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De Grey Rooms, St Leonard’s Place
This property was purchased by the Trust from the City of York Council on 31 March 2005, together with De Grey House, in order to preserve the buildings for posterity as significant repairs and renovations were required to be carried out. Currently the property is leased by York Theatre Royal for rehearsal space, training workshops, particularly for schools, costume hire, costume making and offices.
De Grey Rooms were built by subscription in 1841-2 to the design of G. T. Andrews. The impetus for the erection of the building was given by the Earl de Grey and officers of the Yorkshire Hussars who required suitable accommodation for their annual mess. It was intended to be used for concerts, balls, public entertainments and meetings.
The building, bounded to the side and rear by a curving lane which formerly gave access to the rear of De Grey House, is principally of two storeys over a basement. It is brick-built, except for part of the rear elevation which has a weather-boarded timber frame. The cement-rendered front elevation is of seven bays, the central five being emphasised and more elaborately decorated, with a through-carriageway in the north bay. It has cast-iron area railings, lamp standards and first-floor balconies.
The prospectus specified a suite ‘comprising a large room, commodious reception and other rooms, spacious kitchens and cellars, and requisite offices’. The basement has storage rooms and at the rear a two-storeyed kitchen formerly with a cast-iron range supplied by the iron foundry of William Walker at York. The ground-floor rooms have been altered, but on the first floor the tall main hall has much enriched plasterwork and a panelled ceiling with central clerestorey lighting. Doors lead from it to a lower apsidal-ended front room, to rooms and a service staircase to the rear and side, and to the main staircase which has cast-iron vine-scroll balusters.
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