What’s on in York: Kill or Cure – Living & Dying with the Georgians

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Fairfax House :

Sat 11 Aug & Sun 12 Aug :

10.00am – 5.00pm & 11.00am – 4.00pm :

Free as part of admission to Fairfax House

Come and meet the ladies of the house who prepared home cures for the family, servants and even the ‘deserving’ poor. Hear about the strange deaths recorded in the frequently published bills of mortality and the even stranger recipes for curing a sword wound, the flux and the ague.

The remedies they turned to were more horrible and varied than your imagination could ever supply.

As a last resort … you might even encounter the Georgian Surgeon who came equipped with an array of special tools but unfortunately no anaesthetic!

Suitable for all ages.

Free as part of admission to Fairfax House

Adult: £7.50, Concession: £6.00, Child (6-16): £3.00, Family Ticket (2 Adults and up to 3 Children): £17.50

For more information or to book tickets please click here.

What’s on in York: Flower Festival at Fairfax House in Bloom

Flower Festival (2)Fairfax House 

Tue 3 Jul – Sun 8 Jul 

10.00am – 5.00pm 

Free as part of admission to Fairfax House

For 2018, Fairfax in Bloom will be inspired by the extraordinary genius of Grinling Gibbons.

Taking inspiration from the ‘Michaelangelo of Wood’s’ carvings and sculptures, floral designers from Acomb Flower Guild will be creating displays that pay homage to the hallmarks, motifs and designs of Gibbons’ artworks.

Our guest designers will also capture the essence of the Georgians’ love of horticulture and fascination with the natural world, translating it through flowers, fruit and foliage to create floral artworks that mantle the period interiors of Fairfax House with a riot of colour.

For more information please visit this website.

What’s on in York: Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Six Impossible Things

Fairfax House :

Thu 14 Jun :

7.00pm – 8.30pm :

£14.00 (Members £12.00) Includes refreshments

Ben Russell, Curator of Mechanical Engineering at the Science Museum, considers the ‘Impossible’ in the Age of Reason … unimaginable new technologies, mind-blowing scientific discoveries and revolutionary new ideas. Challenging everything that had gone before, these advancements brought into sharp focus the tensions between imagination and wonder, rationality and reason. In doing so, they provoked controversy, and pushed the boundaries of what Georgian Britain was prepared to believe in.

For more information please check out this web site

What’s on in York: The Vulgar Tongue With Professor Julie Coleman


Fairfax House

£14.00 (£12.00 Friends and Members) includes a post-lecture wine reception


Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) comes with a pedigree of written sources to provide historical credibility, but he claimed also to have consulted ‘soldiers on the long march, seamen at the cap-stern, ladies disposing of their fish … the applauding populace, attending … executions’. His colourful account of the seamier side of Regency London is both engaging and repellent: in a statement that is not entirely in keeping with the contents of the dictionary, he re-assures his readers that he has dealt with indelicate and immodest words ‘in the most decent manner possible’.

For Slang’s foremost scholar, Julie Coleman, (Professor of English Language at the University of Leicester and author of four monographs on the cant and slang dictionary tradition covering the sixteenth to the twentieth century), slang is neither completely reprehensible nor entirely admirable – though as her lecture will vividly demonstrate, completely fascinating.

Professor Coleman’s The Life of Slang outlines the history of slang around the English-speaking world and she has also worked on the language of Bunyan, the influence of advertising on the English language and on English words for love, sex and marriage since Anglo-Saxon times.

Francis Grose’s ‘Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ was first published in 1785, and is a dictionary of slang words. Grose was one of the first lexicographers to collect slang words from all corners of society, not just from the professional underworld of pickpockets and bandits. Grose and his assistant Tom Cocking took midnight walks through London, picking up slang words in slums, drinking dens and dockyards and adding them into their ‘knowledge-box’. ‘The Vulgar Tongue’ was recognised throughout the 19th century as one of the most important collections of slang in the English language, and it would strongly influence later dictionaries of this kind.

What’s on in York: Lecture – Mr Foote’s Other Leg

Mr Footes Other LegFairfax House :

Wed 25 Apr :

7.00pm – 8.30pm (approx) :


Georgian Superstar, Samuel Foote: satirist, impressionist and dangerous comedian. Adored by many, despised by some, Foote found himself at the sharp end of press attacks…and a surgeon’s knife – probably here in Yorkshire – and lost his leg. In an age obsessed with fame, Foote became an emblem for all that might be wrong with celebrity culture. Ian Kelly, award-winning biographer, actor and West End playwright narrates the bizarre career of England’s only one-legged transvestite comedy superstar…and what his story tells us of our debt to 18th century culture.

The event includes a post-lecture wine reception, ‘audience with author’ and book signing.

