Artisan skills to be passed on as part of Wentworth Woodhouse masterplan

Heritage construction skills will be passed on to a new generation as part of an ambitious new masterplan to transform a Yorkshire mansion and its gardens into a 'world-class' visitor attraction

The Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham.

The blueprint for the revival of Grade I-listed Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham has been launched at a Downing Street reception today.

The masterplan includes the creation of an “artisan construction school” to teach heritage and restoration construction skills to local people.

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Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust owns the 18th century Georgian house and said it would be releasing more details of its 220-page masterplan tomorrow.

The charitable trust, which acquired the estate from private ownership for £7m, said it aims to make Wentworth Woodhouse “as famous as in its 18th century heyday, when it was on a par with Chatsworth House and Blenheim Palace”.

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Julie Kenny, who chairs the trust, said: “For three centuries the house was the hub of social and economic life across South Yorkshire and we intend to make it so once again.”

A key aim of the trust is to restore and protect the 87-acre estate’s listed features and to create a financially secure future for a site with a troubled past.

When the trust took on the estate last March, the fabric of the buildings and its grounds were in a critical state of decay. The buildings were riddled with asbestos, drains had collapsed and there was widespread dry rot, leaking roofs, rotting timbers and deteriorating stonework.

A £7.6m government grant, has allowed the trust to embark on a programme of roof repairs which will protect the mansion’s decorated rooms, created by the Marquess of Rockingham and the Earls of Fitzwilliam.