Mansion House, railings and gas lamps attached to front


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
No.1, Coney Street, York


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Statutory Address:
No.1, Coney Street, York

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

York (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Mansion House, and railings and gas lamps attached to the front, of 1725-1733, with alterations of 1884.

Reasons for Designation

The Mansion House, and railings and gas lamps attached to the front, of 1725-1733, is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: built as the residence of the Lord Mayor of York, a function it still fulfils, the Mansion House predates any other surviving Mansion House in England; * Architectural interest: the prominently located front elevation demonstrates an aspirational interpretation of London styles, most likely the Queen’s Gallery at Somerset House (London), emphasising the status of the building as home to the city’s pre-eminent citizen; * Plan form: the largely intact plan form highlights the specific function of the house with a particularly large and grand reception room, a suite of rooms for functional and staff requirements, such as a porter’s room and a robing room, and extensive kitchens and cellars in the basement; * Interior: the quality of craftsmanship throughout and the opulence of the interior, notably the first-floor State Room and embellished stair hall, emphasises its use both as residence to the Lord Mayor and in hosting both local events and national guests on behalf of the city; * Group value: the Mansion House has a close functional value as part of a civic group with the medieval Guildhall and Municipal Offices containing the late-C19 Council Chamber, which both stand behind the Mansion House and are reached by a through-carriageway in its northern bay.


The Mansion House was built as the residence of the Lord Mayor of York and predates any other surviving Mansion House in England. It occupies a site on the east side of the medieval Guildhall, replacing the chapel of the Guild of St Christopher and the medieval Common Hall Gates, an arched gateway onto Coney Street. A building committee was appointed in 1724, work commenced in 1725, and the building was sufficiently completed to enable meetings to be held in it in 1726, although it was not ready for the Lord Mayor to reside in until 1730. The State Room, then called the Great Room, was fitted out in 1732-3. The architect is unknown; the attribution to Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington, is without foundation. Latterly the design was credited to the York carpenter, carver and architect William Etty, though again there is no documentary proof. The front elevation may well have been inspired by that of the Queen’s Gallery at Somerset House (London), illustrated by Colin Campbell in Vitruvius Britannicus I (1715).

In 1783 the original square-headed windows in the ground-floor arcade (shown in the margin engraving of John Cossins’ map of York published in 1726-27) were replaced by larger, round-headed windows. In 1830-32 a number of fireplaces, windows and shutters were replaced and the attic floor was divided into bedrooms. The work was supervised by the City Surveyor, Peter Atkinson the younger. Work was then carried out in 1865 when the secondary staircase was renewed above the ground floor.

In 1884 an adjoining building was demolished and Lendal widened to improve the setting of the Mansion House. At this time the north side elevation continued the front elevation detailing for one bay, with the rest of the elevation cement-rendered. Perhaps at this time the present late-C19 area railings were installed (replacing the original railings, which, with later additions, now separate the forecourt of the King’s Manor from Exhibition Square).

Historic 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps show that a pair of garages was erected on the south side of the yard to the rear of the Mansion House between 1931 and 1937. In 1971 a lift shaft was built attached to the rear elevation of the house, and a small, modern extension has also been built abutting the right-hand basement bay.


Mansion House, and railings and gas lamps attached to the front, of 1725-1733, with alterations of 1884.

MATERIALS: the front elevation has a basement and ground floor of painted ashlar stone and upper floors of painted brick in Flemish bond with raised chamfered quoins and dressings of painted ashlar stone. The walls of the through-carriageway are of ashlar stone, the right return has one bay as the front and is otherwise rendered. The rear wall is of pink and cream mottled brick in stretcher bond, with orange-red gauged brick window lintels. The double-span roof of slate, with brick stacks, the right ones being rendered. Railings are of wrought-iron on a stone plinth, and the lamp standards are cast iron.

PLAN: the Mansion House is an approximately square building of three storeys and an attic over a basement, incorporating a through-carriageway in the northern bay of the ground floor giving access through to the yard, Guildhall and Chamber Range, Atkinson Block, former cells and meeting room, and Common Hall Lane and the Municipal Offices and Council Chamber, and the Guildhall Annex.

EXTERIOR: the east front elevation faces onto Coney Street. It is of three storeys and five bays over a basement with an area to the left of the through-carriageway. The basement is of painted ashlar stone with four rectangular windows with timber window frames. The ground floor is rusticated and arcaded with openings stepped back beneath keyed round arches of radiating voussoirs with a moulded impost band. The central arch contains the main entrance with double doors of raised and fielded panelling beneath a radial-glazed fanlight reached by a flight of six stone steps over the area. The right-hand arch of the arcade contains the through-carriageway; it has timber, panelled double gates with concave-shaped tops. The windows in the first, second, and fourth bays are round-headed with radial glazing-over-eight pane sashes. The quoined upper floors form a pedimented temple front articulated by giant Ionic pilasters. The first-floor windows are six-over-six pane sashes in eared, moulded architraves with aprons beneath the sills and alternatively triangular and segmental pediments. The second-floor windows are squat three-over-three pane sashes in moulded architraves. The entablature has a plain frieze and dentilled cornice with a triangular pediment over the three central bays and a plain parapet of painted ashlar stone. The pediment tympanum contains a cartouche moulded with the arms of the City of York, between palm fronds.

