North West Wales

Preserving the nation's wallpaper at Erddig Hall

Jeremy Cragg from Erddig
Image caption Jeremy Cragg from Erddig with an example of wallpaper from 'below the stairs'

Whether it is wood chip or William Morris, there are many forms of wallpaper.

And the National Trust, which holds one of the world's biggest collections, has started cataloguing every scrap in its collection.

Members have been meeting at the trust's Erddig Hall, Wrexham, where there is already an extensive collection with the oldest dated to the early 1700s.

"We care for paper in all sorts of contexts," said Joanne Hodgson, assistant house steward at Erddig.

"It's on walls, ceilings, inside boxes and cupboards, fragments that have been found behind water pipes and skirting boards, and even a miniature collection in our dolls' house.

"We also have one of the oldest exactly dated wallpapers at Erddig date stamped 1714."

Image caption Erddig Hall's earliest example of wallpaper dates from 1714

The wallpaper working group is trying to decide how best to catalogue its wallpaper given most of its examples remain in situ.

Erddig's grand rooms are lined with early examples of wallpaper from China, inventors of the fashion for wall lining 2,000 years ago and which was later taken on by the French.

But it is below the stairs, in the servants' quarters, where there are equally impressive examples, even though these were considered "cheap" examples from the 19th and 20th Century.

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