just check the measurement again for the


millionth time, OK, good. Just try the bottom edge as well. We have to


quite quick. Obviously we don't want the glue drying out, and we


don't want the paper getting too wet. Getting the position of the


first piece right is key, it is a will determine how the scenes play


out around the room. Gently. That's great. OK, so just let it, keep


hold of it, keep it away from the wall. Now very gently, use the tip


of the scissors. That's it. Very carefully, that's it, I don't know


what the fuss was about! That's one down, only 24 to go, good luck


Chloe. Because it is hand made and hand


painted, there are, of course, going to be ve variations, so we


have got to do -- to be variations, so we have to do it as best we can.


If there is anything, there has to be a bit of an allowance, huhhhhhh.


Camera off! That's what happens when you are talking and working at


the same time, instead of concentrating. But it will be fine.


That's our fault. I am very happy. I have smudged it


here. If I didn't even notice that. Then no-one will, Chloe.


Historian, Anna Whitelock, has arrived, with the Tudor bed spread,


and the royal school of needle work's Peacock eyes. Dozens of


local needle workers have joined in to help. It is Dina's job to


organise the operation. I like that all the eyes are different sizes


and all the hands are working on it, the Royal School hands are working


on it and these hands here. In all, over 60 pairs of hands of all ages


have come together to make the bed spread. I have been embroidering


all my life, ever since the age of these young girls. It is fun coming


in later on when it is all done and saying I did some of that.


So authentic to be in a Tudor room and have a group of female


embroiderers at it, stitching and chatting as they go along. Each of


you is leaving your own little stitch on Avebury Manor, that will


hopefully be here for years to come. There is a tonne of work to do


schedule. Every room still needs its finishing touches to the paint


work. For Chloe, the end is in sight. The last piece of the jigsaw


puzzle, suddenly it will go, ping and everything will fall into place.


That's it. All done.


That's amazing, beautiful. I feel like I'm in the picture, I'm in


there. In China. I feel like I'm a part of this.


You need a big hug, come on. just three days we are due to open


to the public, if the National Trust aproves. So work will have to


go on around the clock. moved into the Mondayor. Sometimes


you don't want to get out of bed. My sock says Tuesday but it is


Wednesday. It would be better if it was Tuesday. Also on sight is


Russell's second in commands Daniella and Cameron. We need to


dress and stuff the mattresses. The rooms with the biggest wow factors


are the ones that we will be working until the last minute.


There is a delivery for the Tudor parlour, digital tapestrys of


pieces that hang in Hampton Court. They will be hung in the paneled


piece is hung on the right wall. This is V, that should be this wall.


The first job is to put up batons from which to hang the taps trees,


but as it is a grade I listed building, we are trying to use the


existing holes. This is the really exciting bit, going on now, all the


work done away from the property is Exciting, we find out if all the


measures will fit. Extra weight is added to hang them properly, the


creases are steamed out. Some are more stubborn than others, they


just need a little bit more time. Ed pabt -- the parlour will be


dressed for a Tudor meal, we need some plaipbts. As original Tudor


pewter is rare and expensive, Russell has an idea. He is


distressing junk shop pewter. it is being done by a hammer.


the 1915s, it consisted of a lot more lead. That is probably why


they all died so young! Now for some radical recycling? We will


melt it down, pour it into the mould there, let it solidify, and


produce a solid ingate for raw material for us to work with.


Before your very eyes, old tank cards into Tudor treasures. Back at


the manor, the rush matting for the Tudor parlour is here. It is thick


and very heavy. OK I have got it! Yeah, slow steps.


Can you see where you are going, Don't put it down. Oh! (panting) no,


no! (laughing) Ewwwww. Right then! The last job is to bind


the mat's edges, and then give it a good drink. It is rather like


having a pet in your house, you learn when it needs to be watered.


You can hear it, it sort of crunchs With 24 hours until opening day, I


have come to lend a hand. Dina and her crack team of


volunteers, are finishing the Tudor bed spread, by joining you will 55


Peacock eyes with a web of stitching.


Can I have a bash. You're doing stem stitch. Can you remember?


I will kneel down, is that allowed? We have been doing that, it is the


only way. I do a lot of work on my hours and hours, I hope you don't


need much more of me, I will be here doing this, it is lovely.


