Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Wentworth Woodhouse sold to conservation group for £7m

Wentworth Woodhouse Image copyright Dave Pickersgill
Image caption Wentworth Woodhouse requires millions of pounds worth of repairs

One of Europe's largest stately homes has been bought by a conservation group for £7m.

The Grade-1 listed Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, has been sold to the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.

The sale of the mansion and 82-acre estate was funded by grants, pledges and donations, including £3.5m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The trust said the house would remain open to the public and has announced plans for a 15-year repair project.

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The 18th Century house and its grounds have featured in a number of film and TV productions, including Mr Turner, the 2014 biographical drama about the life of painter J M W Turner, last year's BBC mini-series Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the Antiques Roadshow.

It is also believed to be the largest private house in the UK, with 250,000 sq ft (23,000 sq m) of floor space.

Image copyright Savills
Image caption The house was put up for sale in May following the death of owner Clifford Newbold

A spokesman for Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT), which was established by SAVE Britain's Heritage, said the house would remain open to the public.

He said: "The long-term strategy is for the public to visit and enjoy all the most interesting parts of the property while restoring the others for revenue-earning uses such as events and holiday lets with business units in the stables.

"Traditionally a historic house of this size would have required a vast endowment.

"This business model will provide a substantial income stream intended to cover both running costs and periodic bouts of repair."

Wentworth Woodhouse

  • 184m (606ft) The Palladian-style east wing is wider than Buckingham Palace

  • 1,000 Staff directly employed on the estate in 1841, including a rat catcher and state bed maker

  • 76 Bedrooms were given over to King George V for his visit in 1912

  • 22 Listed buildings or structures of special or exceptional interest

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WWPT has previously said an estimated £42m needs to be spent on repairs.

It is hoped completion of the sale will take place within two to three months.

Julie Kenny, chair of WWPT, said: "Raising the money was a journey but we've got an even bigger one to come now.

"The trust is looking forward to it immensely. It is a fantastic building, lots of people want to come and see it and now it will be there for the nation for years to come."

Image caption The house has been open to the public since 2012

The 300-room house was put up for sale in May following the death of owner Clifford Newbold.

A previous £8m deal to sell it to a Hong Kong-based investment company fell through in November.

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