When people think of the wealth of architecture and history in York, the Victorian period isn’t prominent. Yet much of present-day York owes its appearance to the Victorians.
After all, it was in the Victorian age that York became a great railway centre and a major chocolate producer.
When I joined a Victorian Society South Yorkshire Group walk around York, the leader, Philip Wright, pointed out the Principal’s House (1900) at the King’s Manor, built when the site was occupied by the Yorkshire School for the Blind by Walter Henry Brierley (1862-1926).
Glancing at it, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was built in the seventeenth century, like some of the buildings around it – such is the subtlety and good manners of Brierley’s design.
Like John Carr of York and Francis Johnson of Bridlington, Brierley chose to practise in his home area, where he designed around four hundred buildings in the course of his career.
The reason he was labelled “the Yorkshire Lutyens” is obvious from his very last building, Goddards, completed in 1928 for Noel Goddard Terry of the chocolate dynasty.
From the summer of 2012 it’s possible to visit Goddards, now that the National Trust has moved some of its administration away from the building. Opening times and visiting arrangements are at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/goddards.
The Principal’s House and the other buildings at the King’s Manor are used by the University of York and are not open to the public.
The 44-page, A4 handbook for the 2009 Historic York tour, with text, photographs, and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £7.50 including postage and packing. To view sample pages click here. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.