While Penelope is on her knee, some of us are humping furniture.


Do you want me to pull it out! Sorry. The deliveries keep on


coming. The manor is filling up fast. With work continuing in every


room, we have run out-of-space. are you? Now John jee Sainsbury has


arrived with a van load of Queen Anne furniture. It will have to be


set out on the lawn. Russell has had them covered, so our historian,


Dan Cruickshank, will get a surprise. It is the moment he's


been waiting for. Ahhh. So the Queen Anne day bed. One so rarely


sees day beds of that period. I have to do what I have never done


before. I can throw myself, crack. Do you know what, it is comfortable.


The Queen would be very happy here. Can I turn one over. This is


absolutely fantastic. We have one last present for you. Of course.


This is what I really need, the exercise chair. This is sensational.


I mean it is based on the original, beautifully executed. I love the


Gothic detail. Put your hands on this bit. More slowly. Are you


feeling any healthier? I'm feeling something! I think we should leave


it at that, don't you! Look at that. Try it. It is really comfortable.


marble. They are so beautiful. worried about them being damaged or


had them made new. Now the Trust has to protect them. They have to


be used. They will be fine, robust. Come on Dan, that's the whole point.


Local embroiderers Nicky and Lorraine are upholstering a foot


stool for Queen Anne. And Dale is embroidering a royal Monroe know


gram for the ultimate throne! are mating a toilet fit for a Queen,


posher than what I have at home. Our royal loo will be covered in


silk and velvet, how luxurious. I know what the chaps are like,


they leave the lid up. I don't think it would do for today.


gentleman might have to lift the lid. And be short!


The manor has so many rooms from different periods, Russell's got


his work cut out finding theg rates for the fireplaces. The chances of


-- graits for the fireplaces. The chances of getting it historically


right it is important the fireplaces look dressed. It doesn't


matter it is not a specific date, it looks like the job. We are doing


National Trust Disney, not anything else. I'm not sure Lucy agrees,


Russell. That is a little bit later than I was expecting. That is a hob


grate, they don't come in until later in the century. The picture


on the side is classical. I don't know if it's quite right, but at


happen very quickly without planning, without reference to us.


I spent six months buying things, 60 seconds stealing mirrors from


the toilets back at the house. is a curtesy to let you know what


is happening in the house. The other thing is cross-headed screws


that were used. I don't know what and whether they are correct.


tell anyone. Outside, a convoy has arrived, with


our two most important commissions. That is unbelievable, isn't it, it


is like buses. We have the Queen Anne bed and the Tudor bed. But the


problem we have got is, the dome for the Queen Anne bed. Because it


is so big, is it going to get through that front door?


That's one door down, two more to go. This is the bit we have been


waiting for. Great look at that, nice wide Tudor


front door. The bedroom door is the real test,


it is much narrower. That is tight. By the skin of our teeth it is in!


The bed is the centre piece of this room, but with 80 parts to assemble,


it is a race against time to get it up. Let's hope the Tudor bed is


easier, this is flat-pack turn furniture, Elizabethan style! While


the Queen Anne bed is flash and showy, with the crimson upholstery,


and golden brocade. Our Tudor four- poster has a rustic charm all of


its own. I wouldn't mind a kip in several layers of mattresses, so


Anna and the team get stuffing. The middle will be hollow fibre,


which we have here. This is our version of flock, which was bits of


wool, bits of ration, all stuffed in there. We will get pieces out


and ball it up. It would sag down a little bit. The important job was


to regularly tighten the ropes on could have a good night's sleep.


Night, night, sleep, tight, is the whole idea of the ropes tightly


strung. Both mattresses will be stuffed with feathers. That will be


lovely and soft, get it in and first time I have laid on a kitchen


is lying down, the curtains are going up.


