Tuesday, July 18, 2023

News: £5.1m of work begins at Wentworth Woodhouse stables


Restoration work is about to begin at Wentworth Woodhouse’s derelict Georgian stables, which were the biggest and costliest in England when they were built for their fabulously wealthy owner.

Planning permission was secured last year to convert part of the magnificent stables for use as a production kitchen and another part for a 120 cover café catering for visitors as they arrive and leave the Grade I listed architectural jewel.

The work is being funded with £4.6m of the Government’s £20m Levelling Up investment in Rotherham, which was secured by Rotherham Council to help improve the town’s leisure economy and skills. Historic England is providing £500,000 of partnership funding, bringing the total invested in this project at Wentworth Woodhouse to £5.1m.

When the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) took over in 2017, along with the Palladian mansion, The Stables were in a sorry state.

After spending six years on urgent repairs to the mansion, and most recently renovating a derelict Camellia House, the Trust is beginning the first stage of its ambitious plan to regenerate The Stables.

The south-west corner of The Stables will in future become the main arrival point for Wentworth Woodhouse visitors - and as a result of this project, will house a production kitchen, with a new café and events space to follow.

The 2,100 sq ft kitchen will enable more catering outlets to be developed at what is fast becoming one of South Yorkshire’s most popular tourist destinations, and will be able to provide training for hospitality and catering skills, helping to address local skills shortages in the sector.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of WWPT, said: "This first stage of developing The Stables, part of a much wider regeneration programme we have planned for this enormous site, is only possible thanks to Rotherham Council’s determined and successful bid for Levelling Up investment, and the support of Historic England.

“It will help us to draw more visitors, which will further boost this region’s tourist economy and help us to employ more people. The kitchen will be a very valuable asset for delivering one of the Trust’s key aims - developing the skills of local people.”

Leader of Rotherham Council, Cllr. Chris Read, added: “The Council aims to grow Rotherham’s leisure economy by making the most of our unique assets and green spaces and investing in training to support jobs in this sector.

“Wentworth Woodhouse is a local gem and these improvements will help in making it a spectacular visitor attraction to be enjoyed by locals and visitors for years to come.”

Heritage construction specialist William Birch & Sons Ltd and heritage architects Donald Insall Associates, who recently restored the Grade II* listed Camellia House, have been appointed to The Stables kitchen and café project.

From the late 1940s to the 1970s, areas were converted into classrooms and sports facilities for students of the Lady Mabel College of Physical Education, which opened in 1950.

Some newer additions have already been demolished and buildings that attach the Riding School to the main stable block will then be extended to accommodate the new kitchens. The courtyard area between the carriage houses and riding school will be opened up.

Described as the most exciting and challenging heritage project of a generation, the projects at Wentworth Woodhouse will take up to two decades to deliver and will cost over £130m.

A further planning application set out plans for the other buildings around the stables. It includes the conversion of the Riding School into a large conference and events space, and the restoration of "Ostler's House" to use it for overnight accommodation.

The Stable Block was created for the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham by architect John Carr of York. When completed in 1782 it was the largest private stables in the country, and remained so until the late 1900s. It boasted stables for 84 hunting, riding, and carriage horses.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT / Donald Insall Associates


Jez July 19, 2023 at 4:50 PM  

Wonderful to see so much activity renovating what was once the sole preserve of one wealthy family for the benefit of us all. Well done to the Preservation Trust for putting Rotherham well and truly on the map and for positive reasons.

Anonymous,  July 20, 2023 at 12:20 AM  

Is that when it's not referred to as near Sheffield or even Barnsley!

Jez July 20, 2023 at 10:48 AM  

The Preservation Trust is always at pains to stress that the house is in Rotherham

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