Campaigning to Save the Chapel at Bretton Hall Park

Posted in on site by Editor on July 2, 2013

Press release (20 May 2013) . . .


Sir William Wentworth, Chapel of Bretton Hall Park, 1744
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is campaigning to save one of the oldest surviving buildings on the Bretton Estate and transform it into a gallery space. The 270-year-old YSP Chapel is in an urgent state of repair and must be restored soon, in order to keep it open to the public. The Park’s fundraisers have secured financial support from English Heritage, Country Houses Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and The Pilgrim Trust but are £100,000 short of the £500,000 needed to complete the full restoration plan. They are now asking visitors and supporters to give whatever they can to help reach the total.

Andy Carver, Director of Development at YSP said: “At a time when public funding is becoming increasingly scarce, we depend on the people and organisations that love YSP to give us their financial support. Restoring the chapel is an important and exciting project for us; it will mean that we can keep this historic building open for future generations to enjoy and allow us to programme new exhibitions of sculpture in the beautiful, tranquil space. At the moment, the conditions in the chapel aren’t suitable for some types of art works and structurally it is deteriorating quite badly. The restoration will bring the building back to its former glory and give us a unique and versatile space for exhibitions and events.”

Built in 1744 by Sir William Wentworth, the Georgian sandstone chapel is a historically important part of the Bretton Estate. Nestled within the YSP Country Park, the Grade II* listed building was at the heart of life on the estate during the 18th and 19th centuries. Renovation plans include replacing the roof, making extensive structural repairs and installing heating. An improved path from YSP Centre and disabled access to the building is also in the pipeline.

“Every pound will help,” says Andy, “but to acknowledge donors who give £10 or more we are publishing their names on our website. If you can give £100 or more we will display your name in the chapel itself once the restoration is complete.”

To encourage fans of the Park to give their support and learn more about the chapel, YSP is documenting its history on social media and inviting Facebook fans to share their experiences of the building.

In recent years the chapel has provided an atmospheric setting for exhibitions by James Lee Byars, Shirin Nishat and founding member of the The Pogues, Jem Finer. It has also been a venue for highly popular performances by Opera North.

Reaching the £100,000 target by September will ensure that the chapel can be fully restored by spring 2014 and become an integral part of the Park’s exhibition programme. Visit www.ysp.co.uk/chapel to donate or learn more about the project and go to www.facebook.com/yorkshiresculpturepark to follow the timeline.

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