Following a £1.5m restoration and redevelopment which was made possible thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Orangery at Ingestre formally opens its doors this Thursday.
The ensuing week of celebration events will include an art exhibition, a community celebration and a promenade theatre production that have been made possible thanks to National Lottery players. The diversity of activities reflects the Friends of Ingestre Orangery’s aim to bring back life to the previously derelict building and create a community hub. There is a strong focus on supporting and encouraging local artists, musicians, and groups, with two local choirs performing during the launch week and a children’s art workshop delivered by local artist Richard Bostock.
Ingestre Orangery is a Grade II listed building (list entry 1259815) within the grounds of Ingestre Hall, Staffordshire and is thought to have been commissioned in the early 19th century. Its history is tightly linked with Ingestre Hall built in 1613 and a third listed building, St Mary’s Church, built in 1676 and reputedly designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
The Orangery was used for growing exotic fruit and plants by the Chetwynd-Talbots and subsequently the Earls of Shrewsbury until 1959 when the estate was broken up and sold. Ingestre Hall, Ingestre Orangery and the surrounding land were bought by West Bromwich Council (now Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council) and became a residential arts centre for children. The Orangery became unused and fell into disrepair until Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council granted the Friends of Ingestre Orangery a 30 year lease with a peppercorn rent, so that it could be restored to a sustainable use by the community.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has contributed just over £1m towards the total project cost of £1,546,986. Additional funding was secured from the Historic Houses Foundation, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Garfield Weston, the Pilgrim Trust and LEADER.
Lara Rowe, Orangery Development Manager said: ‘This is a very exciting time at the Orangery. It has been fantastic for the Friends of Ingestre Orangery and all involved in the restoration project, to see the preservation and development of this beautiful building and our visitors to be able to enjoy this unique place. Our challenge now is to ensure that The Orangery becomes a sustainable heritage space and iconic venue which functions at the heart of the local community’.