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Victorian Conservatory Runner-Up In Prestigious Awards

Friday October 25 2013




THE team behind Wentworth Castle's Victorian conservatory had their efforts recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony in London.

The English Heritage Angel Awards, supported by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Telegraph, celebrate the best efforts to rescue historic houses, former industrial buildings, places of worship or any other type of historic landmark at risk.

Wentworth's determined team applied for the awards in the spring - and on Monday night finished as runners-up in the Best Craftsmanship Employed on a Heritage Rescue category.

The 17 shortlisted teams made their way to the Palace Theatre in the West End where a short film told the story of their rescue project.

In its close-fought category, Wentworth was pipped to the title by the group behind the restoration at Hadlow Tower in Kent.

Paul Martin, of BBC's Flog It, hosted the show and Andrew Lloyd Webber, 'Restoration Man' George Clarke, Bettany Hughes - the award-winning author - and Bishop of London Richard Chartres gave speeches, announced the winners and presented the awards.

Despite narrowly missing out, Claire Herring, director of Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust, said: "We did fancy our chances, but it was nice to be around people who have gone through the same as us.

"There were many low points in the restoration and each person at the awards could relate to that."

The structure, built in 1885 for the Vernon-Wentworth family, was described as a 'technological marvel of its time'.

Having fallen into complete decay, its future looked unsure after being placed on English Heritage's 'at risk' register.

Since last year's dismantling of the stricken conservatory, the original iron frame has been cleaned and re-cast where necessary.

External planting and landscaping took place in the spring and internal planting is all but done as the countdown to its opening begins.

"It has not been an easy project by any means," Claire added. "The workers had to overcome all sorts of different hurdles and they have had to do that by working together.

"I feel really heartened that such craft skill is still out there because without it, we would not be able to do the restoration work."

Mayor of Barnsley Ken Richardson will officially open the conservatory on November 7, before it is open to the public the day after.

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Reply Posted by hsib on Friday November 1 2013 at 21:19
I work there as a teen on the gardens in 1987 and we still
worked in and grew in the conservatory and it was in decline then its nice to see it looking so good now .
I will be paying a visit when it opens.