Chatsworth House might look like it will last forever – in fact it was purposefully designed to look this way – but like any building, it is fragile and requires constant care and attention. The review of the building's structure and services in 2004 showed that major renewal work was needed to improve access and enjoyment for visitors, and to secure Chatsworth for future generations of visitors to enjoy.
The £32.7 million Masterplan began in 2005 and is one of the largest projects undertaken at Chatsworth since the 6th Duke of Devonshire built the north wing between 1820 and 1828. This project is made possible in part by visitor admission revenue and our Friends of Chatsworth programme through the Chatsworth House Trust.
Join us as we celebrate the exhibition that marks the completion of this project, Chatsworth Renewed: the house past, present and future.
This programme of essential restoration has conserved the stonework of the façades of the Baroque house built by the 4th Earl (later 1st Duke of Devonshire), as well as the 6th Duke's north wing, where irreparable stone was removed and replaced with new stone from Burntwood Quarry; the same source as the original stone. The four faces of the Inner court have also been conserved, including the monumental carved stone trophies. The project has also replaced all of the major services in the building.
Practically every roof had work done, including replacement lead coverings, installation of hundreds of roof vents and thermal insulation, joinery repairs, and rebuilt chimney stacks. The Orangery roof light was restored, and solar and UV film was applied to the glass to keep the building cool in hot summer months.
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. 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.
The Masterplan is scheduled for completion in summer 2018. The work to be completed includes pointing on the lower levels of the 6th Duke's north wing as well as continued roof work.
Who is involved?
- A design team is overseeing the project, led by the Duke and Duchess.
- The design team 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.
What will the results of the Masterplan be?
- Fewer stairs on the visitor route and full wheelchair access to all floors.
- New spaces, restored interiors and more space for displays.
- New water, heating and electricity services in the house.
- Repaired and conserved stonework and carvings, inside and out.