Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hall's Hidden Treasures Take to the Wing Once Again

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hall's Hidden Treasures Take to the Wing Once Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

THEY didn't call the TV programme Cash in the Attic for nothing. Objects stashed away as today's surplus items can turn into tomorrow's curiosities - or even treasures.

Most people would tackle a packed attic locked for years with a sense of anticipation about what might turn up.

But there are attics and attics. At the National Trust's Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, staff have been working their way through what is the time capsule equivalent of an 18th Century attic.

The East Wing of the hall has been largely locked up for arouns 1d 70 years because of the structural uncertainty.

It was used by the late Lord and Lady Hastings as storage space, and also accommodated German Prisoners of War in the 1940s.

Now the trust is carrying out major repairs on the East Wing, which has involved cloaking it in scaffolding and a white "tent" to allow work to continue protected from the weather.

The wing is being given a new stainless steel roof, while stonework is being repaired or replaced and the interior rooms attended to.

That means the contents of the wing have been removed, with all the discoveries that has entailed.

"People passing by have been wondering what is going on inside the white tent," says hall building surveyor Cheryl Moore.

"We have been finding everything from boxes of costumes to a fire extinguisher with German instructions and the prisoners' dartboard. It has been full from floor to ceiling."

Notices in German and graffiti left by the PoWs are still in place and the trust is trying to trace the records of the men who left their names behind.

A star find has been the robes worn by Lord Hastings to the Queen's coronation, which will be hopefully restored and put on show for this summer's 60th anniversary of the royal event.

A theatrical set wall hanging echoes the love of the Delaval family for staging plays. …

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