Building record MYO1690 - 42 and 44 Clifton


House, now two houses. Built c1780 with earlier remains. Altered mid-19th century when the house was divided into two. Mottled brick with painted stone plinth. Slate roof. Exterior: 3 storeys. 5 bays: No.44 of 3 bays with a doorway in the right-hand bay, and No.42, at the right, of 2 widely-spaced bays with a central doorway. The facade has 2 brick storey bands.


Grid reference SE 5958 5275 (point)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire
Civil Parish Clifton Without, City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

House, now 2 houses. c1780 with earlier remains. Altered mid C19 when the house was divided into 2. Mottled brick with painted stone plinth. Slate roof.

EXTERIOR: 3 storeys. 5 bays: No.44 of 3 bays with a doorway in the right-hand bay, and No.42, at the right, of 2 widely-spaced bays with a central doorway. The facade has 2 brick storey bands. The windows are sashed. On the ground and first floors they have segmental brick arches, and on the 2nd floor the windows are shallower. The ground-floor windows have hinged shutters, each with 2 recessed panels.

On the 1st floor the 2 left-hand bays have louvred shutters sliding below a rail with a timber valance. The 4th window has an external blind box. No.44 has a pilaster doorcase with fluted consoles, an open dentilled pediment, and a plain semicircular overlight. The door has 6 raised and fielded panels. The door to No.42 is similar, but the doorcase has plain pilasters and brackets, and an open pediment without mouldings. Chimney in front of ridge in line with door to No.42. 2nd chimney behind ridge towards left. The left-hand return gable wall is of one bay and is treated similarly.

INTERIOR: RCHM records staircase with slender turned balusters and 2 original fireplaces.

(An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York: RCHME: Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse: London: 1975-: 66).
Listing NGR: SE5958052756

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

Historic Development of Clifton View - Derived from SYO2563 'Clifton View, 42-44 Clifton, Design Access and Heritage Statement' Dean Knight Partnership Ltd

According to Pevsner most surviving C17 or early C18 lobby-entry houses were originally farmhouses rather than cottages, many of them are more substantial, being three-cell with an additional parlour to one end and sometimes servive rooms in an outshot or rear wing. Until the sale of the Earl de Grey’s holdings in Clifton from 1836 onwards Clifton was a dairy farming community and it is reasonable to assume that Clifton View originated as a farmhouse.

Phase 1- Lobby entry plan c.1600-1645

The first record of Clifton View is a deed which can be dated to 1696. This concerns the
inheritance of an existing house owned by John Burton. Looking at the plan and front elevation there are unequally spaced bays with large back to back fireplaces to the two rooms on the right side. Moreover there is a large C17 door to the rear, complete with fanlight to light the lobby behind. Looking at house typology it is possible to identify this part of the house as a typical lobby entrance plan.

Phase 2 c1645-1786 extended and refaced in brick

The evenly spaced bays on the left side, the Georgian staircase and the large reception rooms, dining room and drawing room above with larger windows, indicating their importance and implying a piano nobile, suggest a major upgrade. Moreover, the ground floor to the two left bays is a suspended timber floor rather than a solid floor on rammed earth in the earlier range. Anecdotal evidence is that this area also had basement filled in by 1974. This is indicated by the filed in “area” to the front which would have allowed windows to light the basement and cobbles to the side suggesting an external stair down to the basement. Internally a basement could have been accessed by a continuation of the staircase. Externally Clifton View is faced in Flemish brickwork. Brick became the principal walling material in York after 1645 when, as a fire precaution, the building of timber-framed houses was forbidden by the Corporation

Phase 3 c1786-1851

The fire insurance certificate dated 26 May 1786 records that Dorothy Elison Of the City of York Widow On a House only situate in Clifton near the Suburbs in the City of York in? hence? Of Ellis, Gent. Brick and tiled not exceeding Three hundred Pounds. It would appear that Dorothy Elison owned the property and a Mr Ellis rented. The insurance
premium was 4/6 with a duty of 5d giving a total of 4/11 (four shillings and eleven pence). The Sun Insurance fire sign is still a feature on the front elevation. The fire sign was to indicate that to the company fire brigade would have known this was one of their properties. Should a fire have occurred a maximum compensation of £300 would have been paid. The insurance indicates the completion of a refurbishment at this date. Features such as the
Georgian fireplaces, and staircase date from this period. The significant features of the property
still existing today were complete by this date.

