Building record MYO3914 - 31-35 Monkgate


Built in 1784 as the Grey Coat School, a charitable school for orphaned girls. The building was enlarged and re-fronted in 1868 by J.B. & W. Atkinson and extended to the rear during the 20th century. Identified as a Building of Merit in the Historic Core Conservation Area Appraisal. The red brick façade is relatively plain with little decorative detail and marred by inappropriate signage.


Grid reference Centred SE 6067 5238 (29m by 31m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Grey Coat School - This girls' charity school was opened in a house in Marygate, on the west side of the lane leading to Almery Garth, in 1705. A Mrs. Frances Thornhill and Mrs. Sharpe, wife of the archbishop, were among the principal subscribers. The school was managed in the same way as the Blue Coat School; the girls were fed, clothed, and prepared for domestic service. There was accommodation for 40 girls. There were said to be 30 girls in the school in 1764.

The premises in Marygate were found to be unsuitable by 1784 and a new school was built on the present site in Monkgate. This building was said to contain spinning and sewing rooms on the ground floor with a large lodging chamber above. The school was reorganized between 1786 and 1787 by Mrs. Catharine Cappe and others: wool spinning was introduced; all the girls were to be given a thorough instruction in household duties; the practice of apprenticing the girls was stopped; they were not to be boarded with the matron; and they were to be provided with clothes on going out to service. (fn. 206) In 1819 there were 42 girls in the school and 2 mistresses 'with £40 between them'. There were 43 girls in 1833. The Grey Coat School benefited by Dr. Beckwith's will and the number of girls was increased to 44 in 1850. This number was also in attendance in 1893 but declined to 35 in 1934 and 19 in 1953. From 1929, if not before, the girls attended the Blue Coat School for their education. They were still accommodated in the Monkgate building in 1956, but attended local authority schools.

'Schools and colleges', in A History of the County of York: the City of York, ed. P M Tillott (London, 1961), pp. 440-460.

Grey Coat School, No. 33 Monkgate, now a Schools Clinic. The Grey Coat School was a charity school for girls opened in 1705 at No. 60 Marygate (Monument 252) in conjunction with the Blue Coat School for boys which formerly occupied St. Anthony's Hall, Peaseholme Green. In 1784 the girls' school was moved to new premises in Monkgate part of which survives as the back wing of No. 33, the front part having been rebuilt soon after 1850.

The surviving building is a two-storey brick range with slated roof; the principal elevation to the N.E. is in six bays with tall ground-floor windows set in shallow round-arched recesses. The OS map of 1852 shows that the range was originally of seven bays but the end bay to the S.E. is now enclosed within the later building. The ground floor contained a spinning-room and a sewing-room and above was a large lodging-room reached by a flight of stone steps (Hargrove, ii, 569–70); the existing stone staircase is not the original one

'Miscellaneous Secular Buildings', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse (London, 1975), pp. 44-54. Monument 27

The Grey Coat School opened in October 1705 in a house in Marygate, York. Like the Blue Coat School for boys, the Grey Coat School was funded principally by public subscription and owed its name to the uniforms worn by its female pupils. Girls were provided with food, clothes and lodging and received an education that focused on religion and the acquisition of skills like knitting and sewing to prepare them for domestic service. Until 1900 the pupils also undertook spinning to supplement the school’s income. Entry to the school was by a quarterly ballot when subscribers giving more than one guinea a year held two votes, one for a boy to enter the Blue Coat School and one for a girl to enter the Grey Coat School. In 1764 the Grey Coat School had 30 pupils and this had risen to 42 by 1819. In 1783 the school moved from Marygate to new premises in Monkgate containing spinning and sewing rooms and in 1786 it underwent a significant reformation through the influence of Catherine Cappe, the wife of Newcome Cappe, the local Unitarian minister, and founder of a Spinning School for girls in York. Under her leadership new mistresses and a matron were appointed at the school and a Ladies Committee formed to undertake its administration under the ultimate authority of the Gentlemen’s Committee who continued to manage both the Grey and Blue Coat Schools. Girls were to be taught wool spinning and provided with clothes on going out to service, whilst the practice of apprenticing girls was stopped completely.

By 1900 pupils received instruction in religion, arithmetic, history and geography as well as the more traditional domestic accomplishments, and in 1924 they began sharing lessons with the Blue Coat School in St Anthony’s Hall in Peasholme Green. When the Blue Coat School closed in 1947 it was agreed to run the Grey Coat School as a girls’ hostel, with girls accommodated in the Monkgate building while attending local authority schools. In 1955 the decision was taken to admit boys aged 5-9 to the hostel and in 1961 the Monkgate buildings were sold, replaced by a residential Home for children on Stockton Lane to be run by a House Mother. In 1969 the Grey Coat Home was amalgamated with St Stephen's Home, York. In 1973 the Social Services Department of the County Council took over responsibility for the Home and in 1976 the funds of the Blue and Grey Coat Schools, together with several related charities, were transferred to the newly established York Children’s Trust. The Home on Stockton Lane was closed in 1983 and the premises sold

Informaiton derived from the Borthwick Institute for Archives

NMR Information

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey

BF060287 SCHOOLS CLINIC, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued. Copyright, date, and quantity information for this record may be incomplete or inaccurate.

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

Victoria County History, 1961, A History of the County of York: the City of York (Bibliographic reference). SYO1174.

RCHME, 1975, RCHME Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse (Monograph). SYO2424.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History. 1961. A History of the County of York: the City of York.
  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1975. RCHME Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 10 2020 4:12PM


Your feedback is welcome; if you can provide any new information about this record, please contact the City Archaeologist.