Breathing new life into one of Britain’s finest stately homes

Woodhead Group has been selected by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) to carry out the repair, restoration and replacement of the building’s 16,000+ square foot roof, as part of its 25-year Masterplan.

The £5million phase of work will see the Woodhead Group deliver major conservation work over the next two years.

Wentworth Woodhouse, once home to the Fitzwilliam family, is one of England’s greatest historic structures, a mighty work of architecture and for 300 years both a political power-house and the hub of social and economic life across a swathe of South Yorkshire.

The WWPT was established in 2014 to secure the future of the building and its grounds for the benefit of the nation. Chancellor Philip Hammond awarded a grant of £7.6 million to WWPT in autumn 2016, which is being managed by Historic England. Giles Proctor, Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Architect, said: “Most of the vast east front will be repaired, securing this great house for future generations to enjoy”.

In October 2018 the Trust revealed their visionary Masterplan.

Julie A Kenny, CBE DL, Chair of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Woodhead Group on what is arguably the greatest restoration project for a generation. The roof repairs that form the bulk of this phase of works are critical, as water ingress has caused so much damage in recent years. This vital work will make a very real difference in halting the decline of the mansion.”

Woodhead’s work to the roof is being facilitated by a huge £1.1million scaffold system, covering the exterior of the dramatic façade of the building. A canopy covering the roof will protect the building, enabling the works to be carried out.

A very accessible project, the scaffolding includes fully accessible public walkways, where managed tours can be taken around the works safely, to view progress and help to understand the significance of this impressive Grade I listed building.

Woodhead’s work on the project will also include some remedial repairs and conservation to the interiors, including the east front and oak staircase, the eastern portion of the block containing the Long Gallery, the south-east pavilion, north-east pavilion, the portico floor and the east front lamp standards.

Tom Woodhead, Woodhead Group Director, said: “We are delighted to be working on such a prestigious project. We have a dedicated and experienced project team, eager to be a part of the Wentworth Woodhouse story; helping breathe life into this phenomenal and nationally significant part of our built heritage.”

The project will be managed by father-daughter team, Andy and Amy Stamford, who have worked together on heritage projects such as Bridgford Hall in Nottinghamshire, and a more recent tourism project in Sherwood Forest, creating a new visitor centre for the RSPB.

The initial roofing works of this phase are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

The Woodhead Group will work closely with conservation architects Donald Insall Associates.

Tony Barton, Chairman of Donald Insall Associates, said: “We have already seen significant progress so far in repairing the roof on the south east wing and we look forward to continuing our vital work on the east front of Wentworth Woodhouse – these repairs will ensure sustainable use of the building for generations to come.”

For further information on the Wentworth Woodhouse Masterplan and the overall house and grounds itself, click here to visit the website.