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 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.
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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Its masterplan is the result of 12 months spent gathering and examining advice from heritage experts and the opinions of 1,500 members of the public who took part in a consultation process.
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.