Like many other heritage sites across the UK, Chatsworth has felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Chatsworth House Trust (CHT), the charity dedicated to the long-term preservation of the house, the collections, garden, woodlands and park for the benefit of the public, relies on visitors for its income, with every penny generated from ticket sales going directly to the trust. The enforced closures and restricted visitor numbers have had a huge impact on the income of the charity.
In October, CHT was awarded just over £200,000 by Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) as part of their Programmes of Major Works Grant funded by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
The funding will support a vital project to replace a high voltage cable which provides Chatsworth House and Stables with electricity.
The current cable is over 70 years old and has been jointed in several places over the years which has made it less efficient. In addition to its age, the route the existing cable follows is not optimal by modern day safety standards, and the new cable will be rerouted to improve access and safety.
Substantial research was conducted into the new route to minimise disruption to visitors and to maintain the historic fabric of the house and stables. Works on the cable will start in January 2021.
Andrew Lavery, Chief Executive Officer of CHT said: “Chatsworth House Trust is delighted to have received this award from Historic England as part of the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The money will support this vital project to upgrade our infrastructure and ensure it is fit for purpose for many years to come.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post-Covid.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said: “It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”