Another Phase of Restoration Completed at Wentworth Woodhouse

The elegant towers that ‘bookend’ the spectacular Palladian East Front of Wentworth Woodhouse are the pair to match once again.

The Grade I listed architectural jewel in Rotherham is currently undergoing a program of mixed-use regeneration, described as the most exciting and challenging heritage project of a generation, which will take up to two decades to deliver and It will cost over £130m.

The South and North Pavilions were the first Marquesses to finalize their ever-expanding Georgian stately home in Rockingham.

As with the mansion’s vast areas, the pavilions had been damaged by leaking roofs over the years, causing considerable damage to the rooms below.

The two have now had their roofs and exteriors repaired by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, as part of a 20-year masterplan to save the house from degradation.

After finishing repairs to leaking roofs in the most historically significant interiors in the mansion during the pandemic, the Trust turned its attention to the North Pavilion.

It was restored in 2021, using a £811,000 grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund administered by Historic England, which also paid for repairs to the mansion’s north and south quadrants and the roof of Long Gallery West.

Boasting golden clock faces and a gilded weather vane, suddenly the northern pavilion outweighed its southern counterpart.

The Trust quickly raised funds for its repairs and a £885,800, seven-month exterior restoration, carried out by a team of highly skilled heritage experts, began in November.

Until this summer, the pavilions were once again a pair.

The project was led by award-winning architect Donald Insall Associates. Conservation architect, Dorian Proudfoot, said: “This brought together skilled heritage roof makers, top conservation metal workers, lead-workers and skilled stone masons.

See also  To become a standalone technology company to accelerate the expansion and expansion of its patented marketing data analytics products with a focus on BAM™ AI and Automation

“It is a privilege to continue the restoration of the much-important Flitcroft East Front in Wentworth.

“We worked with the same quality materials and methods we used originally and added modern design tweaks to make improvements where possible. A particular challenge on this project, along with the main terraces of the mansion, was climate change. It was updating its roof drainage design to cope with the increase in rainfall.

“Georgians didn’t like downpipes spoiling the front of their buildings, so we had to do clever tricks with rainwater items to honor the original design, while improving their performance.”


The project was funded by £702,608 awarded from Heritage Stimulus Fund Round 2, administered through Historic England.

An additional £5,000 came from The Goldsmiths Company charity and a £175,652 repair grant by The Hamish Auguston Foundation.

Committed to protecting heritage sites and supporting heritage building skills, the Foundation’s funding brought a unique aspect to the South Pavilion project.

The Foundation is running a five-year in-work training and apprenticeship Heritage Building Skills Program in the north of England to address the immediate, long-standing heritage conservation skills shortage in the construction sector.

Trainees gain experience in stonemasonry, roofing, carpentry, joinery and plastering as they help repair historic buildings under the direction of expert heritage conservation professionals.

Eight trainees on the program worked for several days with contractors from WWPT, York-based specialist Pinnacle Conservation, Bourne’s Heritage Masonry Contract in Lincolnshire and Donald Insol Associates.

“Our practice has now spent four years at home and the quality of the original craftsmanship continues to amaze us,” said Dorian Proudfoot.

See also  Business confidence survey masks wide variations – but there's a clear message to welcome Highland firms here

“We strive to emulate this by working with the UK’s most skilled craftsmen and contractors – the quality of this project easily attracts the best talent.

“But many people are keen to pursue skills before they retire. Schemes like the Hamish Auguston Foundation play a very important role.”

Historic England Heritage Architect at Risk Giles Proctor said: “Repairing the South Pavilion has meant that almost the entire 606-foot-long East Front has been reopened – a major achievement for the Trust in less than five years, Which helps to secure the future of this great palace.

“The Culture Recovery Fund grant has mitigated the impact of COVID, and match-funding from the Hamish Auguston Foundation has been a huge bonus, not only allowing work to go ahead, but unique training opportunities for apprentices supported by the Foundation. also provides.

“They and others like them will be vital to the survival of the craftsmanship that is essential to the preservation of our historic buildings.”

The project also benefited from the expertise of blacksmiths at Ridgeway Forge in Sheffield, who restored the golden windmills on the tower of the pavilion.

The original was hit by a storm at some point. Only its globe remained on the roof, but trust employees discovered that iron components had been stored for safekeeping in the mansion and Ridgeway Forge was able to restore it.

The vane connects to the dial on the south tower, which indicates the direction the wind is blowing.

So once again, visitors to the stately home can look into the North Pavilion to check the timing – and the South Pavilion to test how their hats can fly.

See also  Powell: The Fed may raise rates sharply for some time. National News

Sarah McLeod, CEO of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, commented: “Much has been achieved. The most architecturally-critical areas of the mansion are now water-tight and the eastern front is almost as it would have been in its Georgian heyday.

“This is all thanks to the work of the many talented heritage experts and organisations, who have generously given over £9.75m to the repair programs we have undertaken since taking ownership of the site in 2017.

“There is still a lot of work to do in our masterplan, but we are determined to make it happen and the great loyalty we get from supporters, staff and volunteers makes a big difference.”

Wentworth Woodhouse Website

Images: WWPT