THE Duke of Devonshire has been presented with a prestigious international award for his work preserving the country’s heritage.
The Duke, along with the Duchess of Devonshire, has devoted the past six years to the continued renovation of Chatsworth, which his family has owned since 1549.
He travelled to The Plaza hotel on Fifth Avenue in New York to be presented with the Watch Award by the World Monuments Fund, which recognises ‘advocacy and significant achievement by an individual on behalf of heritage preservation’.
The Duke told members of the fund: “When I think of the seemingly impossible rescues you manage every year all over the world, I am humbled you have chosen Chatsworth.
“However, thinking back over the last 60 years or so, it is somewhat extraordinary that this house, with its garden and park, have all survived and indeed are now facing the future with more confidence, more certainty than at any time since the middle of the 19th century.
“Most of the credit for this belongs to my parents, Andrew and Debo. Thanks to their energy, imagination and a healthy dose of stubbornness over a tenure of 50 years they turned a sad and decrepit old place into a destination which three quarters of a million people enjoy visiting every year.”
Latest restorations began at Chatsworth in 2007 with the repair and cleaning of the inner court and north front of the house.
Earlier this year scaffolding was removed to reveal gleaming stonework, repaired carvings and 24-carat gilding. New galleries have been created to show Old Master drawings, and the sculpture gallery has been restored.
Work is expected to continue for a number of years.