Building record MYO1209 - 53-55 Micklegate


House, built circa 1750. Now a nightclub. For stylistic reasons attributed to John Carr.


Grid reference Centred SE 5995 5162 (19m by 21m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Town house, now nightclub. 1751 on rainwater head at rear; subdivided, altered and second doorcase added c1813. House returned to single occupancy in C20 and stairhall ceiling renewed 1970. Possibly by John Carr.

MATERIALS: front of orange-red brick in Flemish bond on painted stone plinth; rusticated quoins and dressings of painted stone; original doorcase of painted stone, with added column of painted timber; dentil and modillion cornice of timber. Rear of buff-red brick with red brick dressings. Double span roof, slate at front, tile at rear, with stepped and shaped gable ends.

PLAN: originally central entrance hall plan; doorway to right created from former window opening.

EXTERIOR: basement and 3 storeys; 5-window front. Flight of steps leads to double doorcase of three engaged Tuscan columns, triglyph frieze and cornice hood; two 6-panel doors beneath radial fanlights set in round-arched architraves with imposts. 12-pane sash windows on ground and first floors, unequal 9-pane sashes on second floor, all with triple-keyed flat arches of gauged brick. Plinth band forms sill band to ground floor windows; first and second floor windows have painted stone sills. Raised bands to first and second floors. Rear: later extensions obscure ground floor. Radial-glazed staircase window in centre of first floor, beneath keyed round arch of gauged brick with moulded imposts. Raised bands of brick to first and second floors. Moulded eaves cornice. Dated rainwater goods with ornate clamps, at right end.

INTERIOR: extensive cellars, barrel-vaulted or groined, run beneath whole house. Ground floor: original entrance hall has moulded skirting, dado rail and cornice enriched with egg-and-dart; doorcase with pulvinated frieze and dentil cornice. Round stairhall arch with triple keyblock, panelled reveals with moulded imposts and bases, incorporated in skirting. In stairhall, skirting, dado rail and cornice continue from entrance hall; also doorcase similar to that at front. Main staircase to first floor has open string, 3 balusters, alternately turned, twisted and fluted, to a stair, and serpentine moulded handrail wreathed at foot around fluted column newel on shaped curtail step. Radial-glazed staircase window in pilastered round arch beneath floral swags and pendants. Front room fitted with raised panels in egg-and- dart moulded surrounds, with two enlarged, eared and shouldered panels bordered with Greek key mouldings in similar surrounds on side walls. Sumptuous cornice of dentils, egg-and-dart, and modillions alternating with rosettes. Moulded door and window cases, the doorcase with frieze of rinceaux and cornice enriched as ceiling cornice; windows have panelled shutters similar to wall panelling. Chimneypiece of Ionic columns beneath enriched frieze and broken pedimented overmantel in plaster moulded surround of pendant garlands. Back room has sunk dado panelling, moulded cornice, plain window shutters and mid C19 fireplace.

At rear of inserted entrance hall to No.55, round arch on panelled pilaster reveals with moulded imposts leads to original secondary staircase. Staircase rises from ground to first floor, and has close string, turned balusters and square newels, and moulded, ramped-up handrail. To right of entrance passage, wide square-headed opening in moulded frame with lion mask paterae leads to front room. In front room, fireplace with fluted jambs and frieze survives, flanked by fitted cupboards of which the lower doors, with applied composition roundels enclosing female heads, beneath shaped panels, also survive; panelled window reveals; dentil cornice. First floor: upper part of main stairwell has wall panelling above moulded dado rail, and renewed ceiling of Rococo plasterwork panels, all enriched with egg-and-dart mouldings; cornice of acanthus modillions and rosettes. Lobby to front reception room approached through opening in the form of an Ionic triumphal arch of fluted pilasters, entablature and dentilled pediment, broken by moulded round arch with triple keyblock and panelled reveals; flanking arches are blind and enriched with egg-and-dart moulded panels enclosing floral drops. Eared doorcases have enriched architraves and pediments, one pediment broken, and doors of six moulded panels. In front room: moulded window cases with lion mask paterae; two fireplaces, one reeded with carved posies in angle blocks, the other with grooved elongated console jambs and frieze carved with rinceaux and swags; moulded cornice. Room at rear has panelled walls and fireplace with pulvinated frieze and moulded cornice shelf. Altered secondary staircase rises to attics, with slender turned balusters and newels. Attics have gypsum plaster floors. (City of York: RCHME: South-west of the Ouse: HMSO: 1972-: 76).
Listing NGR: SE5995051617

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

House, Nos. 53, 55, had probably been built shortly before 29 May 1755, when the Corporation required that 'the wall lately built before the house and steps' should be removed as an encroachment (YCA, M. 17). It may have been an early design of John Carr, having details similar to those of Micklegate House and Garforth House (also attributed to Carr), as well as Fairfax House, Castlegate, and Castlegate House, known to have been designed by him. Details given by Davies (Walks, 168–9) of the home of Lady Dawes and her second husband Paul Beilby-Thompson, refer to this house, which can be identified from abuttals in a deed of 1791 (YCA, E.95, f. 108), but it was not the house 'newly-built' in 1736 (Drake, 280). In 1806 the house 'the late residence of the Countess of Conyngham' (widow of the 1st Earl) was advertised to be sold or let, with stabling for eighteen horses (Yorks. Gazette, 20 Jan.). About 1813 (Borthwick Inst., Rate Books of St. Martincum-Gregory) the house was divided into two parts and numerous alterations made. Since the middle of the 19th century, No. 53 has been occupied by someone connected with the adjoining wine and spirit merchants' establishment; No. 55 was occupied by offices of the Inland Revenue and other Government bodies from 1853 onwards; after 1905 it became a girls school.

