Thursday, August 21, 2014

News: Wentworth Woodhouse - Makers, Miners and Money

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Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham, the largest privately-owned house in Europe, has been highlighted as a key site in an international project to promote tourism around famous industrial heritage.

The European Route of Industrial Heritage brings together anchor points and key sites on various themes across North West Europe, "the cradle of the Industrial Revolution." Securing finance from the EU, member states joined together to encourage the appreciation, understanding, protection and promotion of their common history as a means of achieving economic growth.

This week saw the official launch of a new route between Huddersfield, Sheffield and Barnsley - the heart of Yorkshire's Industrial Revolution. Called "Makers, Miners and Money" the route highlights the huge contribution this region played in shaping Europe's industrial past, and includes anchor points at the National Coal Mining Museum of England, Kelham Island Industrial Museum and the village of Elsecar.

Also included are Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth Castle Gardens and seven other sites in the region that reflect the wealth, power and enterprise of a great industrial age of coal, iron and steel.

Wentworth Woodhouse is a symbol of the wealth and ambition of the Fitzwilliam family, with much of the wealth coming from the local coal mining operations that they owned. It actually includes two houses of totally different architectural styles, built by The First Marquess of Rockingham between 1725 and 1750. The west front of the house in the baroque style and the east front, some 615 ft long, in the later palladian style.

The stunning house, which is now open to tours, is also part of the project's route charting the mining industry in Europe alongside sites in Westphalia in Germany, and Li├Ęge and Mons in Belgium.

The Fitzwilliams owned the ironworks and workshops at Elsecar as well as other iron works and collieries between Barnsley and Rotherham. Vastly wealthy, the family also built the railway line and works housing adjoining Elsecar.

To celebrate the newly announced heritage route, the Earl of Fitzwilliam's 1913 Simplex car, made the journey from its home at Kelham Island Museum back to the village of Elsecar. As a director of the company, The 7th Earl "Billy Fitzbilly" brought production of Brotherhood-Crocker cars from Peterborough to a factory at Tinsley in Sheffield.

Wentworth Woodhouse website
Makers, Miners and Money website
European Route of Industrial Heritage website

Images: Johnson Cameraface on flickr, used under Creative Commons license / ERIH

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