Chatsworth House Trust has been awarded £422,000 of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help kick-start its ‘Celebrating the Cascade’ project.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the funding will help the charity’s essential research and development work to restore the Grade I listed Cascade, one of the most-loved features at Chatsworth. Built over 325 years ago, the structure is made up of a temple with spouts and fountains, and 24 steps that water flows over, which descend approximately 60 metres.

Chatsworth House Trust is a registered charity, responsible for looking after the house, collections, garden, woodlands and park for the benefit of everyone. It relies on income from visitors and supporters, such as The National Lottery Heritage Fund, to undertake an ever-expanding programme of essential conservation, and to fund an extensive learning and inclusion programme. 

Reflecting The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s priorities, the ambitious Cascade project will enable the protection and celebration of this important piece of national heritage. 

The cost of the full restoration project has been estimated at over £7 million and is urgently required due to rapid structural deterioration caused by significant leakage of water through the mortar and joints in the stonework, and around the surrounding earth. This has resulted in the forced closure of a 19th-century tunnel that runs underneath, which was once used to supply coal to heat the Great Conservatory.


The 19th century coal tunnel pictured in winter with frozen water leaking from the Cascade above.
The 19th century coal tunnel pictured in winter with frozen water leaking from the Cascade above.

A key element of the project will be diversifying and widening the reach and engagement of people who may not previously have considered Chatsworth a place for them, encouraging greater access, and the creation of a public outreach programme to make the Cascade, and the entire garden at Chatsworth, feel more accessible and exciting for visitors and learners of all ages, and with a wide range of needs.

The development phase will see Chatsworth working closely with partners such as Derbyshire MIND and the Cavendish Learning Trust to explore the well-being benefits of visiting the Cascade. The team will also look to bring the Cascade stories fully to life, including its links to critical environmental and sustainability initiatives at Chatsworth, and its place in the ‘water artery’ – a marvel of nature-based engineering that flows from the moors above the house down through the woodlands and garden, powering the Cascade and a hydro-electric turbine on its way to the river Derwent.

Lord Burlington, Chairman of the Chatsworth House Trust, said: “The Cascade is one of the most popular features at Chatsworth, and ‘Celebrating the Cascade’ is a major project that will enable us to ensure many more people will get to experience and enjoy it in the years to come. This project is just one of many ways in which we are working to bring a more diverse group of visitors to Chatsworth, as well as creating truly transformational experiences that involve both the nature and the built heritage in our custodianship.”

Jane Marriott, Director of Chatsworth House Trust, said: “Our ’Celebrating the Cascade’ project is a major boost for the Chatsworth House Trust – the registered charity established in 1981 – to look after the house, collections, garden, woodlands, and park for the benefit of everyone.

It shines a spotlight on Chatsworth as a vital historic and cultural centre in the heart of England, tackling ambitious large-scale projects, in ways that reach out to people who may not consider us as a place of interest, whilst also paving the way for a restoration project which will be one of the largest seen in the region. 

The grant award from The National Lottery is a major endorsement of our vision by the UK’s most significant public funder for heritage and is very much appreciated. We would also like to thank National Lottery players. The grant is a clear demonstration of support for our charity’s responsibility as a guardian of unique national treasures and reflects how closely we align with The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s newly announced key priorities for investment; saving heritage, protecting the environment, organisational sustainability and inclusion, access and participation.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest funder for the UK’s heritage. Since it was established in 1994, it has awarded £8.6billion of National Lottery and other funding to more than 50,000 projects that help to sustain and transform the UK’s heritage.

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