The collapse of a unique Victorian building has prompted York Civic Trust to urge residents to help save the city’s heritage.
Bulldozers have moved in to clear away the remains of the former York Carriageworks canteen off Holgate Road
On 4 April, the roof gave way and crashed through its end gable.
The canteen building was built in 1888 and had interesting architectural detailing, including oriel windows at either end.
A demolition crew moved in last Thursday (20 April) to remove the remains of the building.
It was a huge part of the lives of thousands of workers at the carriageworks. Their memories of the building were collated by the excellent York Stories website.
“To me it was a big dinnertime social hub, lots of railway men having their dinner, lots of banter going on, time to meet up with your mates who worked in different departments,” wrote one.
Another said: “To me it represents a lost part of York’s industrial and engineering heritage, and the neglect of 19th/20th Century history in favour of medieval king-chasing and pseudo-Vikingism.”
Chief executive of York Civic Trust, Andrew Morrison, said: “In old photos of the railway workers entering or leaving the site, the canteen building was always present.
“It was the last remaining social building of the carriageworks complex. There will be lots of people in York who remember using it, but after nearly 150 years this piece of the city’s railway engineering heritage is lost.”
First for England
Now the trust is putting out a call for members of the public to suggest what other York heritage is at risk.
It wants to prevent other buildings suffering a similar fate, as well as raise the profile of some of the city’s forgotten corners.
While the canteen building wasn’t listed, it was on York’s Local List, a register of buildings and structures that are of importance and interest to local communities.
“In almost 20 years, the city has lost nearly one in 12 of the structures on its Local Heritage List,” said Duncan Marks, the trust’s civic society manager.
“We know York has world-class heritage such as the Minster and the City Walls – as recognised in York recently being added to the UK’s shortlist for UNESCO World Heritage Status – but we should also fight to keep our local heritage.
“It helps to tell a diverse, fascinating but often less-well known story of our city.”
He said heritage could be everything from buildings to bridges to street furniture.
“It might be a listed building standing empty, for example Bootham Park Hospital, or local heritage, perhaps like the Foss Islands Road cable bridge.
“And it can be from any period, including the 20th century.
“Basically, if it looks old, in a bad way, or has stood empty for years, has signs of roof tiles missing and water getting in, or has been vandalised – then we want to hear about it.”
The heritage at risk identified by the public will help the York Civic Trust to compile an ‘At Risk’ register for York.
Where appropriate, it will inform national heritage bodies with the potential for funding to save those places deemed at risk.
Being entirely community led and coordinated by a local society, the trust’s ‘At Risk’ regester is thought to be a first in England.
How to help
- To suggest heritage at risk in the city, contact York Civic Trust by email on [email protected] or on social media
- More information about the appeal is available on the York Civic Trust website
Get some houses on the site. There must be room for at least 20. Anybody would think it was deliberate………