Building record MYO1618 - MUNICIPAL OFFICES


Municipal Offices and Council Chamber, annex built for the Post Office. 1889-91 by E G Mawbey and Alfred Creer, City Surveyors. The early-C20 meeting room, former muniment room and former cells on the south side of the Guildhall are listed at Grade II. The architect of the early C20 annexe is unknown. On 18 October 1889 the foundation stone was laid for a new building containing a large Council Chamber and offices for Corporation officials on the north side of the medieval Guildhall and Chamber Range. The design was by E G Mawbrey and Alfred Creer, City Surveyors. It was built in a Perpendicular Gothic to be in keeping with the Guildhall, and contained a council chamber, committee rooms, and offices for the town clerk and city accountant, and various inspectors. The Council Chamber replaced the smaller Upper and Lower Council Chambers in the building designed by Peter Atkinson the younger and built in 1808-10 on the south side of the Guildhall (now known as the Atkinson Block). The 1:1056 Ordnance Survey Town Plan published in 1852 shows that when the Municipal Offices were subsequently built the medieval river-frontage chamber range was kept. Two small rooms behind, on the north side of the Guildhall, latterly used as magistrates’ and surveyors’ offices, were demolished to allow the new building to directly abut the Guildhall, thus allowing direct access between the two. The Council Chamber was decorated to a high quality by Kendal, Milne and Co of Manchester in the early 1890s, who also decorated the entrance hall and corridors. It is known that in 1887 Kendal, Milne and Co was acting as the Manchester agents for William Morris (Morris and Co) although the length of this arrangement is not known. Between 1901 and 1903 an extension was built at the north end of the Municipal Offices for use by the General Post Office which had been built in 1884 on Lendal. The 1853 map shows that the original post office had been located behind other buildings fronting Lendal and reached by an alleyway off the street. This access point remained so the new building (now known as the Guildhall Annex) was designed with a tower on the river frontage and a narrower range to its rear running east-west with its main access on the north side. It was first shown on the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map published in 1909. The building contained a large letter-sorting room 124ft long by 28 ft wide (37.8m x 8.5m), with a large room beneath for the telegraph linesman, a battery room, and shelters for parcel trucks and mail carts. There were also a series of retiring rooms for sorting clerks and postmen in the upper storeys of the tower. At this time the Office of Works generally designed larger post offices nationally. Between 1898 and 1913 Sir Henry Tanner was the principal surveyor; he had been employed by the Office of Works since 1871 and had designed the General Post Office on Lendal. Tanner had been a pupil of Anthony Salvin, and it is likely that he had an involvement with the extension, with the river frontage designed in a careful contextual manner to respect the pre-existing buildings. By the mid-C20 the first floor had become a sports hall for use by Post Office employees. In the late C20 it was fitted out as additional office space to the Municipal Offices.


