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Huge temporary roof installation begins at Wentworth Woodhouse restoration

A MAJOR milestone has been reached in the restoration of South Yorkshire’s Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse with 10,000 square metres of scaffolding encasing the stately home.

Woodhead Group, experts in heritage and conservation, has been appointed by Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust to carry out the repair, restoration and replacement of the building’s 1,486 square metre roof as part of its 25-year masterplan.

A bespoke scaffolding solution is being put in place by subcontractors Lyndon SGB to provide a temporary roof to protect the building during the conservation works.

Visitors are greeted by a unique scene, with most of the building’s majestic East Front now shrouded in a steel scaffold shell. Public access areas are also being created so visitors will soon be able to view the works taking place and the mansion house can remain open over the two-year project.

It will take up to three months to fully install the scaffolding which will reach 30 metres in height – as high as six double decker busses. The scaffolding will incorporate almost 300 stairs and two specialist accessible lifts for use by the public when installation is completed, which will reach 18 metres high.

Tom Woodhead from Woodhead Group said: “This project requires an exceptional collaborative approach with our scaffolding sub-contractors, Lyndon SGB, architects Donald Insall Associates and consultants to design and install such a complex scaffold system.”

The scaffolding will comprise approximately 700 tonnes and 500 linear metres of scaffolding poles and 6,000 planks, and is being installed by up to ten technicians per day over the three-month period.

Jonathan O’Connor, general manager for Lyndon SGB added: “We’ve been operating across the UK for 100 years and are familiar with creating tailored access solutions for all sorts of buildings and applications. Our team has been working in collaboration with Woodhead Group to progress the scheme which will ultimately allow Wentworth Woodhouse to continue to welcome visitors.”

Sarah McLeod, CEO at Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust commented: “This much-loved property is one of the largest historic country houses in Europe with some 365 rooms.  We needed a contractor who understood the complexities of working on a live site and had a strong track record of successfully restoring buildings from a similar era. Thanks to their approach, the mansion can remain open to the public and in addition we will soon be able to provide a rare opportunity of roof-top access for visitors while work is taking place.”

Woodhead Group’s work will also include some remedial repairs and conservation to the interiors, including the oak staircase and the eastern section of the Long Gallery.

The repairs are being supported with over £7 million of Government funding through Historic England. Giles Proctor of Historic England said: “We are delighted to be involved with such a transformative project, which will greatly increase public access to this wonderful building, including during the works.”