Mr & Mrs Henry Robinson, 1832-1851.

In May 1830 Rosamond Best married a solicitor Henry Robinson, son of Rear-Admiral Hugh Robinson. They started their married life at 12 St Saviourgate before moving with a growing family to a larger house, Clifton View, in October 1832. Paintings of the family give some details of the appearance of Clifton View. However, there is some debate about where these picture was painted. Mary Ellen Best lived with her sister Rosamond Husband and mother at Clifton View for a period before having her own property. So this may be the dining room and the drawing room at Clifton View where wallpaper matching that illustrated has been uncovered. A painting of the scullery may now be now part of the kitchen at Clifton view. The proportions, layout and fireplace and window all matching the kitchen in 2000 prior to its extension into outbuildings. A painting also depicts the Parlour (Room 1) at Clifton View.
The herringbone brick floor on rammed earth being beneath the present wood block floor. The chimney, former staircase and door to the scullery correctly positioned

Phase 4 1851-1913

Further alterations took place in the mid-nineteenth century. The original windows were replaced with plate glass and larger Victorian style window panes and glazing bars inserted. According to a RCHME report the bracketed eaves cornice and front window shutters are also of mid-nineteenth century style. Detailed Ordnance survey maps are available from the mid-nineteenth century, throwing a revealing light on the frequent alterations to the rear “service” areas.

The Husband family, 1851-1913

Dr William and Jane Husband
A Doctor’s family connected with Clifton was that of William Husband, surgeon of Minster Yard. William was the first member of his family to become a doctor, his father being William Husband the glover of Masham. In 1814 the doctor married Jane Palmer, daughter of a linen-draper of Minster Yard, and thus a neighbour; but Jane’s mother was Jane Elston of the Clifton farming family and it was from her that Jane Palmer inherited a house in Clifton called Clifton View (Nos 42-44 Clifton) and three closes adjoining it called Chapel Garth.

The front doorbells are most likely to date from the period of Dr Husbands residence. The bell marked “VISITORS” would have alerted the Husbands of a gentleman or lady visitor whilst the SERVANTS bell would indicate a delivery or other matter and be answered and dealt with by a servant.

The symbolism of fireplaces and decoration indicates the function of the room. The first floor central room (Room 11), has classical medical symbols. On the entablature to the right and left of the fireplace is the Rod of Asclepius, the ancient greek God of Healaing who was represented carrying a wooden rod with a snake around it. The snake is associated with healing and resurrection due to its ability to shed old skin after growing into a new one. In Greek mythology Asclepius is the son of Apollo, the god of light, the son truth and also a god of healing. Asclepius’s daughters are Hygieia, goddess of hygiene and cleanliness, and Panacea the goddess of remedies. The Hippocratic Oath which all physicians have taken for centries is dedicated to the same four dieties, namely Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia and Panacea.

Phase 5 1913-1945 split into two houses

It would appear that,
looking at alterations to the rear of the property, by the time 1931 OS map was surveyed Clifton View had been split into two houses. Comparing the existing house, the RCHME ground floor plan of 1956 and the various Ordnance
survey maps covering the period it is possible to deduce what this meant for the fabric of the property. In the C19 and C20 a number of rear extensions were added, some of which were later demolished and others further extended later. For instance what became the pantry and is now incorporated into the kitchen was probably an
external lean-to water closet that had been extended sideways to encompass a boiler room and then vertically to form the bathroom to no 42 when the house was sub-divided into two houses. A further front entrance door was added between the two bays to the right, no. 42 Clifton with the original door serving no. 44 Clifton. It would have needed two separate staircases and a kitchen, toilets and bathroom serving each house.