The right return elevation continues the detailing of the front elevation for one bay with rustication on the ground floor and quoining to both sides of the upper floors, with blind window openings. The rest of the wall is rendered with a flat parapet masking the roof valley, and stair windows to the secondary staircase and several small windows at attic level.

The through carriageway has a plastered, vaulted ceiling and ashlar walls. The south, inner wall has an eight-over-eight pane sash window over a segmental-arched basement window, with a small casement window to the left and a doorway with a rectangular overlight to the right, the windows all barred. The north, outer wall has a blocked, round-headed window with an ashlar architrave with giant keystone and impost blocks, with radial bars.

The rear elevation is of four storeys including the basement due to the fall of the ground to the west, and five bays with raised brick bands to each floor with a stone-coped parapet, and gauged brick lintels and projecting stone sills to the windows. The left-hand bay contains the tall, round-headed archway of the through-carriageway with ashlar voussoirs, a giant, double keystone, and impost blocks. The raised ground floor and the first floor have six-over-six pane sash windows. There is a tall, round-headed stair window to the centre with a radial glazing-over-twelve pane sash. The second-floor windows are square with two-light timber casements, and the basement windows are eight-over-eight pane sashes.

INTERIOR: the entrance hall has black and white diagonal paving continuing into the stair hall behind, with a panelled dado and enriched ceiling cornice. An archway with a keyed round arch with panelled reveals, flanked by Corinthian pilasters, with putti heads in the arch spandrels leads to the stair hall. On the south side is the drawing room to the front and dining room to the rear, both lined with panelling rising in two heights to a moulded cornice, now forming one room separated by a wide archway. The two fireplaces have early-C19 marble surrounds. On the south side are three small rooms originally intended for the use of the porter, butler (now WCs) and housekeeper, the latter two separated by the secondary stair. The ground-floor doorways have moulded architraves and doors of eight fielded panels. The main staircase is of false cantilever construction, with an open string, two turned, tapering balusters to a tread, and a moulded, swept handrail wreathed at the foot. The staircase wall is panelled beneath a ramped-up dado rail. The staircase window has pilastered jambs and a moulded round head, and is flanked by fluted Corinthian pilasters rising to the enriched ceiling cornice. The ground-floor doorway to the secondary staircase is hidden by screening with a curved door of eight fielded panels, which intrudes into the main stair hall. The staircase retains its original basement flights with close strings, square newels and balusters in the forms of columns over shaped pedestals, and moulded handrails. The upper flights were renewed in 1865 with open strings, turned balusters and newels, and moulded handrails.

On the first-floor landing the doorways to the north and south have early-C19 architraves and doors of six fielded panels. The central, arched doorway leading into the state room is similar in appearance to the stair hall arch. The double doors have fielded panels and to the interior the panels are painted with arabesques, the remains of a late-C19 decorative scheme said to be the work of Richard Jack of York. The state room occupies the whole of the upper part of the front of the house. The walls are panelled, and each long wall is divided by Corinthian pilasters rising to an enriched entablature with a panelled attic storey above divided by plain pilasters. The ceiling is coved and divided into geometric panels by raised ribs with guilloche ornament. The doorway in the west wall is flanked by Corinthian columns forming a shallow porch with a small musicians’ gallery above. The frieze over the doorway bears a female head between cornucopias. The fireplaces at each end of the room have moulded marble surrounds and overmantels, and are flanked by paired pilasters surmounted by pediments. Above the north overmantel is carved the Royal Arms, and above the south overmantel is the City Arms over a crossed sword and mace surmounted by the Cap of Maintenance. The south room to the rear of the state room has a white marble fireplace said to have come from the Adelphi buildings in Westminster, London.

The second-floor rooms have doorways with moulded architraves and doors with six fielded panels. The attic floor was not inspected; it is said to have been modernised (RCHME, 1981).

The basement has two large kitchens with vaulted ceilings on the south side of the building, with cellars and wine stores on the north side. The rear kitchen retains a spit mechanism in front of the fireplace opening. The front kitchen has a cast-iron range with a tiled back and glazed, cream tiles around the arched opening. The basement windows have wooden shutters, and the doors are of six and eight fielded panels.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: enclosing the area in front of the main elevation are wrought-iron railings on a low stone plinth, swept up the flight of steps to the central main entrance. The railings are square section with a bottom band of palmette, leafy scrollwork between the bars, and a top band of scrolls. Flanking the foot of the steps are two turned and fluted cast-iron gas lamp standards, with moulded crossbars on foliated brackets, and tapered lanterns with lion finials.

To the rear elevation the modern, projecting lift shaft of brick entirely obscuring the second bay and rising above the parapet, and the small, modern, lean-to extension of brick with red tiles and timber casements obscuring the basement level of the right-hand bay are excluded from the listing. The 1930s, lean-to, double-garage building on the south side of the yard to the rear of the Mansion House is also excluded from the listing.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
RCHME, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, Volume V The Central Area, (1981), 96-98
James Edgar Historic Buildings Consultants Ltd, The Mansion House, Coney Street, York, A Conservation Management Plan Volume 1, May 2014
Purcell Miller Tritton, York Guildhall Statement of Significance Final Report, January 2012.


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed buildings are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 02 Aug 2001
Reference: IOE01/04196/06
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Martin Roberts. Source Historic England Archive
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