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York Castle Museum - Eye of York, York, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 53° 57.315 W 001° 04.701
30U E 626091 N 5980252
Quick Description: York Castle Museum is on the eastern side of the Eye of York and is formed by a modern entrance hall and a former prison. The main theme of the museum is how people used to live.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/24/2014 11:02:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMK0AC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Tharandter
Views: 0

Long Description:

The museum's website tells us:

York Castle Museum is one of Britain's leading museums of everyday life. It shows how people used to live by displaying thousands of household objects and by recreating rooms, shops, streets - and even prison cells.

It is best known for its recreated Victorian street, Kirkgate, which has been made bigger during 2012 with new backstreets to explore, more goods on display and real stories of York people and businesses to discover.

The street was named after the museum's founder, Dr John L. Kirk, a North Yorkshire country doctor who collected everyday objects and wanted to keep them safe for future generations.

The museum's room settings include a Victorian parlour, an 1850s Moorland cottage, Jacobean and Georgian dining rooms, a 1940s kitchen and a 1950s front room.

Our grooviest gallery, The Sixties, explores the music, fashion and everyday life of this exciting decade.

Elsewhere are displays of historic toys, fashion, armour, weapons, tools, printing presses, cooking utensils, farming equipment and much more.

The museum's past as two prison buildings is explored in York Castle Prison, where visitors come face to face with ex-prisoners including highwayman Dick Turpin, who was hanged in 1739 for horse stealing.

Conditions in the overcrowded prison were harsh and brutal and the real stories of the prisoners and staff are told in sometimes gruesome detail.

Turpin spent his last six months in the Debtors' Prison, which was built in 1701-5, and today houses half of the museum's displays. The other half of the museum was originally the Female Prison, built in 1780-83.

The museum, which opened in 1938, was named after the former York Castle, which stood on the site.

Remains of the former Castle walls can be seen outside the museum next to the River Foss and our Victorian watermill, Raindale Mill.

Work has taken place in Spring 2012 to restore the mill and the nearby riverside area and the waterwheel can be seen in action again on many weekends, between 11am and 1pm - but please check before visiting to avoid disappointment.

The older part of the museum used to be a female prison and is Grade I listed. The entry at the English Heritage website tells us about the building:

Formerly known as: The Old Female Prison.

CASTLE PRECINCT. Prison and yard, now museum. 1780-83; altered and wings added 1802; podium and steps 1820-50; modified and yard roofed over for conversion to museum in 1938. Original building by Thomas Wilkinson and John Prince repeating facade design of the Court House opposite (now the Crown Courts, qv) by John Carr: C19 alterations by Peter Atkinson, senior.

MATERIALS: front of sandstone ashlar, inside of portico rendered; upper storeys at rear of red brick in stretcher bond over altered ground floor; inner side of left wing of painted brick, outer side cement rendered and incised to resemble ashlar; right wing of orange-red brick on outer side, inner side of red brick in English garden wall bond, with stone quoins; rear of both wings of ashlar with moulded ashlar cornice beneath brick parapet with stone coping. Yard wall originally of stone, built up in dark brick in English garden wall bond with flat stone coping. Roofs not visible.

EXTERIOR: front of 2 storeys on low podium; pedimented tetrastyle portico 'in antis' flanked by 3-bay ranges and distyle in antis end bays, portico and end bays in giant Ionic order and breaking forward slightly. Broad flight of steps up to podium; second flight of steps to raised podium before portico. Central door of 6 raised panels within portico, flanked by blind alcoves, beneath small-paned lunettes and arcaded hoodmould on moulded impost band. At each end of hood, a small 12-pane fixed light in moulded surround inserted. Additional doors in returns, one a double door of raised panels, one of 6 flush panels. All doors in architraves of painted stone with moulded cornice hoods. First floor band of guilloche moulding beneath three radial-glazed oculi in moulded surrounds. All ground floor windows are round headed and radial glazed, those in end bays stepped back beneath moulded round arch on moulded imposts. On first floor of flanking ranges, windows are of 6 panes, and in end bays, oculi with radial glazing. First floor band of guilloche moulding continues across facade, running behind attached columns in end bays. Moulded modillion eaves cornice, breaking forward over portico and end bays, surmounted by balustraded parapet. Parapet terminated by pedestal blocks carved with garlands. Rear of prison: 3 storeys, 7 bays, with 3-storey wings projecting at each end. Openings largely altered, but at left end of first floor 2-storey round-arched staircase window with radial glazing survives. Remaining windows are 4-pane sashes on first floor, squat 6-pane sashes on second floor, all with stone sills and plain lintels. Rear elevation to right wing, on river front, has single barred windows on ground and first floors, tripled on second floor, with plain lintels and sills. Left return: 3 storeys 8 windows. Windows are square and either barred or unequal 9-pane sashes. Eaves cornice returned at front end only. Right return: 3 storeys, 8 windows. Ground and first floors not visible: on second floor windows have cambered heads.

INTERIOR: largely altered. On first floor, staircases at each end of centre range rise to adjoining wings, with slim bulbous balusters, possibly reused from communion rail of former chapel.

HISTORICAL NOTE: the Prison was bought by York Corporation in 1934 and modified to house the Kirk Collection of "bygones", opening as the Castle Museum in 1938. Exercise yards at the rear were roofed at this time to form Kirkgate, constructed from re-erected fragments and facades of local buildings.

The "Official Tourism" URL link to the attraction: [Web Link]

The attraction’s own URL: [Web Link]

Hours of Operation:
We are open daily from 9.30am until 5pm, except 25 and 26 December and 1 January, and will be closing at 2.30pm on 24 and 31 December.


Admission Prices:
Adult - £8.50 Concessionary Adult - £7.50 Children under 16 - FREE Residents with a valid York Card (issued after February 2011) - FREE Wheelchair user plus one carer - FREE


Approximate amount of time needed to fully experience the attraction: Half of a day (2-5 hours)

Transportation options to the attraction: Personal Vehicle or Public Transportation

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