WORK TO restore one of York’s grandest buildings, the Mansion House, will begin today after months of controversy.
The scheme for the building, home of the Lord Mayors of York during their term in office, is expected to be the biggest ever investment in the premises since they were built in the 18th Century.
The news comes after York based contractors William Anelay were awarded the contract to restore the Georgian townhouse and allow visitors to enjoy more of the building than ever before.
Scaffolding will appear outside the facade of the historic building whilst the works take place.
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.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council, said: This is a massive step for this exciting project and I am delighted to see this continue to progress. Its pleasing to have a local contractor delivering the work on one of Yorks most iconic buildings on a project which looks to improve facilities and the visitor experience. This project also secures the buildings future and allows more people to enjoy it than ever before. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome.”
The building is situated in St Helen’s Square, where Coney Street and Lendal intersect in the city centre. It is built in an early Georgian style. The foundation stone for the Mansion House was laid in 1725, with the building being completed in 1732.
In 1988 the house was restored by the York Civic Trust. It exhibits a wide collection of silver, antique furniture and paintings. The collection includes York’s great sword of state, dated 1416, which once belonged to the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.
The four main areas of the Opening Doors restoration project are restoring the original kitchens to create a fully working 18th Century kitchen and a modern kitchen allowing the house to host culinary events and functions; improving displays, conservation and access to the civic collection of gold and silverware; feveloping a conservation plan for the structure, including a heating system which will minimise long-term damage to the building and contents; and preparing an oral history project.
It is anticipated that the Mansion House will fully re-open to the public early next year. Founded in 1747, William Anelay Ltd is one of the oldest construction companies in the world. It is based in York and Manchester won 31 construction and restoration awards in 2015.
Last year there was controversy when a cache of emails from Lord Mayor of York Coun Sonja Crisp was made public. They included complaints about the facilities available to her while the Mansion House undergoes refurbishment.
Coun Crisp is reported to have asked council officials to provide an alternative accommodation for her family’s Christmas lunch.
It has also been reported Coun Crisp suggested she would have turned down the chance to be Lord Mayor if she had known the Mansion House would be out of action. The Yorkshire and Humber Labour Party said Coun Crisp was suspended by the Labour Party pending an investigation looking at whether she brought the party into disrepute.