EYO4846 - Focal Building Hungate Development, York: A Report on an Archaeological Excavation




Location Land to the south of Palmer Lane
Grid reference Centred SE 6077 5179 (21m by 22m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



York Archaeological Trust





Between 17 October and 19 December 2007 York Archaeological Trust carried out an archaeological excavation in advance of the redevelopment of the Focal Building area, part of the Hungate (York) Regeneration Ltd (HYRL) scheme. The earliest deposits and structures encountered related to the York Union Gas Light Company (YUGLC) gasworks, which occupied the site from 1837 to 1850. The remains of the main building, gas-holders and pipe network were found, all significantly truncated by later activity. The York Union Gasworks were de-commissioned and the site sold by auction in 1850 following the 1844 amalgamation of YUGLC with its commercial rival, the York Gas Light Company, to form the new York United Gas Light Company. The site was bought by a William Bellarby and converted to use as a sawmill. Elements of the sawmill main building, its yards, a cobbled road and several outbuildings were identified, along with evidence for re-use of the original gas pipe network to supply gas to the sawmill following a possible upgrade after the 1880s. The sawmill was eventually demolished during the clearance of the 1930s and 1940s, and the plot became the location of the Derwent Coachworks. It was found that this enterprise had partially re-used the yard boundary walls of the sawmill, which in turn were based around the gasworks site boundary. Elements of the coachworks, including an extensive drainage system and deeply excavated foundations, had severely truncated earlier deposits and structures relating both to the Hungate sawmill and to the York Union Gasworks. Further fieldwork scheduled to occur in the area of the Union Gasworks has good potential to refine and develop the understanding of this period. Additionally, procedures created to mitigate the effects of the significant contamination of this area, developed for and refined during the Focal Building excavation, will inform future fieldwork in this area.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2007. Focal Building Hungate.
  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • The York Union Gasworks (Monument)

Record last edited

May 18 2020 1:31PM


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