Grid reference Centred SE 6008 5191 (78m by 76m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SE65SW
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Municipal offices and Council Chamber. 1889-91 with slightly later extension. By EG Mawbey and Alfred Creer, City Surveyors. Cream brick in English bond, faced with magnesian limestone ashlar on river front; octagonal stone stacks, on tall pedestals, some conjoined, with coved cornices, on slate roof. EXTERIOR: Coney Street side: 3-storey, 7-bay front, to right of 2-storey bay linking Municipal offices with the Guildhall (qv). through glazed lobby. Entrance in lobby. Linking bay occupied by full height staircase window of 4 mullioned and transomed lights with 4-centred head and hoodmould. Windows in 3-storey block are mostly 4-pane sashes with painted stone sills and segmental arches. Stepped brick eaves cornice. River front: 3-storey, 4-bay block, with 2-storey link bay to right; to left, 3-storey, 3-bay extension block with gabled attic, and 4-storey tower at left end: the whole on terraced basement. 4-bay block has basement windows of paired square-headed lights; link bay to right has one window of paired segment-headed lights and arched doorway at right end. Windows on ground floor of 4-bay block have 3 or 4 trefoil-headed lights in 4-centred arches, all with hoodmoulds: upper floor windows are 2 storeys high, of two tiers of cinquefoiled lights beneath panel traceried square heads and hoodmoulds. Link bay has mullion and transom windows, of 2 lights on ground floor, 3 lights on first floor. Moulded strings run across both parts, below ground and first floor windows, and beneath embattled parapets. Extension block has no basement openings: on ground floor, 3 segment-headed windows of 3 ogee-mullioned lights over moulded sill band, beneath arcaded hood of ogee arches rising to boss-like finials moulded with lion masks. First and second floor windows are of 2 and 3 mullioned and transomed lights, over moulded first floor sill band: second floor windows have separate moulded sills over panels enclosing moulded blind quatrefoils. Over second floor windows, continuous square arched hoodmould, stepped up over centre window to enclose triple cartouche set in leaf fronds. Behind eaves parapet attic contains window of 3 segment-headed lights beneath blind traceried gable apex. Tower has windows of 2 or 4 lights to lower stages: third stage set back over corbelled offset, with angle buttresses rising from gargoyles. Single slit light to river face. Parapet with moulded coping, embrasure slits, and
cut-off corners to accommodate winged heraldic lions supporting blank shields. INTERIOR: ground floor: low stone parapet pierced by ogee arches around bottom of stairwell carries arcaded screen of 4-centred moulded arches. Stone staircase with arcaded balustrade of trefoil headed arches with carved spandrels and moulded marble handrail rises to first floor. First floor: staircase window filled with coloured glass incorporating panel presented by the City of Munster in 1969. Landing has mosaic floor incorporating the York rose motif, and coffered ceiling above painted frieze of City Arms and Guild badges: 2-centred arches with hoodmoulds lead off landing. Council Chamber anteroom: fitted panelled coat stands; marble chimneypiece with plain shelf on moulded brackets, glazed tiled slips of embossed potted rosebushes, and cast-iron grate. Carved doorcase to Council Chamber. Council Chamber: lower walls lined with traceried panelling beneath embattled rail, upper part painted with oak foliage and heraldic emblems. Panelling behind dais incorporates cantilevered canopy with crocketed finials and carved City Arms. Doorcases have 4-centred arches with spandrels carved with roses, embattled lintels, panelled reveals and soffits, and panelled doors. Window cases are segment-headed with hollow-chamfered mullions. Monumental chimneypiece of traceried panelling, coved overmantel incorporating foundation panel, beneath carved frieze of flowers and leaf trails, and moulded cornice with embattled parapet: fireplace arch is 4-centred, of marble, with relief carved spandrels and tiled slips depicting scenes of medieval York. Attached fender is marble, cast-iron grate bears City of York shields of arms. Original carved benches and desks of wood and leather survive: also municipal clock in carved square surround with City Arms. 4-bay roof is depressed barrel vault and coffered with moulded beams and ribs carried on embattled corbels, each coffer quartered by slender ribs with bosses at intersections. Blind traceried band at wallhead beneath embattled and moulded wallplate. End walls panelled with blind tracery. (Bartholomew City Guides: Hutchinson J and Palliser DM: York: Edinburgh: 1980-: 157; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 78).
Listing NGR: SE6008251910

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

AOC, 2016, Guildhall Lendal (Unpublished document). SYO1856.

AOC, 2016, The Guildhall Heritage Statement (Unpublished document). SYO1857.

York Archaeological Trust, 2020, North Annexe Guildhall (Unpublished document). SYO2625.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unpublished document: AOC. 2016. Guildhall Lendal.
  • --- Unpublished document: AOC. 2016. The Guildhall Heritage Statement.
  • --- Unpublished document: York Archaeological Trust. 2020. North Annexe Guildhall.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Apr 6 2021 10:38AM


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