Once a workplace and home to hundreds of grooms and stable boys, the Stables of Wentworth Woodhouse are now set to provide jobs and training for the hospitality sector.
Redevelopment of a major section of the long-derelict Stable Block, the grandest in the land when built in the late 1700s, can now get underway thanks to a £4.6m grant from The Government’s Levelling Up Fund for the North of England.
The Preservation Trust which has owned the Grade I listed Rotherham stately home since 2017 was part of a successful Rotherham Borough Council consortium bid to the LUF, announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget.
The Trust has pledged to create employment and become a major driver of Rotherham’s leisure and tourism sector; it will now be able to further that aim with the redevelopment of 800m2 of the Stables’ West Range into fully kitted-out production kitchens, a training facility for new hospitality staff, plus a café.
Work will start in early 2022 and is expected to take two years.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced Rotherham was to receive almost £40m in November’s Autumn Budget.
Some £19.5m will go towards revitalising the town centre and a further £19.99m was awarded to kickstart the leisure and visitor economy at four established sites including Wentworth Woodhouse.
“The Levelling Up Fund is all about giving people in the North the same opportunities as those in the South. This grant makes a massive difference to us, an independent charitable trust trying to make a real difference to the community of South Yorkshire, which we know is a great place to live, work and visit,” said Sarah McLeod, CEO of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.
“We will help deliver the Levelling Up agenda through job creation and upskilling. The hospitality sector is currently experiencing a huge labour shortage; our production kitchens will serve cafes and catering right across our site and give us the facilities to train up our own hospitality team.”
She added: “The really wonderful thing about this win is it’s a consortium bid from organisations all proud to be part of Rotherham’s leisure and visitor economy, and determined to drive growth and employment.
“We will be looking to link up with local colleges for hospitality training qualifications and plan to offer valuable hospitality work experience to people with disabilities.”
Wentworth Woodhouse’s huge Stable Block, positioned on the driveway to the Mansion, was created for the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham by architect John Carr of York.
When completed in 1782 it was the largest private stables in the country, and remained so until the late 1900s.
It boasted stables for 84 hunting, riding, and carriage horses. Grooms and stable boys slept in small rooms above the horses and house gardeners also lived at the site.
The kitchen in the West Range will service all on-site hospitality, including afternoon teas, private events, the Mansion’s cafe and a new food offer to be developed in the Camellia House.