Building record MYO956 - 5 St Helen's Square, York City Savings Bank


A bank building, constructed 1829-1830 and altered in 1924 and 1991. The building was designed by Messrs. Watson, Pritchett and Watson. Formerly Lloyds-TSB, converted to a shop 2016.


Grid reference Centred SE 6015 5197 (28m by 26m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Bank. 1829-30; extended 1924; ground floor altered 1991. By Messrs. Watson, Pritchett and Watson for the York County Savings Bank. Brick faced with sandstone ashlar, ground floor rusticated on horizontally ribbed basement; shallow pitched slate roof with stacks of brick faced with ashlar.

EXTERIOR: 2 storey front, 1 and half bays to St Helen's Square, 3 and half bays to Blake Street on either side of curved corner bay; half bays flank corner bay. Extension of 3 low storeys and 3 bays at right end of Blake Street front. Corner bay entrance has double doors of shaped panels, with Doric column jambs and shaped overlight above, in tall architrave beneath segmental hoodmould on moulded brackets: doors are recessed behind folding ironwork gates, and overlight has scrolled grille. Overlight transom inscribed 'SAVINGS BANK'. First floor is articulated by fluted Composite columns and plain pilasters supporting entablature with plain frieze and moulded cornice. Windows on both floors are 1-pane sashes, those on first floor with semicircular fanlights inset in round-headed openings, and with architraves and transoms enriched with incised Greek key ornament. Corner bay crowned with shaped pediment of volutes framing a panel with words 'SAVINGS BANK' carved in low relief.

Blake Street extension has subsidiary door of fielded panels in pedimented doorcase at right end. Ground floor windows are margin glazed: first and second floor windows treated as single element, to match those of original building, but with wider transom. At right end of cornice is rectangular rainwater head dated 1924.

INTERIOR: former boardroom on first floor, now subdivided: 3 bays articulated by Corinthian pilasters, with blind arcade of round arches opposite windows in round-arched architraves. Panelled double doors. Ceiling coffered by beams enriched with oak-leaf and acorn decoration. Room in extension has reset fireplace with composition ornament of urns, garlands, rinceaux and drops.

(Murray H, Riddick S & Green R: York through the Eyes of the Artist: York City Art Gallery: 1990-: 86; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 203).
Listing NGR: SE6015351979

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

York County Savings Bank, No. 5, stands at the corner of Blake Street. The bank was established in 1816 and acquired this site in 1829 from R. Cattle (W. Camidge, York Savings Bank – Its History, Formation and Growth, 1886). Previously there had been a large timber-framed house at the corner, which was included in a sketch by J. C. Buckler in 1814 (BM, MS. 36396, f. 114). In August 1829 tenders were invited for a new building designed by the York architects Watson, Pritchett and Watson. Work commenced the same month and was completed in March 1830 at a total cost of £4,691 for the site and the building. The original appearance of the bank is shown in a small engraving in the New Guide (p. 70), but the positions of the doors were moved and the interior of the ground floor altered in the early 20th century. There was a proposal to refront the adjoining house in St. Helen's Square, owned by Mr. Munby, in a uniform style with the bank (YG, 1 Aug. 1829) but this was apparently not carried out as intended. In 1924 an extension on the N.W. side, fronting Blake Street, was built where there had previously been a two-storey house; it is possible that some of the older structure remains behind the modern facade.

The bank is built of brick but is faced with a fine-grained sandstone from Huddersfield, and has a slate-covered roof. A rounded corner enables the two elevations, to the Square and Blake Street, to form a single composition. The ground-floor wall is faced with smooth rustication, except that below the windows it has a horizontally-furrowed finish. The original doors have been skilfully converted to windows, and the existing later doorway, with segmental arch, occupies an original window position. The first floor is articulated by engaged monolithic fluted columns and plain pilasters of the Corinthian order. Between the columns are tall round-arched windows, now with plate-glazing. The 1924 extension continues the same elevational scheme but is three-storeyed. Nothing original remains internally on the ground floor. The former board room, on the first floor, has Corinthian pilasters on the walls, and a coffered ceiling with transverse beams decorated on the soffits with oak leaves and acorns in relief. In the 1924 addition is a reset early 19th-century chimney-piece.

Monumnet 392; 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

BF061078 York County Savings Bank, 5 St Helen's Square, York The file contains the following photographic prints: BB66/00597, YC295, YC3196 - YC3200.

People and Organisations

Architect Watson Pritchett and Watson 1829-1830

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 (1)

Record last edited

Jun 19 2020 10:15AM


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