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Wollaton Hall

  • Built / Designed For: Sir Francis Willoughby

    House & Family History: One of the great Elizabethan prodigy houses, Wollaton was built by the Willoughbys (later lords Middleton), an old Nottinghamshire family. The plan was taken from one of Serlio's books on architecture, to which Smythson added his own adornments. The work of Vredeman de Vries inspired many of the architectural details, such as the strapwork gables. The house cost the enormous sum of £80,000 to build in 1588 (approximately £247 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index) and took eight years to complete. Wollaton was sold by the Willoughby family to Nottingham Council in 1924 (Birdsall House in Yorkshire had been the family's principal seat since the early 19th century); today the house is the Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum. Between 2000 and 2007 the house underwent a £9 million restoration that returned much of its original splendor after years of institutional use. The money for the restoration came from international, national, and local sources and included £1.5 million that was spent on the restoration of the Camellia House. The famous Prospect Room, with its mid-18th century plasterwork and trompe l'oeil canvas pelmets, was beautifully brought back to life as part of the early 21st century restoration. The Banqueting Rooms in the towers (similar to those at Hardwick Hall) are only accessible via the roof using a spiral staircase. A famous bird's eye view painting of Wollaton by Jan Siberechts, 1697, is today in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut.

    Comments: Wollaton is one of the finest Elizabethan houses in England and is frequently called one of the architectural wonders of Elizabethan England.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Wollaton is set today in 500 acres of grounds three miles west of Nottingham city center. Lenton Lodge, the former eastern gatehouse on Derby Road, now detached from the house and park by urban housing, was restored 2006-08 by Chek Whyte Industries and sold as an office. In the early 21st century £1.5 million was spent on the restoration of the Camellia House.

  • Architect: William Stretton

    Date: 1790
    Designed: Main park gateway

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    Architect: Jeffry Wyatville (Wyattville) (Wyatt)

    Date: 1801
    Designed: Alterations, repairs, and extensions for 6th Lord Middleton

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    Architect: Jeffry Wyatville (Wyattville) (Wyatt)

    Date: 1822-23
    Designed: Camellia House

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    Architect: Jeffry Wyatville (Wyattville) (Wyatt)

    Date: 1823-24
    Designed: Beeston and Lenton gateways to Park

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    Architect: Robert Smythson

    Date: 1580-88
    Designed: House

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  • John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. III, 1820.

    Country Life: XLI, 544, 568, 592, 1917.

  • Title: Cornerstone: The Magazine of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Vol 27, No. 1, 2006, pg. 53
    Publisher: London: The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
    ISBN: 09694250
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: V&A Guide to Period Styles: 400 Years of British Art and Design, The
    Author: Jackson, Anna; Hinton, Morna
    Year Published: 2002
    Reference: pg. 15
    Publisher: London: V&A Publications
    ISBN: 0810965909
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Great British Paintings from American Collections: Holbein to Hockney
    Author: Warner, Malcolm; Asleson, Robyn
    Year Published: 2001
    Reference: pg. 63
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale Center for British Art
    ISBN: 0300092229
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Hardwick Hall Guidebook
    Author: Girouard, Mark
    Year Published: 1996
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: 0707800986
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • "A History of Britain" (2000 - TV documentary series). "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012 - as Wayne Manor).
  • Past Seat / Home of: Sir Francis Willoughby, 1st Bt., 17th century; Francis Willoughby, 3rd Baron Middleton, 18th century; Willoughby family here from 1588 until 1924.

    Current Ownership Type: Government

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Museum

    Ownership Details: Owned by Nottingham City Council

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01158-763-100

    Fax: 01159-153-653

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://wollatonhall.org.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No


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