Fairfax House

Fairfax House on Castlegate is now described as the finest Georgian townhouse in England.  It was created in 1762 as a dowry for Anne Fairfax, the only surviving child of Viscount Fairfax. 

The renowned architect John Carr designed the magnificent interior, which includes the Great Staircase with its exquisite Venetian Window, wrought iron and decorative plasterwork; the Siena marble fireplace in the Library; and the stucco ceiling in the dining room.

Fairfax House remained a private residence until 1865 when it became a gentlemen’s club and Friendly Society.  By 1919, plans were submitted to convert the building and the adjoining house into a cinema and first floor dancehall.

It became known as St George’s Hall and was a thriving entertainment venue. But by the Sixties the cinema company was in financial trouble and had to sell the building to the city council. The dancehall remained in use until 1980.

At this time, Fairfax House was described as ‘one of the more pathetic revivals in York’.  Then the York Civic Trust undertook a painstaking restoration between 1982-1984, returning the house to glorious splendour, the perfect home for the famous Noel Terry Collection of English Furniture and Clocks.


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