This year we have started the challenging task of restoring Wentworth Castle’s fragile
Every couple of weeks we are updating the Conservatory Restoration Blog, so for latest progress details please take a look: conservatory blog
Made famous by the BBC’s Restoration programme in 2003, this beautiful iron glasshouse was in danger of being lost forever until it became the main focus of our restoration plans. In 2011, the Trust finally succeeded in raising the £3.74million needed to rescue the delicate structure and was able to work up the final plans for the restoration project.
The Conservatory was constructed in 1885 by Crompton and Fawkes who described it as an ‘iron winter garden’ in their catalogue. It is a rare surviving Victorian glasshouse and in its day was at the forefront of technology, with electric lighting as early as 1886. It would have been used to display some of the many exotic plants, including orchids, palms and ferns collected by the family from around the world.Chelmsford, who descr
Progress so far….At the end of September 2012 we completed the dismantling of the iron structure, taking it away for complete restoration to Shepley Engineers Shafton Workshops in Barnsley. Not all the iron work – and in particular the supporting columns will be able to be restored as some have degenerated too far and these will be replaced using castings based on the original designs. All the glass will be replaced – but 5 sections of the old glass have been saved for a later art project within the conservatory.
In October we ordered the new plants – they have to be grown on and then quarenteened before they can be delivered to the re-built conservatory hopefully in early summer 2013. They will all be temperate plants and will represent the different plant hunting interests of the 18th century Wentworth family and the later 19th century Vernon-Wentworths.
Work has now nearing completion on the new visitor facilities which will include a community activity room, toilets and interpretation gallery. After the excavation of the foundations revealed an unexpected well, some slight redesign was necessary, but we are delighted that the well will be re-used as part of the restoration and will help water plants and flush toilets in the new building.
In April 2013 we were excited to see the restored ironwork of the conservatory start to return to site. The Trust plans to open the Conservatory to visitors in early autumn 2013.
Funding – how you can help
It has taken 9 years to raise the £3.7 million needed to restore the conservatory – over 500 individuals gave donations large and small. The Trust is still collecting donations towards the restoration of the conservatory and towards future restoration projects. Every £1 donated contributes to the preservation of our heritage for future generations. You can donate online here: Donate now!
For further information about the work of our principal funders, please follow the links below:
The European Regional Development FundThe Heritage Lottery Fund
English Heritage, and