Building record MYO940 - De Grey Rooms and attached gates, railings and lamp standards


Built in 1841-2 as an officers mess and ballroom, designed by the architect G T Andrews. The building was paid for by public subscription at the instigation of the Earl de Grey, Commanding Officer of the Yorkshire Hussars. The building is now owned by the York Conservation Trust, the ground floor is occupied by the Tourist Information Centre and the ballroom is used by the Theatre Royal for training workshops.


Grid reference SE 6011 5219 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

Formerly known as: De Grey Rooms, including railings and The Conservative Club ST LEONARD'S PLACE. Subscription rooms with attached front railings, carriage gates and lamp standards; now municipal rooms. 1841-42. By GT Andrews.

MATERIALS: white painted Roman cement at front, rusticated on ground floor: rear of orange-grey brick in English garden-wall bond, first floor partly weatherboarded; slate roof with hipped clerestory to part, and brick stacks. Cast-iron gates, railings and lamp standards on low stone plinth.

EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and basement; 7-bay front, 5 centre bays project between recessed end bays: at left end, square-arched carriageway and double gates. Unequal 12-pane sash windows to basement area. Flat bridge spanning area leads to right of centre entrance with double doors of raised and fielded panelling. Ground floor windows are inset 1-pane sashes with sills. On first floor, tall round-headed windows have continuously moulded architraves, centre ones with pediment hoods on scroll consoles. Heavy moulded cornice on massive grooved brackets over centre bays, moulded cornices over fasciated friezes to end bays. 5 centre windows fronted by continuous balcony with cast-iron balustrade: outer bays have similar balconies. Rear: 2- and 3-storey curving front, 2-storey weatherboarded part jettied. On ground floor windows are unequal 42-pane sashes, on first and second floors 20-pane sashes; all have stone sills and flat arches of brick. Weatherboarded part has 20-pane sashes with timber sills.

INTERIOR: open string staircase to first floor has cast-iron grapevine balustrade and serpentine handrail wreathed at foot on shaped curtail step. First floor: landing has moulded cornice. Large room has three doorcases with panelled double doors in architraves with panelled reveals and moulded cornice overdoors on enriched consoles with wheatear pendants. Panelled window shutters. Two fireplaces, now blocked, have plain surrounds with cornice shelves on paired consoles. Dado rail enriched with Greek key and flower mouldings: panel surrounds above similarly enriched, with paterae at the corners. Enriched cornice to coffered ceiling carried on massive scrolled corbels; beam soffits moulded with Greek key, central panels are glazed, outer ones enclose chrysanthemum mouldings. Small room has apsidal end, moulded dado rail and moulded panel walls: main doorcase repeats those in large room: panelled window shutters: ceiling enriched with 3 bands of mouldings.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: railings have mushroom finials, mace-head standards and bracing to ground floor walls: carriage gates of same railings, strengthened with curved braces. Gate posts square-section with panelled sides and foliate finials. Similar piers support tapered hexagonal gas lamps on fluted shafts with crossbar.

HISTORICAL NOTE: rooms were built by public subscription at the instigation of the Earl de Grey, Commanding Officer of the Yorkshire Hussars, to provide a place for the Regiment's Annual Mess and to supplement accommodation at The Assembly Rooms, Blake Street (qv).

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 103). Listing NGR: SE6011652202

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

De Grey Rooms, St. Leonard's Place, were built by subscription in 1841–2 to the design of G. T. Andrews (YG, 13 Nov. 1841). The impetus for the erection of the building was given by the Earl de Grey and officers of the Yorkshire Hussars who required suitable accommodation for their annual mess, and it was intended for purposes for which the Assembly Rooms (45) and Festival Concert Room (46) were unsuitable because of size. It was used for concerts, balls, public entertainments and meetings (Sheahan and Whellan, 1, 623).

The building, bounded to the side and rear by a curving lane which formerly gave access to the rear of De Grey House, is principally of two storeys over a basement. It is brickbuilt, except for part of the rear elevation which has a weather-boarded timber frame. The cement-rendered front elevation is of seven bays, the central five being emphasised and more elaborately decorated, with a through-carriageway in the N. bay. It has cast-iron area railings, lamp standards and first-floor balconies.

The prospectus specified a suite 'comprising a large room, commodious reception and other rooms, spacious kitchens and cellars, and requisite offices' (YG, 2 Oct. 1841). The basement has storage rooms and at the rear a two-storeyed kitchen formerly with a cast-iron range supplied by the iron foundry of William Walker at York. The ground-floor rooms have been altered, but on the first floor the tall main hall has much enriched plasterwork and a panelled ceiling with central clerestorey lighting. Doors lead from it to a lower apsidalended front room, to rooms and a service staircase to the rear and side, and to the main staircase which has cast-iron vine-scroll balusters.

City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 103. Monument 48

NMR Information

Full description
(SE 60125220) De Grey Rooms (Ballroom) (NAT)
(SE 60125218) De Grey House (Conservative Club) (NAT)

1. ST LEONARD'S PLACE (east side) 5343

14.6.54, 1.7.68 The de Grey Rooms de Grey House and railings (formerly listed as de Grey Rooms, including railings and The Conservative Club)

SE 6052 SW 27/503

2. 1841-2. Stucco; 2 storeys; 7 sash windows. The 5-windowed centre protion breaks forward under a heavy modillion eaves cornice. The windows to the upper storey are tall and semi-circular headed, and those to the central bay have pediments and open on to an ironwork balcony on cantilevers. Iron railings extending over frontage. The interior retains good original features including staircase and
decorative plasterwork. (RCHM Vol V, Monument 48).

1 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date). OS 1:2500 1962.
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. 290 City of York, June 1983.
3 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of York, 14-MAR-1997

BF061083 DE GREY ROOMS, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

RCHME, 1981, City of York Volume V: The Central Area (Monograph). SYO65.

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

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

May 27 2020 2:05PM


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