A new TV series “Cleaning Britain’s Greatest Treasures’ features the National Railway Museum (NRM) which will be on More4 this summer
The TV series is by Whitworth Media and sees the museum’s conservation team cleaning and maintaining the NER/LNER Dynamometer Car and Queen Victoria’s opulent LNWR saloon carriage.
The series is narrated by Sheridan Smith and follows work by dedicated conservation cleaners who take on the work of looking after our national treasures. Locations which also feature in the series include stately homes, historic churches and museums.
The series hopes to demonstrate and record the impressive techniques and tricks of the trade used in cleaning and preserving historical artefacts with each show following cleaners at three locations in the UK.
The first series features the mystery behind a Constable masterpiece that may be solved in its cleaning; the restoration of an outstanding mantelpiece at Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop Farmhouse in the Lake District; the extremely intricate cleaning of Queen Victoria’s silk-laden Royal Saloon railway carriage; and discovering how to clean the delicate Portland limestone carvings of a London church.
The NRM will feature in the first episode which is set to be broadcast during July and will see the museum’s cleaners take on two of its most important carriages, the 1906 Dynamometer Car, which tested steam locomotives and famously authenticated Mallard’s world speed record in 1938, and Queen Victoria’s lavish 1869 carriage.
The National Railway Museum has a dedicated conservation team which is supported by volunteers who work to make sure that the collection looks its very best for visitors.
The first episode sees retired conservation assistant Chris Binks return to supervise trainee conservator, Shoun Obana as they take on the cleaning of the two carriages. The duo first tackle the Dynamometer Car, which is displayed next to Mallard and is full of antique, analogue recording equipment. The episode offers a glimpse inside the carriage, which is only usually able to be viewed through the windows.
The second part sees Chris and Shoun inside the Royal Saloon of Queen Victoria’s LNWR private train. This time Chris supervises from outside as Shoun carefully cleans silk fabrics and delicate gilded plasterwork and offers insights into how the royals used to travel by train.
Emma Hogarth, Conservation and Collection Care Manager said:
“Programmes such as this can be an important way to let people know about the conservation and cleaning work that goes on behind the scenes to help look after the national collection and I am looking forward to seeing the National Railway Museum episode later this summer.”
The NRM has previously been featured on several TV shows this year, such as the BBC’s Bargain Hunt, The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys on Channel Five and the replica Rocket also made a brief appearance in Gentleman Jack.
Alongside the display of six royal carriages in Station Hall, the museum has launched a temporary exhibition in Great Hall called Royals on Rails which focuses on the British royals’ love of railway travel.
To find out more please visit: https://www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/royals-rails