Hidden York: Revamp will open up ‘lost’ parts of Clifford’s Tower

Parts of Cliffords Tower which have been unseen for decades will be revealed once more after planners approved an ambitious English Heritage project to transform the visitor experience
Parts of Cliffords Tower which have been unseen for decades will be revealed once more after planners approved an ambitious English Heritage project to transform the visitor experience
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PLANS for a radical revamp of one of Yorkshire’s oldest and most popular tourist attractions have been given the go-ahead.

A City of York Council planning committee approved English Heritage’s proposals for the transformation of Clifford’s Tower at a meeting on Thursday evening.

The scheme will see the creation of a new single-storey visitor centre at the stone tower in the middle of York. Work on the visitor centre will uncover a section of the site’s substantial 19th century wall that has been buried since 1935.

Within the tower itself, a new walkway will let people cast their eye over a number of medieval rooms that are currently hidden from public sight.

The construction of a timber deck at roof level will also give visitors the chance to enjoy stunning views across York.

Detailed designs for the scheme have been drawn up by Hugh Broughton Architects and work is expected to start by the end of the year.

Dr Jeremy Ashbee, head properties curator at English Heritage, said: “This project will reveal more of Clifford’s Tower than ever before and allow us to finally do justice to its remarkable history. An enormous amount of care was taken in preparing the planning application, in consultation with planners, designers and members of the public. We are thrilled to have permission to go ahead with this project.”

Hugh Broughton, director at Hugh Broughton Architects, said: “We are really pleased that City of York Council has approved the proposals for Clifford’s Tower. The designs have been developed to respect this cherished monument. They will enhance access, allow many more people to enjoy the tower and provide much improved interpretation.

“We feel honoured to play a part in the next stage of Clifford’s Tower’s rich and colourful history and look forward to starting work on site in the near future.” Situated on a man-made mound, the tower is the principal remaining part of York Castle.

It was built during the 13th century reign of Henry III and later named after the Clifford family, who acted as its constables. For much of the 14th and 15th centuries it was used as a treasury, exchequer, mint and seat of royal power but was severely damaged by a fire in 1684.

Today it is managed by English Heritage and attracts thousands of visitors every year.