The Mansion at Roundhay Park is reopening to the public after extensive refurbishments.
The historic building, which has been closed for six years, has been given a complete restoration to return it to its former glory. The historic Grade II-listed building will throw its doors open to the public next week following a multi-million pound refurbishment programme to restore it to its former splendour.
From Monday 3 August 2009, people will be able to visit the newly-restored Mansion to enjoy the new café restaurant, deli, and people will also be able to marry there for the first time ever.
The Mansion is an impressive regency country house, situated in 700 acres of woodland and water gardens at Roundhay Park, Leeds. The house was built in 1811 after architect John Clarke was commissioned to design it by the then owner of Roundhay Park, Thomas Nicholson.
The building and park were then acquired for the people of Leeds in 1871 by Mayor John Barran and The Mansion established local and national renown as a café restaurant, carvery and party venue and acknowledged as one of the very best historic city venues in the country.
Nice touch - a new staircase chandelier
The house was managed for over 120 years by the Gilpin family, the most famous of whom was Craven Gilpin. He pioneered professional outside catering from The Mansion and his reputation was such that King George V requested to meet him after a royal banquet at Leeds Town Hall in 1933.
After the Gilpin family relinquished their tenancy in 2003, Leeds City Council undertook a major assessment of the state of the house which found it to be in a serious state of disrepair, in need of major refurbishment, maintenance and repair.
With significant funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Leeds City Council began a major £8million restoration scheme for the whole of Roundhay Park which included The Mansion. One of the principal aims of both the park and Mansion restoration was to make them both more family friendly and place the park as one of the foremost family attractions in Leeds and the wider region.
This work involved the total renovation of all interior rooms and spaces including painstaking repair of original detail features such as decorative plaster cornices, architraves, wall panelling and beechwood dance floors. Restored features include the magnificent sweeping staircase with original stone steps, decorative wrought iron work and carved mahogany banister - the centrepiece of The Mansion.
Renovated mansion open to public
A Grade II listed building at the heart of a Leeds park has re-opened to the public after undergoing an £8m refurbishment programme.
The Mansion in Roundhay Park was deemed to be in a "serious state of disrepair" by Leeds City Council in 2003.
It has re-opened as a cafe, deli and venue for meetings and weddings.
Local children were invited to be the first visitors to the 19th Century building, where they were given jelly and ice-cream.
The building and 700 acres of parkland were acquired for the people of Leeds in 1871 after being built for Thomas Nicholson in 1811.
Funding for The Mansion's refurbishment came from Leeds City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "The mansion at Roundhay Park is an integral part not only of Leeds' heritage, but that of the region.
"It will be wonderful to see the transformation and restoration of the house complement the rolling parkland, lakes, woodlands and gardens that surround it, and be enjoyed into the future by the local community and visitors alike."
Work on the building itself was carried out by Leeds City Council and the interior was tackled by private catering company, Dine.
Original features including decorative plaster cornices and wooden dance floors have been maintained wherever possible.
John Procter, of Leeds City Council, said: "The building is now fully occupied, open to the public and restored to its former glory as a grand and historic building here for future generations to enjoy."
The restoration cost about £3m and it can now be used for weddings and meetings or a quick sandwich