Wentworth Woodhouse is a Georgian mansion on an epic scale
Wentworth Woodhouse was one of great mansions of Georgian England but slid into neglect and disrepair during the second half of the 20th century.
- The building is actually two grand houses, built back-to-back. The baroque West Front was built for the 1st Marquess of Rockingham from about 1725 but it is the slightly later, 606ft wide, Palladian East Front which is the behemoth.
- In 1792 the estate was inherited by the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam, beginning a long relationship between this aristocratic family and the surrounding community.
- One room was created to house Stubbs's famous painting of the family's racehorse, Whistlejacket. The work was sold to the National Gallery for £11 million in 1997.
- The 60ft square Marble Saloon was called the finest Georgian room in England.
- Princess Victoria stayed at Wentworth Woodhouse in 1835 and wrote that it was "an immense house".
- More than 1,000 people were employed by the house and estate in the mid 19th century, including a "rat catcher" and "state bed maker".
- When King George V stayed in 1912 he needed 76 bedrooms for his entourage.
- After the Second World War, open-cast mining devastated the estate with workings coming almost to the door of the house. Many saw this as a vindictive act of class warfare by Labour minister of fuel and power, Manny Shinwell.
- The 8th Earl Fitzwilliam died in a plane crash in 1948 along with Marchioness of Hartington, the younger sister of John F Kennedy. He left no male heir.
- After the death of the 8th Earl the house began to decline. A sale of valuables at the time included 14 four-poster beds. It was later used as a teacher training college.
- The Fitzwilliam family ended its connection with the house in 1979, with the death of the 10th and last Earl. The house and 83 acres were sold to a private buyer.
- The sale did not include the deer park, the rest of the estate and the nearby Wentworth village, which were placed in a charitable trust. The estate, which features a range of listed follies including the 90ft high Rockingham Monument and 100ft high Hoober Stand, continues to be run by the Fitzwilliam Wentworth Amenity Trust.
- In 1999 architectural historian John Martin Robinson wrote that "the failure of Wentworth Woodhouse to become a stately home open to the public after the Second World War and thus to have secured its future like Chatsworth or Woburn is an architectural tragedy".
- The house was bought by architect Clifford Newbold in 1999 who hoped a huge legal claim against the Coal Authority for mining damage would help him restore the house. But this failed.
- The house was bought by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust in 2017, partly funded by a £3.5 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
- As well as the vast mansion, the trust bought 83 acres of land immediately around it; the stable block, which is almost as large as the house; and a range of other buildings, including the huge, derelict Camelia House.
- Wentworth Woodhouse is regularly used as a film location - appearing as Buckingham Palace in the recent hit movie Darkest Hour and also in the BBC drama Victoria.