You are smiling through, with flowers in your button hole. What


will be, will be. It is? We cut it fine, so many people running around


today, we will have a late night. I keep thinking I need a bit of time


in their place. You are not nervous about it? Not at the moment, you


can phone me about midnight tonight. I don't think I will. We don't want


a typical Stately Home kitchen, but something that reflects the tough


life below stairs during the First World War. We want to create this


sense of having to prepare stuff to go upstairs. It is very much the


upstairs downstairs thing. What we need to be cautious of is not


making it like a museum, not having tins stacked in way you might have


laid for a museum, but not for a working kitchen. It is 5.00, we are


handing over to the National Trust at 8.00am. All this stuff has to go


out of here, all this, the lights, the ladders. Everyone is very


casual about it, I'm getting really worried about it. OK are you happy?


point. We do. All right, I will crack on.


Just 15 hours to go and stacks to do. I think we better pick up the


Put all the pieces on the desk and Russell will choose which pieces he


will use. Nice to tuch, oak is always nice,


you get sensitive mouldings. I think there is an awful lot to do


before we hand over. It works, it works.


Oh my goodness, I absolutely hate it! Most of the heavy lifting has


now been done, I think. Not quite, Hannah. There is still


the small matter of the large dome I don't know about you Penny, but


I'm pleased to be out of there? Would you call it organised chaos.


I would call it disorganised chaos. There are so many people wandering


all right. Everyone is saying that and nobody is really cleaning up?


Someone asked me to clean and I said I wouldn't. Of course you


wouldn't? I asked Russell if he needed help he said I could make a


coffee? I think he needs coffee and a drink. He's coping OK. How many


people are in there? 40? Right, how many man hours does that make. It


will be all right on the night. Where are we going, down the pub?


Yes, I think so. I think the team are in for a very


long night. Russell has still got a dozen dead animals to hang before


he can go to bed. With all this stuff we sort out one


problem and move on to the next problem.


Time to lay my beautiful Ulster carpet. 1-2-3. Wow.


Lovely. Working at night is bad enough, but things are about to get


worse. What's happened, Tony. the power has gone. The whole


building is out. With so many lights on, we have blown the


electrics. Working in the dark, eh! Oh dear!


God are you all right! Where is your light Bar? In the van! Hurray!


Thank goodness, with power restored we can crack on.


It looks as though things are coming together. (laughing) Well,


almost. I'm so sorry. Is your foot all


right? The biggest challenge now is


exhaustion. I'm a little bit tired, but I'm already, everywhere you


turn there is something bread rolls in an apparently Victorian kitchen.


OK. Final touches to all the rooms are still being made. And our


embroiderers are settling in for the rest of the night. We have been


working for 11 hours solid, so that it can go on show tomorrow. Today!


Sorry. While Grant, Corin and Mark will be painting until they drop.


It is 4.00am and I'm knackered. think it's supposed to be Queen


aank reclining in this room, not the -- Queen Anne who is supposed


to be reclining in this room, not the work force.


Morning has broken, it's opening day. Well, we hope it is.


Morning. Good morning Penny. end. The great reveal. The handing


over. It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Any tears? Yes,


lots of them. Now, it was a bit chaotic last night, I think the


Trust are going to be here anywhere now. I will go and find them.Ly


and talk to Russell. I will meet Russell. I will meet you in there.


Good morning ladies, nice and early. Right, it's the big day. What are


your expectations? I think we have had a lot of debate in the National


Trust about Disneyfication and dumbing down, that is where we


might be open to comment. What are you going to do if you don't like


it? I would be surprised if we like single room. I think that would be


a massive ask. But as long as people have a reaction, then I


think we have really achieved something. Russell? You're up there.


I'm coming to get you. What is this? This was for this lamp, but I


got the wrong shape, so I have to go out here. What time did you get


done? I finished at 1.00am, and back at 6.00am. Have you had


breakfast? I have. The National Trust is on the way, and Paul will


meek them, we will start in the billiard room, I would like you


Trust don't like it we can't open. Everything rides on this viewing.


Hello, good morning. The time has come. We'll go in, come in.


Dan and Anna are looking nervous. The billiard room, ladies. Where


the gentleman would retire after dinner for billiards and a cigar.


This looks different from when we were last here, my word. What do


you think? I love the cases. All the books. I have never seen books


on these bookshelves. Have you not? It is lived in now. It is


astonishing, it feels like it has always been here. That went down


well. Next, the Tudor parlour.


We're going back to 1565. The Tudor room. The Tudor parlour. Complete


with wall hangings, coats of arms, and look what you are walking on.


