Thursday, December 22, 2022

News: Work continues at Wentworth Woodhouse


A modern addition at Rotherham’s Wentworth Woodhouse is being demolished to create a visitor car park at the Grade I listed country house.

Rothbiz has been regularly reporting on plans for Wentworth's next phases in a programme of mixed-use regeneration, described as the most exciting and challenging heritage project of a generation, that will take up to two decades to deliver and will cost over £130m.

In 1950 the Lady Mabel College of Physical Education took over most of one of the largest and grandest stately homes in England.

The mansion’s famed Palladian East front, its Riding School and Stables, became classrooms and lodgings for students while Eric, the 9th Earl Fitzwilliam, and his family lived ‘at the back’ on the West Front.

The college built the ultra-modern 25-metre pool, complete with two diving boards, in 1972 for its female student P.E. teachers to practise swimming, lifesaving, canoeing and even a spot of synchronised swimming.

When the Lady Mabel College closed in 1979, Sheffield City Polytechnic took over and its sports students used the pool daily.

But after the Poly vacated in 1986, the pool, changing rooms and shower block fell into decline, along with a cluster of other breezeblock and timber classrooms built around it. Positioned close to the mansion’s main entrance, the decaying 70s buildings became an eyesore.

The bulldozers recently moved in and raised them to rubble. Contractors will now move in to transform the site into the first purpose-built visitor car park for Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, which bought the house in 2017.

The house has become one of South Yorkshire’s most popular tourist destinations and is driving the local economy. The new car park, with space for 181 cars, 10 motorcycles and 20 cycles, will replace the current rough-and-ready parking area beneath trees on the East Front of the house.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of the Trust explained: “Our temporary car park is poor-standard and is actually part of a Grade II* Registered Park. Cars marr beautiful, centuries-old views from the house.

“The 70s swimming pool and teaching buildings have an important place in the house’s history and we’ve learned many fascinating stories from people who used them, But they were very much at odds with our historic site and were in a terrible state.

“After lengthy expert and public consultation, and with RMBC planners’ approval, we can now get rid of two problem areas and build a brand new facility for visitors.

“The first phase of the car park should be finished in time for visitors to use next summer. People will be able to park very close to our main entrance and enter the house and gardens through the Stables and Mews Court, the old servants’ quadrant, areas plan to develop into an exciting visitor offer.”

Rothbiz has reported on plans being approved to convert part of the magnificent stables for use as a production kitchen and another part for a 120 cover café catering for visitors.

Another application includes the conversion of the stable's south range, the riding school and "Ostler’s House." The riding school is set to be converted into a large conference and events space capable of holding 600+ wedding guests.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: Wentworth Woodhouse


Anonymous,  January 2, 2023 at 11:00 AM  

Surely £130 million would be better spent on creating more green spaces in the town centre.........

Anonymous,  January 3, 2023 at 2:48 PM  

It’s private investment from wentworth woodhouse preservation trust .. nothing to do with RMBC

Anonymous,  January 3, 2023 at 7:18 PM  

Not 'all' private investment. £7+ million in Government grant, £4 million from National Lottery, money from National Trust and also asking for public donations.

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