Wentworth Woodhouse team look back on year of progress - and reveal their 2020 vision

By Michael Upton | 14/01/2020

Wentworth Woodhouse team look back on year of progress - and reveal their 2020 vision

FIFTY-two staff, 211 volunteers giving 22,300 hours of time to help 20,000 visitors, £45,000 in public donations and more than £1 million spent on a huge scaffolding rig to restore the leak roof.

That is how the numbers stacked up during Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust’s second year of operating the historic home.

In its annual report, the trust noted its staff and volunteer numbers had both risen, with 33 new jobs were created for tour guides, as well as an operations manager, catering staff, front-of-house and booking assistants, and that fibre broadband and wifi have been installed where once they was just a single phone line.

Eight weddings were held for 1,700 guests and “huge strides” were made in getting stuck into the restoration.

Wentworth Woodhouse is encased in a protective covering while the re-roofing of the main state rooms takes place.

2020’s plans also include restoring stone chimneys, two out of seven of which have already been tackled and the decorative 600kg urns that lined the edge of the roof, as well as beginning the transformation of the dilipidated Camellia House — home to rare species dating back 200 years — into a cafe and events venue.

The ten life-sized statues gracing the roof will be given a facelift later in the year.

Chair of trustees, Dame Julie Kenny, said: “When we look back on what has been achieved in what is only our second year as custodians of Wentworth Woodhouse, it is with pride and astonishment.

“It is a very exciting time and this progress has been made thanks to our small, dedicated team who respond to ever-changing challenges on a daily basis. 

“The commitment they show is truly remarkable.”

Public donations, while often crucial in helping individual projects get green-lit, are dwarfed by heritage grants of £1.8 million over the past year.

Trust chief executive Sarah McLeod said: “Working at Wentworth Woodhouse is not easy. “The expectations on the team are great and it is true to say we laugh, we cry and at times feel somewhat overwhelmed with the enormity of the challenge.

“But we all see this as our own personal challenge and love coming to work.”