York Mansion House work “almost finished” claim Council

As we revealed last week, the restoration of York’s Mansion House is running several months behind schedule. Now the Council has issued a statement saying that it will reopen soon.

We doubt if this will be much before the end of the year.

There has been no explanation for the additional delay (the original timetable – which would have  seen the building finished last year – had to be abandoned when the building contractor went into administration).

The Council statement says, “Moving trucks have arrived, large mahogany tables and priceless silver are being steadily hoisted in and dusted off and George Hudson is looking out from his rightful place in the stairwell.

York Mansion House’s restoration is coming to the final stages as the facade and freshly gilded crest is teasingly revealed with each piece of scaffolding removed and the state room is returned to its former glory.

The kitchen has come together to create something wholly new and old as it recreates a classic Georgian kitchen, with peeking windows into the original flooring and a fantastic interactive display.  (more…)

Mansion House renovation behind schedule?

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.

The coat of arms crest at York Mansion House will be receiving a fresh coat of paint on Friday

These fresh paint strokes mark the beginning of the house’s return to being the gem of York city centre as it comes to the final stages of a £2.6 million restoration this Autumn.

The Opening Doors Restoration project for York Mansion House was made possible by National Lottery players through 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 improves the visitor experience by beautifully restoring this gem of York’s architectural history, allowing more people than ever to enjoy it”.

York Council investment programme slips

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

Mansion House repairs due to be finished before the end of June?

Mansion House

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.

Dr Annie Gray recreates historic recipes at York Mansion House

Mansion House Sept 2016

Dr Annie Gray, acclaimed food historian lecturer and author of culinary biography The Greedy Queen, to be released May 18th, will be stepping into York Mansion House’s Georgian kitchen to recreate some exciting historic recipes over a fire burning oven, spit and chafing stove.

The house is currently undergoing its biggest restoration since it was built. One of the exciting restoration projects is the Georgian kitchen which will help to illustrate three centuries of eating in the house and interpret and explore the lives of those who have worked there. This is a restored 18th century kitchen using original artefacts and architectural features, any modern recreations are made in the tradition manner, including bricks handmade from local clay.

Dr Annie Gray, food historian, author, lecturer and broadcaster, commented, ‘I’m really looking forward to cooking in the revamped York Mansion House kitchens. I’ve watched their metamorphosis back in time from an unloved 1960s basement, to the glories of the 18th century – one of the most exciting periods in British history. The technology of food has enormous potential to help tell the story of society though history, and the York Mansion House kitchens will showcase the way in which York’s mayor’s worked to make the city one of the social centres of Georgian Britain.’

Dr Annie Gray

Annie Gray will be the first person to undertake the task of cooking in York Mansion House’s Georgian kitchen after its restoration. She will be demonstrating how to cook beef alamode and woodcocks in a traditional 18th century manner as a way to explore the social history of the house.

Richard Pollitt, York Mansion House Curator said, ‘We are delighted Annie Gray will be coming to York Mansion House and we are looking forward to seeing the restored kitchen in full use as she recreates the recipes this kitchen was built to cook. I couldn’t think of anyone more suited to inaugurate York Mansion House’s Georgian kitchen’.

The Opening Doors Restoration project for York Mansion House was made possible by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, funding from City of York Council and a variety of grants and generous donations totalling £2.1 million. The project improves the visitor experience by beautifully restoring this gem of York’s architectural history, allowing more people than ever to enjoy it.

New contractor for historic Mansion House project confirmed

Mansion House Sept 2016

Mansion House Sept 2016

William Birch & Sons Ltd, York-based construction, refurbishment and restoration contractor, have been appointed to continue work on the York Mansion House’s historic restoration project.

External works have been taking place over the autumn including repairing the chimney stacks and removing old paint from the external stonework.

William Birch & Sons Ltd will be the company completing remaining internal works in the Mansion House and moving the Opening Doors project on. The business started life in York, building and restoring many of the city’s high profile properties that we all know today, including the York Minster Library, Fairfax House, Kings Manor, York Theatre Royal and the York Explore Library.

The family owned construction company have a historic connection with the Mansion House with both William Henry Birch (1921) and Jack Birch (1975) holding the position of Lord Mayor of York.

Last year the Mansion House received a grant of £1,198,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), as well as fundin g from City of York Council and donations to the restoration fund so the historic building can be restored. The ‘Opening Doors’ project, is the biggest investment in the Mansion House since it was built in the eighteenth century.

York Mansion House restoration project restarts

No completion date given by York Council
Mansion House Sept 2016

Mansion House – proposed appearance.

Work has recommenced at the Mansion House, to make sure that key external elements of the restoration works will be completed before the onset of winter.

These include:

  • · Essential repairs to the chimney stacks, to bring them up to appropriate standards, with the flues being vital to the future ventilation of the building, under its new conservation system
  • · Removal of old paint from the facade, using a special paint stripper causing the upper layers of paint to flake and appear to ‘melt’, giving way to an unusual ‘organic’ look to the building. Interestingly, when applied to the city crest, this work has revealed the many varying colours to the foliage details over the years. This process is no way damaging to the underlying brick and stone and brings many of the otherwise blurred details into sharp focus.

Since 1750 the house has been painted 47 times. In August 2016 the public voted on the colour of the facade which will be a brick colour and stone with a coloured crest. The design is that of the Mansion House from the 1890’s.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council said: “We are very pleased that the external works are now continuing. These works are essential to the project and have given us an interesting glimpse into the buildings past.

“The Mansion House is an important historic building in the city and we are committed to delivering this project.”

The Mansion House is undergoing renovation in its biggest investment since building was completed in 1732. The works were made possible after the Mansion House received a grant of £1,198,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), as well as funding from City of York Council and donations to the restoration fund. It is anticipated that the Mansion House will fully re-open to the public next year.

The restoration works stalled three months ago when the building contractor William Anelay went into administration

And the winner is… Public decide on the Mansion House facade’s future colour

Mansion House Sept 2016

Mansion House Autumn 2016

Mansion House Jan 2016

Mansion House Spring 2016

Following two weeks of consultation and hundreds of responses the residents of York have decided which colour the facade of York’s historic Mansion House will be.

The Mansion House paint scheme will remain pretty much unchanged!

Since it was built in 1732 the facade of York’s historic Mansion House has seen many changes and colours. Taking inspiration from the past residents were presented with three options after paint historians analysed and identified three themes from the building’s past.

Of the near 400 people that responded to the two week consultation 70 per cent expressed a preference for option three, a brick colour with a polychrome crest (image attached). Feedback on the proposals suggested this option “looks elegant and complements the building” and was “vibrant and handsome”. 20 per cent said they preferred option two with 10 per cent stating option one as their preference.

The design is thought to have been that of the Mansion House from the 1890’s with an original paint scheme of red brick work and painted stone colour, with a polychrome crest.