Abbey Group

People are talking!

When our oak dining table was damaged during our move we didn’t for a minute think that anyone would be able to restore it to its former state. The table was a wedding present, and so we are thrilled that you have not only repaired the damage so well that we can’t even tell where it was, but the table looks better than it has in years. I’m sure we’ll be back in future, and will be recommending your restoration services to our friends

James and Vanessa

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Fire and flood

We have extensive experience of providing restoration and repair from fire, flood and accidental damage.

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Bespoke furniture

Our craftsmen create bespoke furniture to meet your exact needs.

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Antique Furniture Restoration

We have extensive experience of providing restoration and repair from fire.

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We work with insurers to ensure a seamless service with one point of contact.

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Splashing out, how to cope with flooding

6th January 2015


We are entering the months when the weather becomes wet and gloomy and in many parts of the UK, floods are an ever-present threat. Last year in particular, high water levels across the British Isles caused widespread damage, including the destruction by floodwater of many pieces of antique furniture and art work.

When the river levels in Oxfordshire’s section of the River Thames began to rise in January last year, the management team at Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds began to be worried about the safety of the many pieces of rare and valuable furniture in the Grade 1 listed building.

The Manor was the home of writer and designer William Morris in the late part of the 19th century and among the items under risk were several pieces of art, plus some large items of furniture. To save the furniture from water damage, the management called in a company that specialises in transporting and preserving art and museum pieces. Items of manageable size were stored upstairs, while larger pieces were either dismantled and carried upstairs to safety or placed on raised wooden platforms so the water flowed underneath.

While Kelmscott was in the fortunate position of being able to call on expert help, what steps can we take to ensure that our antique treasures are safe from flood water damage?

  • As soon as you receive a flood warning move any transportable items, such as rugs, books and smaller pieces of furniture to safety - either away from the potential flood or to an upstairs room. 
  • For larger pieces of furniture, place a pallet or wooden block under the legs/base to lift it clear of the water flow.

If you do suffer flooding then there are actions you can take to minimise damage:

  • Ventilate the house by opening all doors and windows
  • Lift carpets and remove from the house as the water might be contaminated. Also, carpets hold water and this will slow the drying process
  • Remove furniture from the water as soon as possible. Even if there is no longer water lying on the ground, there may still be a lot of moisture in the atmosphere
  • If the furniture is too heavy to remove, place aluminium foil between the furniture legs and the floor to stop the absorption of water by the furniture
  • Remove wet upholstery, such as cushions or chair seats as these will retain moisture for longer than wood. If there is only slight damage these may dry out completely but, like carpets, upholstered fabrics will retain moisture and this could be contaminated and you may need to discard these
  • Keep photographs and books as cool as possible, remove excess water but do not attempt to dry them. If possible put books in the freezer as this will speed the drying process
  • Take photographs of all damaged goods for insurance purposes
  • Finally, do not assume that flood damaged goods are irrevocably damaged, a good restorer may be able to help

If you are unlucky enough to suffer flood damage, then inspect your damaged furniture carefully, it is important that you are able to put sentiments aside. While some pieces may be worth the time and effort of salvaging them and taking them to an antique restorer, other pieces will be beyond repair. Take into account the monetary cost of salvage and repair and weigh it up against the value of the piece. Of course, there will be some pieces that are family heirlooms or that have sentimental value that outweighs the cost of repair.

Key points to remember:

In the event of a flood warning, prepare for the worst.

Try to keep wood away from water by elevating it or placing aluminium between the base of the furniture and the floor.

If fabric gets wet, try to dry it immediately to prevent mould and mildew. If it is more than 20 per cent wet, then it is likely to be contaminated and should be discarded.

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