I have noticed a complete change taking over in the office of the house that I occasionally volunteer at. There was for years just a couple of desperately battered old armchairs for the staff to fight over. These oth eaten old things looked awful, smelt dreadful and in the end had to go I suspect because the office furniture needed to reflect the professionalism of the office staff using them. Of course it is always difficult when the staff are paid for by the trustees or a charity – therein goes the thought that no cash can be spared for backroom luxury. The upkeep of historic houses is hard enough as it is. However when grants and heritage lottery funding is sought, a certain amount of bigwid handpressing comes into play and you can’t ask them to visit and expect them to not notice. Professional furniture for professional workers is the way forward.