Visitors have flocked to see inside York’s newly restored Mansion House after it opened its doors for the first time last weekend [2-3 December].
Over 1,000 people visited the house following a £2.6m restoration project to make the history of the Mansion House even more accessible to York residents and visitors.
The house will now be open every day [except Mondays and Tuesdays] until Saturday 23 December, giving people more opportunities to see the house fully dressed for Christmas, complete with decorative garlands and a 10ft Christmas tree.
Councillor Keith Orrell, Interim Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, City of York Council, said: “York Mansion House really comes into its own at this time of year and the house looks really beautiful dressed for Christmas. I hope that local residents will take the opportunity to see for themselves the marvellous retoration work – the biggest since the house was finished in 1732 – and find out more about the unique history of York’s Mansion House than ever before.”
The resoration includes a new-look exterior, with a brick-coloured facade and a polychrome crest – a colour scheme voted for by York residents in 2016 – and thought to be similar to how the Manison House would have looked in the 1890s. (more…)
York residents and visitors are being invited to take a sneak preview at York’s newly restored Mansion House this festive season.
Fully dressed for the Christmas period – complete with decorative garlands and a 10ft Christmas tree – the Mansion House will open its doors to the public for the first time since its £2.6m restoration, on the first weekend in December (Saturday 2 – Sunday 3 December).
As well as seeing the new-look Mansion House restored to its former glory, visitors will also be able to find out more about Christmas culinary specialities through the ages with food historan and broadcaster, Dr Annie Gray.
Younger visitors will also be able to write a letter to Father Christmas, and hand it over to the Lord Mayor, Councillor Barbara Boyce, for her to send on to the North Pole, receiving some chocolate treats for their efforts.
Richard Pollit, Mansion House Curator, said: “This is the first chance visitors will get to have a look at the incredible outcome of the resoration project. We’re so excited to open the doors to the public for the first time and are really looking forward to welcoming our first visitors.”
Councillor Keith Orrell, Interim Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, City of York Council, said: “York Mansion House is a beautiful building at any time of the year, but during the Christmas period it really take centre stage in the city. I hope that local residents will take this opportunity to see for themselves the marvellous retoration work – the biggest since the house was finished in 1732 – and find out more about the unique history of York’s Mansion House than ever before.”
The restoration includes a new-look exterior, with a brick-coloured facade and a polychrome crest – a colour scheme voted for by York residents in 2016 – and thought to be similar to how the Manison House would have looked in the 1890s.
The Mansion House will be officially re-opened on 27 January 2018 (Residents’ First Weekend), when visitors will be able to see the newly curated silver galleries for the first time.
York residents can get half price entry to the Mansion House with a York Card or proof of residence (such as a Council Tax bill). Full price entrance is £6.50 for adults, £5 for concessions and £3.50 for children. The house is open every day (except Mondays and Tuesdays) between 10.30 and 5pm until Saturday 23 December.
More details are available at www.mansionhouseyork.com. Tickets are now available and can be purchased by clicking here
The ‘Opening Doors’ restoration project was made thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), funding from City of York Council and a variety of grants and generous donations totalling £2.6 million. The project sought to improve the visitor experience by beautifully restoring this gem of York’s architectural history, allowing more people than ever to enjoy it.
Admission charge to be set at £6-50 per person
Mansion House cost up by £150,000
The Council says that the much delayed refurbishment of the Mansion House has been completed and it will reopen to the public in December.
A report to a meeting taking place next week lists the charges which will apply for general admission to the House as well as the costs of hiring the building for events and filming.
Council officials obviously see the publicly owned building as a competitor for other tourist attractions in the City such as Fairfax House, Barley Hall and the Merchant Adventurers Hall. Whether the Mansion House plans will increase the total income from tourists in the City or simply spread the existing revenue around more thinly remains to be seen.
No business plan figures are included in the Council report.
The report glosses over the role that the Lord Mayor will have in the future life of the Mansion House.
Mansion House admission charges
Traditionally the Mansion House has been the home of York’s leading citizen. In recent years the Lord Mayor has occupied a self contained flat at the top of the building.
It now seems that the emphasis of officials will in future be to maximise the commercial income from the property.
The loss of any traditional link, in a City like York, may be regretted in the fullness of time.
Mansion House 1729
Further delays in reopening the Mansion House in York, following restoration works, are forecast.
In December last year the media reported that local building company William Birch had taken over from Ainlays when the latter entered administration. The expectation was that the new arrangements would mean a delay of around 12 months on the original reopening date.
The Council said that the Mansion House would reopen in “mid-summer”. It later confirmed 25th June as the completion date for building work
As we enter October, scaffolding still surrounds the building with no immediate prospect of reopening apparently in sight.
The Mansion House closed in September 2015 when the then Lord Mayor, for a while, appeared to refuse to leave the building pending the provision of an alternative residence.
Subsequent Lord Mayors have also not had access to the building.
Now the £9 million, 2-year, refurbishment project at the adjacent Guildhall is due to get underway, further limiting access to the House.
The last edition of the Mansion House newsletter (Opening Doors) was published in March.
Their website talks of a “reopening in late 2017”.
The restoration work is costing £1.6 million.
A Council report shows an out-turn of £35.751m on the Council capital investment budget compared to an approved budget of £52.428, an overall variation of £16.677m.
Community stadium start slips
The biggest slippage (£3.5 million) was on the York Central project although there were also delays in other areas including school maintenance, housing construction, the Glen Lodge extension, waste disposal, IT development and upgrades to buses.
The report shows that expenditure on the Community Stadium has also slipped again with the bulk of the work now expected in 2018/19. In total, the Council will spend £36 million on this project although this figure does not include the substantial sums spent to date or the (privately funded) commercial elements of the project.
The report goes on to say;
Mansion House cost up by £150,000
- that the Mansion House restoration scheme has an outturn position of £1.031m in 2016/17, requiring re-profiling of £515k of funds from 2017/18 into 2016/17. The work is now expected to be completed in August 2017. The report goes on to say that “as the works contract has progressed a number of areas of additional work have been identified as necessary to safeguard the future of the Mansion House, these essential restoration works will cost an additional £150”.
- the Tenants Choice programme saw 120 properties have their kitchens, bathrooms and wiring updated through the year. This is significantly lower than the 220 properties that were planned. This is due to problems with tenants refusing works, delays due to damp problems and delays with kitchen deliveries. The scheme under spent by £416k in 2016/17
- the proposed developments at Newbury Avenue and Chaloners Road have also been delayed. The development now proposed is for 5-6 bungalows and “will be submitted for planning approval in July”. The development of homes at Chaloners Road was postponed when the developer withdrew from the contract. A revised scheme will be submitted for planning approval in late summer 2017
A summary of the Councils £1/4 billion investment plans can be found below
The contract to repair the Mansion House is due to be completed by 25th June.
The contract was awarded to local company William Birch in December and was valued at £1.1 million.
It was awarded when the previous contractor went into administration
It is unclear when the Mansion House will reopen to visitors and when the Lord Mayor will move in.