Blenheim Palace’s Annual Deep Clean and Vital Clock Repairs are Underway

Blenheim Palaces's Annual Deep Clean and Vital Clock Repairs are Underway

In preparation for welcoming visitors to experience Britain’s Greatest Palace for the new year, The Oxfordshire Estate, Blenheim Palace, Home to the Dukes of Marlborough since 1705, has announced that its annual deep clean to keep the stately home in pristine condition is underway.

The deep clean of Blenheim Palace includes everything from silverware and sculptures to tables and tapestries, including 18 clocks, 38 pieces of armour and 40 busts and sculptures. Each needs special attention and techniques for quality preservation, using distilled water and no aerosol sprays.

One of the team members using a small brush on a decorative piece

The process started in the Library on Sunday, 7th January, which will take approximately eight days, with the whole of Blenheim Palace taking 6-8 weeks in total to complete.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site invites visitors to learn about the vital work they carry out on the magnificent rooms and extensive collection of artefacts, with the opportunity to hear from experts on the methods used to restore and repair the building and collections within it.

Restoration and conservation tours will run daily between Thursday, 4th January – and Thursday, 16th February 2024.

A female member of the team using a natural bristle brush to clean an Ormolu clock

Natural cleaning products, bristle brushes, and old-fashioned elbow grease are being used by a team of cleaners as they embark on the annual New Year deep cleaning of Blenheim Palace.

The team also adopted new technologies, such as museum vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, as each room has to be carefully stripped of all the furniture and artefacts and vacuumed from floor to ceiling.

A member of the team carefully cleaning

Kate Ballenger, Keeper of Palace and Collections, said, “Every year a whole team of specialists come together to undertake our vital deep clean. The process involves review, restoration, and thorough cleaning specific to each type of item, which is part of our continuous conservation work.

Allowing visitors to see this first hand on a tour is incredibly exciting as it gives us the chance to show the immense effort that goes into preserving the past for future generations to enjoy.”

Alongside the annual cleaning, vital repairs and restoration to the Clock Tower are being undertaken in January. The Clock Tower connects the East Courtyard to the Great Court, and the East Courtyard houses all of the services for the Palace.

The clock, which has four faces and three bells, was made by Langley Bradley in 1710. Langley Bradley was the Master of the Clockmakers Company and made the original clock (circa 1706) for St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The conservators will be completing the following significant repairs: gaining access to the dials using scaffolding and disconnecting all four dials from the clock, removing hands from all dials, inspecting the north dial hand and spindle ends, and then withdrawing the dial motion works from all four dials.

A photograph of the clock dial, which is adorned with a gold crown

They will then remove the equipment and return the dial works and clock hand to Blenheim Palace’s workshop, where the items will be fully stripped and cleaned.

A new minute spindle for the west dial will be specially manufactured and once returned to the site, the dial motion works will be lubricated and installed, as well as the hands. Finally, all four dials will be synchronized with the clock, and hammer check springs will be adjusted.

Amongst these conservation and restoration projects, a ceiling survey in the Great Hall and Saloon is being done during January to gather an accurate assessment before a planned roof project.

The Restoration and Conservation tours are included with a Blenheim Palace ticket, including Palace, Park and Gardens, Annual Pass, or a Privilege Pass.

For more information and to book tickets, visit

An elevated view of the historic property in bright sunshineBlenheim Palace's Annual Deep Clean and Vital Clock Repairs are Underway 2

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