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Preserving Chatsworth: Inside the Great House’s Masterplan

Chatsworth House might look like it will last forever – but it was purposefully designed to look this way. Like any building, it is fragile and requires constant care and attention. A review of the house’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.

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 the Friends of Chatsworth programme developed through the Chatsworth House Trust.

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THE SCAFFOLDING ALONG THE EAST FACADE OF THE HOUSE WILL ENABLE THE STONE TO BE CLEANED.

Nearly twelve years on, the Masterplan is now in the final phase and is scheduled to be completed in November 2017. Phase four focuses on the east facade of the house, facing the Cascade in the garden, which now has scaffolding in place to enable the stone to be cleaned, repointed and repaired. Rotten stone will be removed and replaced with new stone from Burntwood Quarry, the supplier used to build the 6th Duke’s North wing. When all the scaffolding is removed in 2017, the entire house will look just as clean as the north, west and south facades do today.

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MAJOR RENEWAL WORK WAS REQUIRED TO SECURE CHATSWORTH FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

Practically every roof will have work done including replacing lead coverings, installing hundreds of roof vents and thermal insulation, joinery repairs and rebuilding chimney stacks. The Orangery roof light will also be restored, and solar and UV film will be applied to the glass to keep the building cool in hot summer months.

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NEARLY EVERY ROOF AT CHATSWORTH WILL BE UPDATED. 

To date this programme of essential restoration has conserved the stonework of three facades of the Baroque house built by the 4th Earl (later 1st Duke of Devonshire). The four faces of the courtyard have also been conserved, including the monumental carved stone trophies.

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CLEANING THE LIMESTONE AT CHATSWORTH REMOVES YEARS OF GRIME.

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. The entire house is also now wheelchair accessible. Many works of art from the collection have been conserved as part of this project and interiors have been redecorated. For the first time in over 100 years, Old Master Drawings can now be exhibited on rotation in a purpose designed room, the Old Master Drawings Cabinet.
 

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