Monument record MYO4859 - Belle Vue House

Summary

The gothic style was chosen for this house, built in 1833-1838, which was unusual for York. The whole composition made it York's most distinctive 19th century villa. Acquired by the Retreat, a psychiatric hospital, in 1879 to form part of their villa system which involved the treatment of patients in separate houses. The lower section converted into the Retreat Swimming Pool. Building demolished 1985.

Location

Grid reference SE 6138 5093 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Belle Vue House, a villa decorated in Gothic style, was built in the 19th century before 1838. It was the home of William Abbey Plows, sculptor and stone and marble merchant who had works at Foss Bridge in Walmgate. Plows bought the site in 1833 and it is probable that the house was built for him shortly after that date and that the carved stone decoration came from his own workshop.

Plows sold the house in 1852 and it changed hands several times thereafter before it was acquired in 1879 for The Retreat to form a part of the villa system of treatment of patients in separate houses. The upper part of the house was pulled down in 1935 and the S. wing has been removed but the lower parts of the walls of the main part have been retained to enclose a swimming pool. The upper storey was castellated (YC 25/7/1839) and appears faintly on N. Whittock's view of the City of c. 1858; photographs of the house before alteration are preserved at The Retreat. A lodge, similar in style to the main house, was demolished in 1971 (Directories; Deeds and Annual Reports, York Retreat).

The main part of the house consisted of a rectangular block with octagonal turrets terminating the front elevation which is built in white brick with stone dressings. In the middle of this front is a porch with rectangular stone piers carrying stone lintels carved with triple ogee arches cusped and enriched with ivy trails. The piers have capitals carved with figure subjects. The arched decoration is repeated over the windows, and a string course is enriched with dog-tooth ornament.

Plows offered the house for sale in 1846 when it was described as having a basement providing dry cellarage; on the ground floor, breakfast room, dining room, drawing room opening into a vinery, and two kitchens; a stone staircase with bronzed iron balustrade of the vine pattern and a secondary servants' staircase; upstairs, four principal bedrooms, two dressing rooms and three servants' bedrooms. The dressing rooms were supplied with soft water, and a water closet and a bath were provided. The grounds were formally decorated with urns and figure sculpture; the only garden ornaments now remaining are three carved stone capitals 'removed from Carlton Palace [Carlton House, London] on the demolition of that splendid building' (YC, 25/7/1839; YG, 15/9/1846; OS 1852).

'Houses: De Grey Street-Heslington Road', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse (London, 1975), pp. 69-76 Monument 145

NMR Information

Summary description
The now demolished Belle Vue House, later known as the Retreat Swimming Pool, was built as a villa with gothic details between 1833 and 1838. Constructed of red brick with stone dressings, the building was acquired by the Retreat, a psychiatric hospital, in 1879 to form part of their villa system which involved the treatment of patients in separate houses. By 1988 the top storey had been removed and the lower section converted into a swimming pool. As of the early 21st century the building is no longer extant.

Full description
The now demolished Belle Vue House, later known as the Retreat Swimming Pool, was built as a villa with gothic details between 1833 and 1838. Constructed of red brick with stone dressings, the building was acquired by the Retreat, a psychiatric hospital, in 1879 to form part of their villa system which involved the treatment of patients in separate houses. By 1988 the top storey had been removed and the lower section converted into a swimming pool.

Please see the buildings file for the Retreat Swimming Pool for further information and photographs. It is held in the archive at the National Monuments Record and is Archive Object Number BF060657. (1)

BF093608 BELLE VUE HOUSE, HESLINGTON

BF060657 THE RETREAT SWIMMING POOL, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.


NMR, NMR data (Unpublished document). SYO2214.

RCHME, 1975, RCHME Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse (Monograph). SYO2424.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unpublished document: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1975. RCHME Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse.

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Mar 17 2020 3:26PM

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