Help arrived in ‘nick of time’ says trust

A trust fighting to save one of the UK’s most important stately homes from crumbling to ruin has revealed it took over ‘just in time’.

Wentworth Woodhouse, a Grade I listed Georgian masterpiece in Rotherham, which once rivalled Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth House, is in a critical state, says the Preservation Trust which stumped up £7m to take it on in May 2017.

The woman who galvanised the trust revealed the crucial state of affairs to guests and government ministers gathered at 11 Downing Street recently, for the launch of plans to restore the house and protect its future by transforming it into a ‘people’s palace.’ WWPT’s 500-page masterplan aims to awake the house from its slumber, making it as famous as in its 18th century heyday and putting Rotherham on the map.

“We purchased the site just in time; significant heritage features were at risk, “ said chair Julie Kenny CBE, who founded the trust in 2014 and fought for three years to purchase the house from private ownership.

“Over 100 structural surveys and commencement of capital repair works have shown us the extent of the damage, decay and loss caused over many decades.The site is in a very serious state, but we have a great team, and our masterplan means we can set about putting right the wrongs of the past years.”

Urgent repairs to the badly leaking roof are already underway, thanks to the £7.6 million grant awarded in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn 2016 Statement. But the trust now needs around £150million to develop the plan and then focus on the visitor offer.

Details of the masterplan will be launched to the local community at an event at Wentworth Woodhouse on November 9 at 11am.