The final phase of the historic Masterplan at Chatsworth House – the monumental renovation and restoration project launched in 2005 with a total value of £32.7million, is now well underway with completion scheduled for November 2017.
One of the largest projects undertaken by Chatsworth since the 6th Duke built his great North Wing in the 1820s, this fourth and final phase focuses on the East side of the house which faces towards the Cascade in the garden, with scaffolding now in place to enable the stone to be cleaned, repointed and repaired. Rotten stone will be removed and replaced with new stone from Burntwood Quarry, the location of the stone used to build the 6th Duke’s North Wing.
When all the scaffolding is removed in 2017, the entire house will look beautifully clean like the North, West and South façades do today.
Practically every roof will have work done including replacing lead coverings, installing hundreds of roof vents and thermal insulation, joinery repairs and rebuilding chimney stacks. The Orangery roof light will also be restored, and solar and UV film will be applied to the glass to keep the building cool in hot summer months.
To date this programme of essential restoration has conserved the stonework of three façades of the Baroque house built by the 4th Earl (later 1st Duke of Devonshire). The four faces of the courtyard have also been conserved, including the monumental carved stone trophies. In addition the project has replaced all of the major services in the building.
New galleries and a major redisplay of the Devonshire Collection, together with the installation of a new lift, have improved and significantly extended the visitor route. In fact the entire house is now wheelchair accessible. Many works of art from the collection have been conserved as part of this project and interiors redecorated. For the first time in over 100 years, Old Master Drawings are now able to be exhibited on rotation in a purpose designed room, the Old Master Drawings Cabinet.
Who is involved
*A design team is overseeing the project, led by the Duke and Duchess. It includes the architect Peter Inskip, interiors expert David Milinaric and art historian Jonathan Bourne
*Head of Special Projects, Sean Doxey, is managing the project with Rupert Symmons at Fanshawe project management
*Mann Williams is the structural engineering company from Bath
*Historic building analysis has been carried out by Oliver Jessop, The Jessop Consultancy
*Hundreds of external contractors from around the country have joined Chatsworth’s skilled in-house team
Chatsworth is one of England’s finest stately homes and offers a superb day out for everyone. Whether you enjoy art and design, or just fancy a stroll in the estate or ornamental gardens with a picnic, or, you’re looking for a family day out, there really is something for everyone here. When we visited recently, the house looked magnificent which is now many shades lighter and the new galleries and Devonshire Collection exhibition are superb – featuring some truly fascinating artefacts including a letter from Jackie Kennedy to Deborah Devonshire – more on this next time.
For more information about Chatsworth visit www.chatsworth.org