The staircase shown in the 1956 plan led to a small lobby with a door to the right serving a double bedroom (Room 10) to the front of the property and a door to the left, pushed right up to the wall, serving a corridor leading to the bathroom and a smaller bedroom to the left. This is evidenced by an infill in the cornice to bedroom (Room 10), where the partition, dividing the bedroom from the staircase, has been removed, and the glass panel to the
bathroom Room 15 which would have lit the windowless and otherwise dark corridor.

Phase 6 1945-2000 returned to one house

Up until the 1960s there was an extension to the rear of the dining room (Room 3), and at one time this had a conservatory on the first floor, with a door from the first floor living room. The conservatory is clearly shown on the
RCHME photograph dated 7th August 1958. By 1974 the property had been returned to a single house.

The RCHME report written in 1956 says that “The house has recently changed hands and was sold as a single residence once more.” However their plan shows at this time, except for the removal of internal dividing walls on the ground and first floor, the house hadn’t been physically altered. The property was reconverted back to one house again by 1974 when it was extensively modernised. This work included re-roofing with new rafters and the roof tiles were replaced with slates. It is believed there had been a basement beneath the ground floor dining
room (Room 3) possibly accessed by another flight beneath the staircase. This was filled in by the time that the present pine floor was laid in the early 1970s.

Phase 7 2000-2020

Three bedrooms on the attic floor had been let out as rented rooms with their own washbasins with shared bathroom on the first floor and shared kitchen on the ground floor. In 2009 listed building consent was granted to extend the kitchen (the former scullery, a wet room, cooking would have been done in the range in the parlour adjacent), into the outbuilding then used as a boiler room and pantry. Doors were added to link the kitchen to an outside patio. Since 2000 various improvements have been made with listed building consent to upgrade
facilities in accordance with modern living standards. These include:

a) Expanding the kitchen, historically the scullery, into the boiler room and pantry.
b) Adding a bathroom on the attic floor
c) Removing the ceiling in attic bedroom 3 (Room 17) and forming a mezzanine floor

FABRIC AND FEATURES- Summary of elements contributing to special interest.

The significance of the house lies in the core Georgian plan, encompassing the earlier house, which is the central rectangle represented by three principal rooms on each floor with the staircase extension projecting to the rear, all contained by mottled external brickwork. None of these features are altered by the proposals. Whilst the whole building is listed features of particular interest include:

1. the mottled brickwork in Flemish bond (originally with tuck pointing)
2. the sash windows,
3. the panelled and louvered shutters,
4. the main pedimented entrance with timber pilaster jambs and semi-circular fanlight,
5. an external blind box to W11 which still contains a roller blind,
6. the Sun Fire Insurance sign on the front elevation dating to 1786
7. the brick garden walls,
8. the main chimney stack C17 (ground floor section rebuilt in 1973)
9. period fireplaces (although some were inserted in 1973)
10. a boarded and panelled door (Door 10) with strap hinges probably C17th, and fanlight
11. internal panelled doors some with raised and fielded panels
12. the late C18th stair
13. a few wide floorboards probably C17th and a number of C18th floorboards
14. York stone flags to hall, although these may have been installed in 1973.

The proposal is a scaled down version of the 2009 consent. The footprint is identical but instead of a pitched roof there will be a flat “green” roof laid to grasses. The impact will therefore be less and existing first floor views maintained.It is proposed that the extension be traditionally constructed of external brickwork complimentary to the existing brickwork, insulation and internal blockwork plastered. Openings will be black metal sliding patio doors recessed within the brickwork. The existing floor to ceiling heights on the ground floor will be maintained keeping the existing proportions. The external wall to the north-west adjacent to the side gates will be set back slightly to maintain a one metre passage adjacent to the garden wall.

Information from SYO2563

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

Dean Knight Partnership Ltd, 2020, Clifton View, 42-44 Clifton, Design Access and Heritage Statement (Unpublished document). SYO2563.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Unpublished document: Dean Knight Partnership Ltd. 2020. Clifton View, 42-44 Clifton, Design Access and Heritage Statement.

Protected Status/Designation

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Record last edited

Oct 14 2020 7:35PM


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