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Finishing touches needed ahead of Auckland Castle opening
1:53pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
THE woman responsible for keeping Auckland Castle in pristine condition is working hard ahead of its re-opening next month.
Elise Latcham, of Bishop Auckland, has been the housekeeper for the past 14 years and is busy ensuring the state rooms, historic chapel and public areas are in top condition ahead of Easter Monday.
Her work includes polishing more than 100 candlesticks, washing paintwork, cleaning thousands of square feet of floor space and dusting dozens of pieces of antique furniture.
Mrs Latcham said: “I love my job and the place itself and even though I’ve worked here for so long, I still notice new features all of the time.”
The long-awaited multi-million pound sale of the castle - for centuries, home to the bishops of Durham - and the famous Zurbaran paintings from the Church Commissioners to philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer was completed last year.
The public will be able to enjoy guidebooks, enhanced guided tours, a children's trail and a new tea room.
In addition, a new exhibition of religious artwork will also be in place for the opening. Seven paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, including works by Spanish painter and printmaker Giuseppe Ribera, will take pride of place in the King Charles Room.
Work is underway on a master plan for the future of the castle and its gardens in the hope of attracting at least 120,000 visitors a year.
Admission is £8 for adults, £6 for concessions, £4 for children and £20 for a family ticket. Throughout April it will be open on Sundays and Mondays from 11am to 4pm and from May 1 the castle will open every day except Tuesdays between 10.30am and 4pm.