As the scaffolding comes down following urgent repairs to the main part of Wentworth Woodhouse, work will soon begin on each end of the famed East Front, thanks to a grant from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
The Culture Recovery Fund is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.
Scaffolding will be erected next month and work is scheduled to start in January, thanks to Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) being announced as one of 162 organisations to be successful in the latest round of the fund.
More than £9m has been allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to ensure jobs and access to arts, culture and heritage in local communities are protected in the months ahead.
Historic England has allocated £3,971,513 in awards from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of a £120m capital investment from the Culture Recovery Fund, to restart construction and maintenance projects facing delays or increased costs as a result of the pandemic and save specialist livelihoods in the sector.
WWPT was awarded £468,300 in an earlier round of the fund.
Over the last three years, roof repairs have been ongoing over Wentworth Woodhouse’s Riding School and the central block of State Rooms,the eastern section of the Long Gallery, its Bedlam Wing and Chapel.
The emergency grant now means roofs over the Grade I listed mansion’s North Pavilion, North and South Quadrants, the Meter House and a further section of the Long Gallery can also be made safe.
This will protect rooms below, contribute to the building’s sustainability and support jobs in construction and traditional crafts, such as stonemasonry and lead-working.
Sarah McLeod, CEO of WWPT, said: “We are incredibly grateful to receive this very generous Heritage At Risk Repair Grant.
“Over the last three years a huge amount of vital repair work has been undertaken to protect the buildings and their beautiful architectural features.
“This grant means we can now tackle other roofs in a number of Grade I listed areas which are also in a critical state of decay.
“Wentworth Woodhouse is arguably the greatest and most challenging restoration project for a generation and the strong relationship we have with Historic England is of immense support to us, in particular their team based in York. They are always on hand with expert guidance.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, said: “This funding is a lifeline which is kickstarting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of Covid-19.
“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help to keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”
Images: WWPT / Hirst Conservation