The front elevation was symmetrical until the entrance was doubled when the house was divided. The back, in buff-red brick, with red brick dressings, has later additions built against it. There are projecting brick bands above the windows of the two lower storeys and a heavy moulded cornice at the eaves. The central stair window has a semicircular arch of rubbed brick, key-block, stone imposts and original sashes.

The original central entrance hall leads to the main staircase at the back of the house and to the former servants' staircase placed transversely to the W. And now reached by a passage taken out of the W. Front room. The E. Front room has decoration of the highest quality; the woodwork is moulded and enriched, the walls are panelled under an elaborate cornice and the fireplace surround has flanking columns and enriched overmantel. The W. Front room was refitted in the 19th century with a simple cornice and cupboards with applied composition roundels of female heads. The secondary staircase has closed strings, square newels and turned balusters. The sumptuous main staircase rises in a stair hall in which the walls have enriched panels and over the window are floral swags and pendants; the ceiling is decorated with rococo plaster-work. On the first floor the doorcases are surmounted by enriched pediments, and pilasters flank the arched opening to a recessed lobby leading to the front rooms. The front rooms were completely refitted at the beginning of the 19th century. One of the back rooms is lined with panelling. The attics are floored with gypsum plaster. Stair hall ceiling renewed 1970

Derived from RCHME - 'Secular Buildings: Micklegate', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 3, South west (London, 1972), pp.. 76 (Monument 65)

Unknown source
53-55 Micklegate were built as a single house, probably some time before 1755 when the City Corporation required that 'the wall lately built before the house and steps' should be removed as an encroachment. It is possibly an early design of John Carr as it bears similarities to buildings known to have been by him, such as Castlegate House in Castlegate and Garforth House, almost opposite this building. The original owner was probably Lady Dawes and her second husband, Paul Beilby-Thompson. It was divided into two in about 1813. Number 53, on the left, was occupied by wine merchant whose business operated in the adjacent property from the mid 19th century until the 1980s. Number 55 was occupied as offices by the Inland revenue and other Government bodies from 1853 onwards. It is now a nightclub.

Jenkins, M. 2013. The View from the Street. Unpublished PhD University of York

Nos 53 and 55 show how the use of the term ‘servants’ staircase’, at least in urban contexts, can be misleading. For while the family could use the main grand staircase to reach the formal rooms on the first floor they would have had to use the servants’ staircase to access the bedrooms on the second floor. This places the family and servants within the same space and indeed within the same group, a group that can be contrasted with that of outside visitors who would only have used the grand staircase. (pp.46)

Nos 53 and 55… showed how the hallways of Georgian houses were not simply blank impersonal passage ways that provided the visitor with few clues as to what lay behind their doorways (Deetz 1996, 161). The first-floor landing gave a guest the choice of five doorways, yet the design also allowed that choice to be informed. Although each of the doors had enriched pediments, three of the doors were further nested in an inner lobby providing a more intimate space. Furthermore, the central door of the lobby had a broken pediment, further guiding the visitor to their probable destination, the front drawing room. (pp. 49-50)

NMR Information

1. 5343 MICKLEGATE (south side) Nos 53 and 55 SE 5951 NE 15/323 14.6.54
2. Circa 1750. For stylistic reasons attributed to John Carr. Brick with stone dressings; 3 storeys; 5 sash windows with flat brick arches and triple keyblocks; stone plinth and bands between storeys; rusticated quoins at sides; paired doorways, (that to right a later C18 addition when the house was divided into 2 dwellings) having 3 engaged tuscan columns with full Doric entablature, semi-circular headed doorcases with moulded imposts, archivolt, radial fanlight, and steps up; dentil and modillion eaves cornice. No 53 has an exceptionally fine interior including staircase, rococo plasterwork and pedimented doorcases. The interior of No 55 is much altered. Extensive cellars.
(RCHM Vol. III, Monument 65) (1)

1.List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest DOE (HHR) City of York N Yorks June 1983 202

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey

BF060810 53-55 MICKLEGATE, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued

RCHME, 1972, RCHME City of York Volume III South-west of the Ouse (Monograph). SYO64.

NMR, 2019, NMR data (Digital archive). SYO2214.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1972. RCHME City of York Volume III South-west of the Ouse.

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Record last edited

Feb 7 2020 12:20PM


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