Bull rush bath matting. Sarah what do you think visitors will make of


the room when they come in, it is concerned, they will be used to


seeing this amount of furniture in some of our Tudor houses. What they


will not be used to seeing is furniture as new. I think that is


one of the really exciting things here. That here we have got new oak


furniture. But made traditionally with the traditional skills.


Exactly. That was good too. What about our chaotic kitchen.


This is our Avebury Manor kitchen, circa 1911. We have saved some


washing up for you as well. Oh my word! It was a big dinner party!


This is fantastic, the amount of Victorian, beautifully laid out,


pristine kitchens we have in the Trust, you rarely get a sense of


the wind of labour and meanal drujry that happens in these


places really give you this kind of feel. I love it. Getting exciting


now. Exciting yes, but it is all going a


bit too well. The Tudor bedroom, we have given it a nightime feel.


go in, before you go in there, you will all need one of these. Russell.


Right, so here is our intimate Tudor bedroom. Here we are.


Take a look up there. I wondered about the ceiling emblems, seeing


them now, particularly as they tone so well with the frieze. I think


they look fantastic. Thumbs up for the painting ceiling, after all the


debates and discussions. Not for me, what we did have here before, was


simply white. With the spirit of the project, getting the colours


together, on a really fantastic room, perhaps we can accept it.


Mmmm, Lucy is obviously not converted. Now, for our most


controversial room, with its vibrant colour scheme.


Here we are ladies, come in, this is our Queen Anne bedroom. Wow.


This is ready for her visit. Sarah, what's your gosh? Well, you know


what I said when we were discussing this about marbling in bedrooms. I


think you did find some. In the royal palace in the Netherlands,


Queen Anne and Mary's bedrooms had marling. I'm thinking Netherlands,


Avebury Manor, marbling, very aspirational!


Oh dear, I think that was our first no-no. Let's hope our hand-painted


Chinese wallpaper thrills them. So come in here, the governor of


Jamaica's dining room. Look at our Chinese wallpaper. It is all about


Georgian elagance, the trade routes are open, and everything is


available. Do you know what I had in my mind's eye, it was not this.


I love this. Have you seen Avebury? I have seen it, look there.


Oh my goodness me. I think they like it.


The public are already gathering at the gate. Well it has been a great


team effort, you must have seen how many people there were here


the amount that's been achieved in the last six months is absolutely


astonishing. And Russell, thank you so much to you and all your


craftmen for just the fantastic work that you have all done. To


Anna and Dan, because actually the whole essence of this is the


authenticity. And just being true to history.


Well, that's thumbs up, then. Now for our real judges.


Hello everyone. Hello everyone, thank you so much for waiting, I


can't start to tell you how excited I am to show you the new manor, as


she is truly beautiful, I hope you agree, please do come in.


Wonderful trapsry, they are absolutely stunning. I love the


messy kitchen. I haven't been to one room I'm disappointed with.


of the day. A cup of tea mother. The table is hiding the best bit.


Look. Absolutely gorgeous, isn't it. With all the gold bits as well, it


does look a bit Las Vegas, isn't it. Yeah, it is really nice. Is this


before or after dinner. Sit back and relax. I think I would find it


overwhelming. Everything is useful and tactile, thankfully, no.


doesn't like to go behind closed single object, in every single room,


there is a story to tell. engaging with the craftsmen and the


all been enriched by the process. people, tears, crying, from the


National Trust, seeing the rooms, the beauty, coming back from the


grave, it is like the dead rising, it is a resurrection, it is. This


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 151 seconds


magic stuff going on, it is as I What an exhausting day? Well that's


it, it's all over. Everybody's gone home. Isn't it lovely and quiet.


What a day. What a day, and when you think what this room looked


house. It is extraordinary. Cast your mind back six months, I can


The final part of this fascinating series presented by Penelope Keith and Paul Martin on the reinvention of Avebury Manor sees designer Russell Sage and the historical experts rush to get the house finished for opening day. But with the wallpaper held up in customs, a Queen Anne bed that is too big for the room and a last minute dash for furnishings, how can it possibly come together in time? Will the National Trust accept the outlandish schemes, and what will the public make of it all?

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