One of Yorkshire’s most famous landmarks will reopen to the public next month after a £5million makeover.
York’s Clifford Tower reopened on April 2 following an extensive renovation, opening two lost rooms for the first time in centuries.The 800-year-old tower was destroyed by a fire in 1684 and has remained an empty shell ever since.
But in November 2020, the fort built for Henry III (1216-1272) on the site of an earlier Norman Mott castle was closed for the largest renovation project ever undertaken.English Heritage hired specialist Hugh Broughton Architects to restore the stonework and Martin Ashley Architects to create viewing platforms and suspended walkways.
Their work means Clifford’s Tower is in its best shape in centuries and can be viewed from a new angle.The roof has a wide wooden platform with panoramic views of York and shelters the interior of the tower.
The fort’s two original spiral staircases – inaccessible for centuries – were re-used again, while the tower’s partially restored chapel is available for the first time since a fire in 1684.
King Henry III’s own personal wardrobe was also the first in 338 years.The king’s toilets could be flushed – almost unheard of in the 13th century – and there was a wall cabinet for Henry’s toiletries.
At the base of the famous 55 steps leading to the fort is a new monument to the Jews of York who were massacred by a mob in 1190.Every 20 steps next to the steps is a resting place for those who can’t climb Breath 55.There is also a modern toilet and a kitchenette on the ground floor.
While Clifford’s Tower, which was the center of northern government until the 17th century, is a popular tourist attraction, visitors find themselves overwhelmed by the tower’s decayed state and lack of features to explore.
Jeremy Ashbee, chief property curator at English Heritage, said: “Clifford Tower is one of those places we can say is extraordinary…
“It [has] a story with a lot of content. It’s a story that needs to be told, and it needs to be told appropriately.”
Mr Ashbee added: “Not only did we want to preserve this incredible building, but we also wanted to do justice to its fascinating and multifaceted history.”
Throne Room: The private toilet of King Henry III.The sloping channel to the left of the “active area” is where the flow of water washes waste away.
Emilia Roberton, 11, voices historic figure Eleanor in Clifford Tower’s new audio guide
Post time: Apr-25-2022