Unsuitable for Younger Children.

Ticket prices :

General: £14.00

Friends of Fairfax House and YCT Members Tickets: £12

Includes glass of wine or soft drink

For more information or to book tickets please click here.

What’s on in York:The Genius of Grinling Gibbons: From Journeyman to King’s Carver

GibbonsFairfax House :

Sat 14 Apr – Fri 14 Sep :

Normal Opening Times :

General admission price

To celebrate the ‘home-coming’ of the exquisite ‘King David Panel’ and to illuminate the extraordinary skill of Grinling Gibbons, Fairfax House will be mounting a major new exhibition in 2018, The Genius of Grinling Gibbons: From Journeyman to King’s Carver.

Opening on the 370th anniversary of his birth, this exhibition also marks the 350th year of Gibbons’ arrival in York. Drawing on new research and bringing together artworks and sculpture by the hand of this iconic individual from across the country, it will explore his development from an obscure journeyman to becoming the country’s most celebrated master-carver.

Ticket Prices :

Included in admission to the museum:

Adult: £7.50
Concession: £6.00 (applies to over 60s and students)
Children: £3.00 (over 6 and under 16) and include the Townhouse Mouse Trail or Townhouse Mouse Quest.
Family ticket: £17.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children)
Friends of Fairfax House, York Civic Trust members, York Pass holders, National Art Pass holders and Historic Houses Association members: Free Entry

For more information please click here.

What’s on in York: Concert – Alphabet Soup Made In Britain

Fairfax House :

Sat 27 May :

7.30pm – 9.00pm :

£14 & concessions

May _27AlphabetA is for Thomas Arne,
B is for Richard Rodney Bennett…
E is for Sir Edward Elgar.

An A to Z tour of composers of The British Isles from the past 800 years…

Ad Hoc returns with their customary eclectic mix of music, and invite you to share in an evening of alphabetical delights celebrating music Made in Britain.

Frances Brock, Sue Lindley and John Gill are joined by guests Rosy Jamieson, mezzo-soprano, and Alasdiar Jamieson, Bass and Keyboard.

Tickets £14.00
Members & Friends of Fairfax House £12.00 (Includes wine reception at the interval)

Tickets for events can be purchased from the Fairfax House museum shop during opening hours or by ringing (01904) 655543

Council set to sell Castlegate property for £431,250


The former youth advice centre premises at 29 Castlegate are set to be sold to the York Conservation Trust for over £431,000.

The building was the centre of a controversy three years ago when the Council seemed to be set on moving the youth advice service to unsuitable premises at West Offices in order to force a sale.

That issue now seems to have been resolved leaving the building – which is adjacent to Fairfax House  – empty.

The York Civic Trust intend to expand their Fairfax House operations into the building

A council report says that the open market valuation of the property is £575,000 but the discount can be justified by the new use for the building which will stimulate tourism and education visits to the City and its nearby attractions.

The new owners face bills of around £40,000 for repairs and redecoration of the property over the next 5 years.

It is expected that around £2.8 million will be invested in Fairfax House  and the adjacent building. The work will include providing full disabled access facilities.

This seems to be a  satisfactory solution to an issue which was surrounded in secrecy when considered by the last Council administration.



What’s on in York: Lecture & Demonstration: Minuet to Waltz: The Georgian Duet

Fairfax House :
Thu 24 Nov :
7.00pm – 9.00pm :
Tickets £14 or £12 for members and Friends of Fairfax House

Nov 24FairfaxDancing was central to Georgian life, at court, in the ballroom and on the stage. Country dances were extremely popular, but this was also the era of the duet – beginning with the minuet and ending with the waltz. This talk by Moira Goff will explore the Georgian duet, from the formal ballroom dances of the time of George I to the apparent spontaneity of the couple dances enjoyed in the reign of George IV. It will also trace the evolution and reveal the variety of theatrical pas de deux between the early 1700s and the early 1800s. Along the way, it will peer at fashion, celebrity and dance crazes through the prism of changes in the style and technique of social and theatrical dancing. There will be pictures and even some demonstration of the dancing of this period.

Moira Goff is a dance historian specialising in ballroom and theatre dancing from 1660 to 1760. Her research is practical as well as academic and she enjoys dancing duets and country dances from the 18th and 19th centuries. She has published many articles, essays and papers, as well as her book The Incomparable Hester Santlow: a Dancer-Actress on the Georgian Stage which appeared in 2007. Moira is currently Librarian at the Garrick Club in London.

Tickets £14 or £12 for members and Friends of Fairfax House – prices include a glass of wine.  Tickets can be bought by calling into the Museum Shop or alternatively phoning the shop on 01904 655543.