The only antique cabinets Lancashire people have so far seen at Wentworth Woodhouse have been those on the Antiques Roadshow. This is set to change with a multi-million pound Restoration project to rescue the magnificent stately home from sinking into post-war mineshafts.
One of the largest and grandest private stately homes in Great Britain, Wentworth Woodhouse was once the home of the Earls Fitzwilliam, who sold it in 1979, the family having made a fortune during the 19th Century from the rich seams of coal running under the estate.
Unfortunately, coalmining was to be Wentworth’s undoing, because the house is now slowly sinking into shafts that, in an act of what many believe was wanton political vandalism, were dug near the foundations in the post-World War II period. Its present owners, brothers Paul, Giles and Marcus Newbold, paid just £1.5m for the property in its dilapidated condition, but estimate it will cost more than £200m to underpin and restore. Once this is done, the state rooms will once more glow with antique marquetry furniture , as they plan to turn Wentworth into a museum and grand country hotel.
Following a public ‘open day’ last December, restoration has now started, with the Newbolds demanding more than £100m compensation from the Coal Authority to help pay for the subsidence.
Wentworth’s antiques are currently limited to built-in open bookcases, but Ribble Valley residents can find Victorian balloon backed dining chairs , antique desks and much more at their local antiques dealer.
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