IT has been a huge time of change and discovery for staff and visitors at one of Northumberland’s historic attractions.

Seven rooms containing more than 2,000 pieces of important collection were emptied to allow a detailed survey to take place on the ceilings at Wallington Hall.

The Pietro Lafrachini ceilings dating from 1740s had to be mapped and measured and, to allow this to take place, the south wing of the house was cleared.

House steward Charlotte Hawley said: “We are really lucky to have some of the best examples of Pietro Lafrachini’s work.

“They have been up there a long time and if you start to look closely you can notice a few cracks. We really needed to have a look at them to see what was going on and check their condition and stability. This work is nationally important and it’s really all about us looking after what we have got here.”

Wallington staff are now awaiting the results of the survey, but while work has been ongoing it has presented new opportunities and findings at the former home of the Trevelyan family, now run by the National Trust.

Charlotte explained that among the 2,000 items that had to be moved were 88 pieces of furniture, 152 textiles, 168 ceramics and three pieces of taxidermy.

“Everything had to find new homes and we had to turn other rooms into storage rooms,” she explained. "Visitors have been really interested in what we were doing.”

As part of the survey, floorboards had to be lifted on the floors above, and under the Trevelyan bedroom, pieces of plaster were found with the original William Morris Wallpaper still attached. This was taken off by the trust in the 1960s. Now staff have learnt that the wallpaper design had previously been the ‘Horn Poppy’ designed by May Morris in 1885.

Another find included a sweet wrapper from 1968, the year that the National Trust opened Wallington to the public.