Ambitious plan to upgrade ‘forgotten’ historic area of York

The charm of Lady Peckett's yard is partly obscured by the scaffolding. Photographs: YorkMix

An historic area of the city centre – which featured in a popular television drama – could be in line for refurbishment.

Lady Peckett’s Yard, Sir Thomas Herbert House and Pavement could be made more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors if a bid for Government funding is successful.

Under than plans, the area would also be better linked to Shambles and the recently renewed Fossgate.

Prop laundry hangs in Lady Peckett’s yard during the filming of ITV series Victoria. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Sir Thomas Herbert House was last refurbished in 1926 and has 1,000 sqm of space – most of which is not being used.

The Grade I-listed building is said to be one of the most photographed sites in York and the ground floor is currently home to a pop up York Gin shop.

Lady Peckett’s Yard, which runs alongside the building, was used as a filming location for popular ITV series Victoria.

Wonderful role to play

Now a gin joint… Sir Thomas Herbert House on Pavement
York Conservation Trust have applied for Government cash from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Fund for the work.

Jonathan Bryant from the organisation said the buildings are “due a bit of an update” and added:

  • It’s going to be an expensive refurbishment scheme and to get the most out of it for the city we can’t just look at those buildings, we need to look at the environment.

    This area of York is really interesting. Lady Peckett’s Yard is a bit like Diagon Alley, it’s very attractive. But it’s a bit forgotten.

    We think the area has a wonderful role to play in the vibrancy of York’s city centre in the future.

    If we are selected it means we can begin immediately and do things a lot more quickly. It’s very exciting.

More details will be revealed if the project makes it to the next stage of the application in September – but the work would include refurbishing Sir Thomas Herbert house, working with the charities that use St Crux Church yard and creating space for commercial use as well as community groups and cultural events.

Safer and welcoming

The Pavement entrance to Lady Pecketts Yard
Sir Thomas Herbert House was formerly occupied by Jones the Bootmaker until 2017 and some of the upper floors were previously used as office space by charity Relate.

The building and neighbouring snickelway were acquired by the conservation trust in 1946, a year after the organisation was formed.

A report prepared for a council meeting says: “The bid would also see the restoration of the adjacent Lady Peckett’s Yard, creating a safer and more welcoming thoroughfare between Pavement and Fossgate.

Another view of the alley
Birthplace of Sir Thomas

“The total cost of the project would be defined at full business case but the level of Heritage High Street funding cannot exceed £2m, and any funding ask would require 50 per cent match funding.”

The plan would “restore Herbert House to its former glory.”

It adds that York’s bid for money from the Government’s Future High Street Fund – which was to help local authorities respond to challenges facing the high street – was unsuccessful.