Thursday, March 26, 2020

News: Vital work continues at Wentworth Woodhouse


The coronavirus pandemic forced the mansion to halt its tours and events and close to visitors last week but vital roof repairs are continuing at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham.

Heritage construction workers can be seen carrying out vital tasks to ensure the project keeps on schedule for as long as possible.

Halting work adds expense. Some £30,000 is needed every month for costs including hire of scaffold and contractor facilities, security systems, health and safety measures and insurance.

Roof slates from the Make Your Mark in History campaign, which raised over £45,000 and enabled supporters to have slates engraved with personal messages, are now being placed over the East Front portico.

"In the meantime, a very carefully-managed roof work programme is keeping the building safe," said Dame Julie Kenny CBE, founder and chair of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT).

A representative for Woodhead Group, which is carrying out Phase 2 of the Trust's Capital Works, said: "Workers on the roof are following government guidelines to the letter.

"We have implemented daily health-screening questionnaires, created extra hand-washing and cleaning facilities and staggered break times to ensure we are social distancing. 

"We are fortunate to have a vast site and operatives can work well away from each other.

"We are working really closely with our supply chain partners and subcontractors to continue as normally as possible while protecting the safety of everyone."


Tom Woodhead, Business Services Director for Woodhead Group, said: "With the enhanced measures we have put in place on all our sites, we have been able to maintain progress and have a plan in place to continue for as long as government guidelines allow.

"I would like to thank our project team and supply chain partners for their can-do attitude, particularly over the last week to keep us on track in these difficult times."

The WWPT took over the house in 2017. Its staff of 52 is being paid until the end of March.

The Trust is waiting to find out whether it can access government financial initiatives such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announced on Friday March 30, to keep its team.

The 212 volunteers, who gave over 22,333 hours of unpaid support last year, have been stood down.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT), said: "Keeping people safe is our absolute priority right now.

"Wentworth Woodhouse will re-open in style as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is over and we want everyone back in force - all our staff, volunteers and loyal supporters."

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT / Woodhead


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