Work has commenced this week on the beautiful conservatory at Wentworth Castle. The Wentworth Castle Trust launched the ambitious £15 million restoration project last year in a bid to restore the Wentworth estate to its former glory. Between now and 2008 the Trust aims to completely recondition the magnificent Wentworth estate, comprising of 600 acres of parkland and 26 listed buildings and monuments.
Wentworth is an eighteenth century estate and the 40 acres of gardens are some of the finest in the country. The historic conservatory was commissioned by Frederick Vernon-Wentworth in 1835. Crompton & Fawkes, who designed and erected the building described it as ‘an iron winter garden’ in their catalogue. The 1850s saw exotic plants becoming increasing en vogue with plant hunters touring the world in search of new varieties. The Wentworth glasshouse is one of the finest examples of the glass gardens built to display exotic plant life and still houses a number of the original plants.
After appearing on the BBC’s series ‘Restoration’, the ambitious renovation project has been able to commence. A custom designed scaffold has been erected around the conservatory by Rowland Scaffold Ltd from Sheffield. The work will involve teams of Roland scaffolders wearing Kevlar suits, to prevent glass injury, working inside the conservatory amongst Camellia japonica plants that are over 150 years old. ‘The job to stabilise the conservatory was quite an engineering challenge ,’ said Burt Rowland, Chairman of Rowland Scaffold Co Ltd, ‘We look forward to watching the restoration project with great interest and wish the team every success’.
The glasshouse is part of the only Grade I listed designed landscape in South Yorkshire and is surrounded by gardens containing National Collections of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias.
‘At last we are able to start out exciting restoration project,’ said Richard Evans, Heritage Director of Wentworth Castle Trust, ‘The revival of the estate will be a work of regional significance and local pride’.
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