Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust

Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust

The Radcliffe Trust is very proud to collaborate with The Leche Trust to fund the first Wentworth Woodhouse Heritage Apprentice for his three year training programme.


Wentworth Woodhouse is one of the largest houses in Europe, it is a Grade I listed country house in the village of Wentworth, South Yorkshire. It was built between 1725 and 1750 and is currently owned by Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, who aim to use the restoration as a catalyst for positive change in South Yorkshire.

Dan Nicholson secured his apprenticeship in May 2022 and has been amazed at the variety of centuries-old skills which need to be used and preserved. Dan is learning about the huge demands of the entire site from Julie Readman, the Trust’s Facilities and Maintenance Manager, and is gaining additional knowledge alongside heritage tradesmen and contractors who come to work at the house. 

Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust Facilities and Maintenance Manager

The in-work heritage skills and apprenticeship scheme was launched with Historic England last year to tackle long-standing shortages in heritage skills such as carpentry, bricklaying and joinery, painting and decorating, plastering, roofing and stonemasonry. Dan’s apprenticeship provides a local young person with the opportunity to begin a career in the heritage sector.

CEO Sarah McLeod said: “The National Apprenticeship Scheme is a very successful way of bringing young talent into our team. We are very grateful to The Radcliffe Trust and the Leche Trust for granting us funds to train Dan, who is off to a great start as our first Heritage Skills Apprentice.”

Watts Gallery Trust

Founded in 1904 the Watts Gallery offers a unique insight into the life and work of ‘England’s Michelangelo’ George Frederic Watts and the designer and artist Mary Watts.

The Radcliffe Trust awarded the Watts Gallery Trust a three year grant towards the salary of the Conservation Fellow, Sally Marriott, enabling the postholder to continue supporting the development and practice of skills, knowledge and experience in the heritage sector by conserving oil paintings in the permanent Watts collection and those on loan for exhibitions as well as furthering the Trust’s aim to provide ‘Art for All’ by delivering talks and demonstrations. Sally is also responsible for training and mentoring a conservation graduate intern.

Without the grant the future of the role of Curatorial Fellow would have been in doubt.

Watts Gallery Trust

Sally continually seeks opportunities to carry out talks and practical conservation treatments within the gallery spaces, which in turn provides an invaluable and unique offer for visitors, to experience and appreciate art from an alternative, scientific viewpoint. Her knowledge of technical art history, scientific analysis of works of art and the materials and techniques of G F Watts is fascinating to all visitors and learning groups. 

Sally remains passionate about supporting young career professionals, school age-children and young adults to be inspired towards a career in the sciences, arts and conservation, regularly making time to discuss education opportunities and experience with them wherever possible.

Cockpit Arts

Cockpit, as it is known today began in 1986 when Camden Recycling created five starter units in Cockpit Yard for young, unemployed makers. In the early 2000s, a second location in Deptford was launched with a pioneering business support programme. Cockpit has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in contemporary craft.

The Radcliffe Trust supported the Cockpit Radcliffe Emerging Maker Awards in 2021, which has been a fantastic success. The Radcliffe Trust has been a supporter and funder of Cockpit Arts with Craft Bursaries and Craft development Awards since 2010.


Cockpit Arts

Patrizia Sascor (basketry) and Anilea Fidler-Wieruszewska (fashion and accessories) have benefitted from the Cockpit Radcliffe Emerging Maker Awards 2021 with subsidised studio space, opportunities to collaborate with other craftspeople in the Cockpit community, business and professional  development including one-on-one on-site coaching plus workshops and seminars.

Sandi Mattioli, head of Development at Cockpit, states that Cockpit Arts hope very much to have the opportunity to continue this fruitful partnership with the Radcliffe Trust, benefitting amazing makers and their craft talent and skill. This Award funding focused on emerging makers given the particular challenges they face post pandemic.

The impact of Covid-19 on the Heritage and Crafts sector

Two years on from the start of the pandemic, we are becoming used to the ‘new normal’, even if we are not necessarily at ease with it. As a long-standing funder and supporter of the Heritage and Crafts sector, we were aware that such organisations had been adversely affected by Covid-19. Wishing to know more about the sector’s specific needs, we contacted previous grantees in the summer of 2021 to find out how they had been affected and how we, as a Trust, could best respond.

What worked

The overall picture is mixed at best. Whilst government funding and the furlough scheme has undoubtedly been a lifeline for many, not all organisations were eligible, and in any event, such funding could never replace the income streams lost through sudden closure. Even once organisations were able to re-open, all have had reduced visitors or audiences, because of ongoing restrictions and/or limitations to ensure Covid-19 compliance.

Organisations were very grateful for flexibility regarding the use of funds, which enabled some projects to go ahead in a bespoke fashion. Whilst we did not change our funding criteria as such, in recognition of the huge challenges facing the sector, we made a grant to The Crafts Council to establish a Hardship Fund for Makers. This was specifically to help those craft makers who had lost more than 75% of their income and did not qualify for government support.

The future is digital

2020 was the year that the world discovered Zoom and the Heritage and Crafts sector was no different. For some organisations, such as The Creative Dimension Trust and Orchard Barn, moving online enabled them to expand their audiences and extend their activities in ways unimagined before the pandemic. However, for many Heritage and Crafts organisations, going digital was either not an option, due to the artisanal nature of their work, or could only ever be part of the solution.

Moving forward

As we head into 2022, and another winter of uncertainty and potential disruption, it seems that the only thing we can say with any confidence is that the future will be unpredictable…

Nevertheless, as a funder which has encouraged innovation and creativity in the arts for the past 50-plus years, we continue to seek out Heritage and Crafts projects which are shining a light on traditional skills as well as contemporary concepts that connect with a new generation.  We remain as committed to the sector as ever.

Future funding

If you are a Heritage or Crafts organisation seeking to undertake innovative work in the UK, we encourage you to look at our grants criteria. As one of the country’s oldest charities, we are focused on being here for the long term. It is our ambition that the Heritage and Crafts sector, with its incredible talent, passions, and skills, will be here for the long term too.

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

The Vulcan Hotel tells an important story in the history of Wales. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales plans to re-erect this building at St Fagan’s National Museum of History and bring it back to life for visitors to enjoy. This building will help reflect the lives of people living in industrial and post-industrial towns as well as rural areas, and of recent migrants as well as long established communities. Due to its unique history, the Vulcan captures the changing nature of Cardiff’s dockland and shipping industries.

Thanks to support from The Radcliffe Trust the museum will re-erect the Vulcan as a 1915 public house, an important year for the pub, where it had undergone major refurbishment. There is also a need to ensure the sustainability of skills within the heritage sector, so the construction work will be mainly carried out by the museum’s traditional stonemason, conservation builders and a newly appointed apprentice traditional carpenter. Through this project the Museum will be retaining and improving traditional heritage skills in Wales.

The Historic Buildings Unit (HBU) team from left to right:

Isaac Rees – HBU Apprentice Traditional Painter, Clive Litchfield – Senior Traditional Painter, Tony Lewis – HBU Site Manager, Michael Conway – HBU Stonemason, Andrew Price – HBU Stonemason, Ben Wilkins – HBU Senior Traditional Carpenter

This photo was taken by Jody Samuel – HBU Labourer, however, unlike the iconic New York photo of the construction of a sky scraper, the team have scaffolding below them