'Opening Doors' at York Mansion House

York Mansion House, Monaghans
York Mansion House, Monaghans

16th July 2018

The ‘Opening Doors’ project at York Mansion House has been doubly honoured at the York Design Awards winning the Conservation/Restoration category and also collecting the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Award.

The annual York Design Awards aim to encourage and promote excellence in design and conservation, striving for the highest standards which will delight present and future generations throughout the historic city of York. The first awards were actually held at the Mansion House before establishing a tradition of being hosted at an award-winning building from the previous year. The success of the recently completed Opening Doors project has now seen the Mansion House itself honoured by the awards.

York Mansion House has stood at the heart of the vibrant historic city as the home to the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of York since 1732 making it the earliest purpose-built house for a Lord Mayor still in existence. Still in use today, the Grade I listed official residence presents a beautiful grand façade to the city but has now for the first time opened its doors permanently to the public.

The £2.4 million Opening Doors project, made possible by a £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, undertook a comprehensive restoration of the Mansion House to develop a new visitor experience designed to reveal the stories of the house and its Civic Collections through inspiring, interactive environments. From the grandeur of the state room to experiencing life below stairs, in the restored Georgian kitchen, York Mansion House is a pleasure to discover.

The extensive external and internal refurbishment works included the removal of intrusive past additions to expose the Grade 1 Listed fabric, extensive plaster restoration throughout and the enhancement of original features – a particular highlight being the reinstatement of a fully functioning 18th century kitchen! Major structural repairs were also sympathetically undertaken including significant roof work and underpinning of central brickwork piers and strengthening of floor structures to enable the installation of high security display cases.

The heritage assets are complimented by appropriate modern additions such as a fully integrated museum standard climate control system to greatly improve environmental control whilst minimising energy consumption, and a holistic approach to security and safety including the implementation of a robust new fire strategy to safeguard the building, its contents, and its occupants.

De Matos Ryan Architects lead the successful design team whilst Monaghans undertook CDM Advisor (CDMA) and Advisor to the Principal Designer (APD) roles throughout the restoration and were delighted to facilitate this most intriguing and challenging project.