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Visit York, 1 Museum Street/2 Blake Street
1 Museum Street/2 Blake Street was originally built, in 1860, by Rawlins Gould, a one time assistant to the well known railway architect, George Townsend Andrews, and described by Pevsner as ‘a far less able architect’. Rawlins Gould also designed the Chapel at Bootham Park Hospital in 1865 and York Lodge, off York Road, in 1869.
I Museum Street/2 Blake Street is a prestigious corner building, of classical detail built in striking orange brick in Flemish Bond with moulded stone plinth and dressings. It has rusticated pilaster strips of faceted blocks on the ground floor and ashlar pilasters on the first floor with a brick parapet and stone piers with coping to a slate roof.
It has a two storey, eleven bay front, with a curved corner bay and a brick balustrading to the roof which was a later addition. The craftsmen who worked on this left their own graffiti initials SM 1908, EL 1909 and GWB 1930, the latter being for renovation work.
The main entrance on Museum Street has a round-arched doorcase of two orders with sunk-panel pilasters, vermiculated keyblock and panelled double doors with a fanlight. The subsidiary entrance on Museum Street has panelled double doors with overlight in eared segment-arched architrave. There is a further doorway to Blake Street, which has been modernised with a lift for disabled access, and there appears to be a fourth one also on Blake Street which has been filled in subsequently. Windows are segment-headed in architraves with bracketed moulded sills set in shallow segment-arched recesses with vermiculated keyblocks. Several original eight pane sashes have been altered. On the ground floor pilaster strips support moulded cornice. The first floor is articulated in Doric pilasters on sunk-panel pedestals supporting broad frieze and ornate console-bracket cornice. Generally the windows are four-pane sashes in stone architraves with moulded sills and cornices beneath alternating triangular and segmental bracketed pediments.
The most prestigious room is on the first floor, reached by a very grand staircase and boasts one of the most impressive views of York Minster along the length of Deangate. This is quite spectacular on a crisp winter’s evening. Within this room is a large wooden tablet whose transcription reads:
This tablet was erected by the Guardians of the York Union to perpetuate the Memory of John Hodgson Esq of Strensall who died 10th of Dec 1890 and by his will Generously bequeathed the sum of £5000, 4 percent preference Stock North Eastern Railway Company free from duty to the Chairman for the time being of the York Union the income of which is to be given at the discretion of the Board to persons living on small incomes when afflicted by illness and without means to procure comforts and necessaries which they may require to help them in their distress such persons not being in receipt of parochial relief and residing within the York Union and the village of Sheriff Hutton.
W Surtees Hornby Esq Chairman
Henry King Esq Vice Chairman
James Leeming Clerk
Unveiled on the 24th May 1894, by Henry King Esq Chairman
W Bean York
In addition to holding meetings of the York Union, these premises have been a Register Office, Council Offices and rooms for the Conservative Club which housed three snooker tables, committee rooms and a bar.
York Conservation Trust purchased the building in March 2010 and upgraded it internally and renovated it externally to be the home for Visit York. This includes a ‘state of the art’ Tourist Information Centre on the ground floor and support offices on the first and second floors.
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