Bachelor wing of Rotherham stately home to become ‘prestigious’ business space

Bedlam, a suite of rooms once reserved for ‘noisy Georgian singles’ in Rotherham’s stately home, Wentworth Woodhouse, could soon become one of the UK’s most prestigious commercial rentals.

Plans are underway to transform Bedlam into attractive rental spaces for both national PLCs and local businesses. When Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust took over the Grade I listed mansion in 2017, decades of neglect had left one of the UK’s finest homes in what it described as a “desolate state”.

Bedlam’s roof, along with those of the mansion’s chapel and riding school, was one of the first to be tackled when £7.5m of capital works and repairs to Emergency were started at the end of 2018, using grants awarded in the Chancellor’s Autumn 2016 statement and managed by Historic England.

After 15 months of work, the Trust can now explore its goal of turning Bedlam into a commercial property rental space. The Trust hopes to see a wide range of businesses share its address, from national companies looking for a “prestigious” setting for their headquarters, to specialists in heritage building and the digital and creative industries.

CEO Sarah McLeod commented: “Our priority is to use the spaces we have at Wentworth Woodhouse to generate healthy income for our ongoing restoration tasks and to stimulate the local economy.

“When we launched our master plan in 2018, Bedlam was intended for the rental of commercial offices. It is in a prime position, right next to the State Rooms on our famous East Front and this beautiful and impressive location offers easy access to the M1, M18 and A1 motorways.

“The fact that the name was adopted at Wentworth Woodhouse gives a glimpse of the high times that occurred in this wing,” commented WWPT historian David Allott.

“In Georgian and Victorian times, the young men of the house slept there, as did visiting bachelors and their male servants. The rooms would have been well furnished, comfortable – and a safe distance from those occupied by single women.

The male-only area became female-only when the rooms became the dormitories of Lady Mabel College of Physical Education from 1950 to 1977.

However, it could be three or four years before the next occupants of Bedlam arrive. Permission to change use from residential to commercial would need to be granted by Rotherham Borough Council and major repairs and renovations are required.

By Matthew Neville – Correspondent, Bdaily

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