Friday, February 1, 2019

News: Work starts on new phase of urgent repairs at Wentworth Woodhouse

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Contractors are on site to carry out the next phase of much-needed repair works to Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham - "the greatest restoration project for a generation."

Rothbiz reported in December on the latest proposals for the second phase of conservation repairs to the mansion house.

Listed building consent has been granted and Woodhead Group has been selected by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) to carry out the work - not least the repair, restoration and replacement of the building's 16,000+ sq ft roof.

The £5m phase of work will see the Woodhead Group deliver major conservation work over the next two years and is all part of the masterplan for the historic Grade I listed mansion which aims to create a world-class visitor attraction with local heritage and culture exhibitions and a focus firmly on the restoration task.

Julie A Kenny, CBE DL, chair of the WWPT, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Woodhead Group on what is arguably the greatest restoration project for a generation. The roof repairs that form the bulk of this phase of works are critical, as water ingress has caused so much damage in recent years. This vital work will make a very real difference in halting the decline of the mansion."

Woodhead's work to the roof is being facilitated by a huge £1.1m scaffold system, covering the exterior of the dramatic façade of the building. A canopy covering the roof will protect the building, enabling the works to be carried out.

A very accessible project, the scaffolding includes fully accessible public walkways, where managed tours can be taken around the works safely, to view progress and help to understand the significance of the site.

Work also needs to take place to take down and repair the prominent statues and urns that adorn the roof.

Woodhead's work on the project will also include some remedial repairs and conservation to the interiors, including the east front and oak staircase, the eastern portion of the block containing the Long Gallery, the south-east pavilion, north-east pavilion, the portico floor and the east front lamp standards.

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Craig Pygall, construction director for Woodhead Group, said: "We are delighted to be working on such a prestigious project. We have a dedicated and experienced project team, eager to be a part of the Wentworth Woodhouse story; helping breathe life into this phenomenal and nationally significant part of our built heritage."

The project will be managed by father-daughter team, Andy and Amy Stamford, who have worked together on heritage projects such as Bridgford Hall in Nottinghamshire, and a more recent tourism project in Sherwood Forest, creating a new visitor centre for the RSPB.

Chancellor Philip Hammond awarded a grant of £7.6m to WWPT in autumn 2016, which is being managed by Historic England. The initial roofing works of this phase are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

The Woodhead Group will work closely with conservation architects Donald Insall Associates.

Tony Barton, Chairman of Donald Insall Associates, said: "We have already seen significant progress so far in repairing the roof on the south east wing and we look forward to continuing our vital work on the east front of Wentworth Woodhouse – these repairs will ensure sustainable use of the building for generations to come."

The masterplan from the preservation trust which owns the house will need £150m to realise. For the main house, the future uses will include the main visitor attraction, commercial units, catering and luxury holiday accommodation.

Cafés, fine dining, holiday lets, self-contained apartments, commercial units, administrative space, visitor facilities, events space suitable for weddings and retail units all feature in the plans.

Wentworth Woodhouse website
Woodhead Group website

Images: Tom Austen

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