Final touches made to historic conservatory

Wentworth Castle's Victorian Conservatory
Wentworth Castle's Victorian Conservatory Photo: Wentworth Castle

Finishing touches are being added to the £3.74 million restoration project of a Victorian conservatory in Barnsley before it re-opens to the public.

The last panes of glass are now being installed at the Grade 2*-listed glasshouse at Wentworth Castle, in Stainborough, in Barnsley.

The faithful historic restoration is the culmination of a 10-year fundraising campaign which began in 2003.

The conservatory is almost complete and standing in front of the re-cast columns and hundreds of panes of glass, it's easy to imagine just how beautiful the original conservatory was.

"Although we've had the metal structure back on site for several months, it wasn't until the glass was fitted and the scaffolding came down that it truly reflected its former glory.

"This has been a very long and difficult journey lasting a whole decade but the end result is spectacular."

– Claire Herring, Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust director
Wentworth Castle's Victorian Conservatory
Wentworth Castle's Victorian Conservatory Credit: Wentworth Castle

The conservatory will be officially launched by the Mayor of Barnsley Ken Richardson on November 7 and opened to the public the following day.

Since the derelict conservatory was dismantled last year, the 4,000 parts of the original iron frame have been cleaned and re-cast where necessary. Some 35 layers of paints including greens, whites and creams were removed to reveal intricate detail

Thousands of tiny triangular tiles have been cleaned and re-cast to recreate highly decorative Victorian encaustic floors.

The restored glasshouse will be a temperate house and generally be about 5C warmer than the outside temperature and will be kept frost free in winter.

The interior planting is based around the continents of the world, with five beds explaining the history of how different plant species - some of which are now common place in our gardens - first arrived in this country.

The conservatory will also house the trust's restored Blackamore Statue, which will be displayed in the Africa bed.