Building record MYO953 - Yorkshire Insurance Company, 1 St Helen's Square


Office building, incorporating an entry arch to Breary's Court, built in 1846-7 to designs by G.T. Andrews. The building was later altered and is now in use as a public house. Listed as "Yorkshire Insurance Company and railings attached to front".


Grid reference SE 6014 5194 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (4)

Full Description

Office building, incorporating entry arch to Breary's Court; railings attached to front. 1846-47, with later alteration. By GT Andrews for The Yorkshire Insurance Company. Ashlar sandstone with rusticated quoins; conjoined cornice stacks of ashlar to shallow pitched hipped roof of slate, and 2-light dormers, gabled alternately with segmental and triangular pediments.

STYLE: Italianate.

EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, basement plinth and attic; 5 bay front, with passage arch in additional bay at right end. Moulded plinth band broken by plain raised surrounds to 16-pane basement windows behind iron grilles and partly blocked by paved area. Central porch of squat Doric columns on tall pedestals supporting full entablature, approached by 5 moulded stone steps: round-arched double doors are panelled in quoined architrave with console keyblock. Windows on first and second floors are unequal 15-pane sashes, those on ground floor in eared architraves with cornice hoods and moulded sills on consoles tied by plain sill band; on second floor in architraves with moulded sill band and alternately segmental and triangular pediments on consoles: beneath centre window is shallow balustrade. Moulded first floor band.

Broad frieze beneath prominent dentil and modillion cornice. Frieze inscribed: "YORKSHIRE INSURANCE COMPANY ESTABLISHED MDCCXXIIII". Right end bay has round arch on ground floor with rusticated soffit and moulded imposts, and one 15-pane sash on first floor. Lendal front: 3 storeys and basement; 5 bays. Basement treatment as for main front, with blocked windows. 4-panel door and margin-glazed overlight in tall architrave to left of 5 unequal 15-pane sashes; windows on first floor are 12-pane sashes, on second floor unequal 9-pane sashes. Ground and first floor windows have moulded sill band, on second floor a plain sill band. Moulded eaves cornice on modillions, returned at rear. Front railings and standards are turned with spear tips and furled bud finials.

INTERIOR: original interior survives intact. Main staircase has cast-iron vine scroll balustrade. Main ground floor office has round and square Doric columns, plaster panelled walls and moulded cornice, plus original mahogany counters, panelling and doors. On first floor, former Board Room has panelled walls and plaster ceiling cornice and rose, with a fine C18 style marble fireplace with Ionic columns. Another room has door and window architraves enriched with pellet mouldings and lion mask paterae.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: cast-iron railings.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 203).
Listing NGR: SE6014351955

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

No. 1, stone-faced, of three storeys and basement, was built as the head office of the Yorkshire Insurance Company in 1846–7 to the design of G. T. Andrews (YG, 25 April 1846). The elevation to St. Helen's Square is in an Italianate style based on Sangallo's Palazzo Farnese in Rome, with rusticated quoins and modillioned and dentilled cornice to the main five bays, and a plain S.E. end bay with carriageway; the frieze is inscribed YORKSHIRE INSURANCE COMPANY ESTABLISHED MDCCCXXIIII. Later dormer windows light the top floor. The side elevation to Lendal is plain, with continuous sills, a first-floor band and a modillioned cornice.

The interior retains its moulded and enriched cornices, and of note are the central ground-floor room with walls divided into bays by moulded plasterwork, the first-floor former Board Room with wall panels and ceiling rose, and a room with door and window architraves enriched with pellets and corner lion-masks. The main staircase has a cast-iron vine scroll balustrade.

Monument 391; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 203

NMR Information

List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of York, 14-MAR-1997

BF061077 1 ST HELEN'S SQUARE, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

RCHME, 1981, City of York Volume V: The Central Area (Monograph). SYO65.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jun 19 2020 8:28PM


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