Re-roofing of Wentworth Woodhouse - Marcus Binney reports


Visitors to Wentworth Woodhouse can now ascend the scaffold to a special viewing platform to survey the major roof repairs now underway.  Our photograph shows the roof of the main Palladian house with the gable of the portico extending to the left. The graded green Westmoreland slates, nearly 300 years old, are being replaced with new ones intended to last another three centuries – the salvaged slates will be used on nearby buildings. The original oak timbers have been found to be in unexpectedly good condition and will be covered with a layer of insulation before the new slates are laid.

Julie Kenny, Chair of The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, is inviting donations for personalised slates.

The statues on the balustrades are being taken down for repair or protected in situ (see foreground of photograph) each one weighs the same as an adult polar bear.

According to the builders, Woodhead Construction of Mansfield, 50,000 metres of scaffolding have been used to support the temporary roof which provides protection and access for the works. Placed end to end they would be 5.5 times taller than Mount Everest.

All this stems from SAVE’s successful 35-year campaign to find a solution for this great Yorkshire house – including £7m to buy it, matched by £7m towards roof repairs provided by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Architects Donald Insall Associates are working with Giles Proctor, Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Officer