Friday, March 17, 2017

News: £1.2m in heritage funding for Elsecar and Wentworth


The potential of the South Yorkshire villages of Elsecar and Wentworth as major visitor destinations has been recognised by a partnership that has been successful in winning a grant of £1.2m to deliver activities focused on rich heritage stories.

Created by Barnsley Council and Rotherham Council, the partnership has secured a slice of £20m from the Great Place Scheme, a pilot project backed by National Lottery funds that aims to put culture at the heart of residents' future prosperity and wellbeing.

Using money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, the project hopes to raise the aspirations of young people in the local area and help them achieve their potential using new, innovative channels of engagement. The funding will deliver a range of exciting cultural activity, inspired by the rich history linked to the fascinating Wentworth Woodhouse and Earl Fitzwilliam's industrial empire at Elsecar.

Through their combined efforts, capacity building and skill sharing the partnership will create a child focused programme tackling critical issues facing the Boroughs such as educational attainment and health and wellbeing. This will be achieved in a variety of ways such as; events, cultural activities and creating opportunities for economic growth.

The areas have the potential to become major visitor destinations and create economic growth and prosperity thanks to the important heritage. Several other attractions in the Boroughs have already benefited from National Lottery funding (including the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley and Clifton Park in Rotherham), boosting community engagement and the towns' visitor economies. This new funding will allow both Boroughs to increase levels of engagement in culture and tackle social issues using powerful heritage stories to reignite local pride and ambition.


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. The Grade I listed country house in Rotherham has the longest façade of any country house in England.

With the backing of a £7.6m Government grant and under the ownership of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) the big house is set to be restored and developed to 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 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.

Cllr. Yasseen, cabinet member for culture and neighbourhoods at Rotherham Council, said: "This is a real testament to Rotherham Council's renewed focus on culture, creating a new department and leadership role for culture, sport and tourism. The investment demonstrates that external funders and partners understand the significance of Rotherham's important heritage and culture to the borough and to the nation.

"This exciting project will create many new opportunities for local people, particularly young people, to participate in the arts and in a host of high quality creative activities. Local people can look forward to new events and new opportunities to experience our astonishing heritage."

Sharon Gill, chief executive of Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR), and a partner in the project, added: "The team at ROAR are thrilled with the success of this bid and what it means for the communities around Elsecar and Wentworth, and are looking forward to exploring new ways of working with heritage services and our neighbours in Barnsley in the creative and cultural provision for young people and their families."

Images: Savills


Anonymous,  March 20, 2017 at 2:18 PM  

Wentworth Woodhouse is haunted and absolutely terrifying what goes on in that building.

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