Wednesday, May 31, 2017

News: Tenders out for Wentworth Woodhouse restoration

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Leading firms and local suppliers are being offered the once in a lifetime chance to work on the restoration of one of the country's grandest stately homes - Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham.

A £7m deal for the largest privately-owned house in Europe was recently concluded by The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) which is working on plans for a sustainable business case for its secure future.

With the support of Historic England, the public body that looks after England's historic environment, the tender process is underway to find a conservation accredited architect to work on the project.

The £650,000 contract is for architectural services for the substantive repair to the House, Stable Block and Riding School. Phase I will cover the repair of the roofs of the South-East Wing (known as "Bedlam") and the Riding School. Phase II will focus upon the repair of the centre of the East Front (central nineteen bays), Chapel, Oak Staircase and Grand Staircase.

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Wentworth Woodhouse's claim to glory is as a superb example of two of the greatest architectural styles Britain produced – the baroque of Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor and the Palladianism pioneered by the architect Earl of Burlington.

Strangely for so great and famous a house the architects have never been firmly identified, though the richly detailed Baroque West front has echoes of Vanbrugh's Castle Howard while the long east front is attributed to Lord Burlington's protegee Henry Flitcroft.

The six column Corinthian portico is one of the most beautiful in English architecture, surpassing even those of the National Gallery and St Martin's-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square.

The WWPT has also begun the tender process for quantity surveyors to work on the two phased restoration project. The contract is worth an estimated £175,000.
With the tender process underway, the Trust has invited interest from contractors to carry out urgent roofing repairs on the house and outbuildings. The work includes both temporary and permanent repairs to lead and slate roofs throughout the property including the Mansion House and Stable Block, as well as works to high-level rainwater goods.

Under the ownership of the WWPT, the restoration and development will provide jobs, stimulate local employment and open the property to the public on a regular basis. The North wing is set to host a huge range of weddings and events and the stables will become home to dynamic small businesses. Within the 18th century house and outbuildings more than a dozen apartments and cottages will be restored as lets for holiday makers.

The aim is preserve the house and grounds on a long term sustainable basis and raise funds for repairs and other essential works. The total cost of repairs could be over £50m. Parts of Wentworth Woodhouse will continue to be open to public while phased repairs continue.

As well as trades people, the WWPT is still recruiting staff to the support the restoration. The latest being an events manager and a volunteer coordinator.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: Wentworth Woodhouse / Savills

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