York Civic Trust runs a varied programme of events for our members throughout the year. The Spring/Summer programme normally runs March-July, and the Autumn/Winter programme normally runs September-November.
Booking for the 2024 programme is available online and in-person at Fairfax House. We cannot take bookings over the phone.
Online booking will go live at 6pm on Thursday 22nd February.
In-person booking at Fairfax House will go live during opening hours (10am-3:30pm) on Thursday 22nd February to give you a chance to purchase tickets before they go on sale online.
Please note that Fairfax House will be open for visitors on this day so reception may be busy at times. After Thursday 22nd February, you can purchase tickets every day that Fairfax House is open – please check the website for exact opening times before you visit.
Some events will have waitlist options if they sell out. For these events, we may be able to increase capacity if there is the demand.
Non-Members are welcome to try our events. Booking for Non-Members goes live two weeks before each event.
It is only with the support of our members that York Civic Trust is able to promote heritage to shape tomorrow. If you would like to play a vital role in helping us to secure a successful role for York’s heritage then please click here to find out more information about joining.
Most events run by York Civic Trust cost £10, inclusive of any booking fees. The booking page for each event will have the price for that event.
Wednesday 13th March, 2pm.
Barley Studio has an international reputation for excellence in stained glass creation, restoration and conservation for cathedrals, stately homes, parish churches and prestigious secular buildings across the UK and beyond. Many of you will have heard of its work for Westminster Abbey, or locally for All Saints Church (both North Street and Pavement), York, and many others. In 2024, Barley Studio is celebrating 50 years. The studio is rarely open to the public but has invited the Civic Trust to visit as part of its anniversary celebrations. Its home is a purpose-built, stained glass studio in Dunnington, where new stained glass is created and old windows are conserved and restored. You will be able to meet the talented team of artists, conservators and craftspeople, and see work in progress, including Helen Whittaker’s new stained glass window for Selby Abbey, and the ongoing conservation work for Salford Cathedral.
Friday 22nd March, 2:30pm.
Have you ever wondered why we have all those silvery blue tiles in our back alleyways and gutters in South Bank, Clementhorpe and other areas of York? Susan Major will give a talk about the double hexagon scoria bricks used in many of the back lanes of York, based on her research into their intriguing origins and use, together with details she has discovered about their inventor, Joseph Woodward from Darlington.
Thursday 4th April, 2pm.
We will be hosted by Paula Mountain-Agar, College Administrator of David Kato College (the University’s newest) having previously been administrator of Anne Lister College (opened 2021, the first University college to be named after a woman). She will introduce us to the tradition of colleges in York, first on the original campus and now on Heslington East, the support and facilities available to the students, and explain these college dedications. You will be able to visit the very modern accommodation which the students rent for 44 weeks – flats, ‘townhouses’, bedrooms, kitchens – and see the shared spaces there and in the College buildings. The two Colleges are neighbours, with Kato designed to optimise views of the local landscape and the surrounding lake, and Lister having landscaped gardens and a large green space for University and College events. For upstairs visits, a lift can be available. We will be offered tea/coffee by the College.
Tuesday 9th April, 10:30am.
This is an opportunity to hear Graham Wilford, a civil engineer and Trustee of the former York Millennium Bridge Trust, tell the story of the Bridge’s construction and point out some of the interesting features of its design and materials. The Bridge cost £4.2m, part funded by the Millennium Commission, on the basis that the structure met its criteria of being ‘Inspirational in design and leading edge in engineering or architecture.’ Not only does the Bridge link across the Ouse between Fulford and York’s South Bank, it is an invaluable link in the network of cycle routes over a wider area. We will begin on the large grassed area on the Fulford side of the Bridge – the best viewing point – and be introduced to the design and engineering involved. After looking up and under the Bridge, we will walk over to the west side and learn about the features there. We will include the landscape aspects of the project, and see more by walking along the west back to finish at Rowntree Park car park.
Thursday 11th April, 6:30pm.
James Walvin, Professor Emeritus of history at the University of York is the author of over forty books, mostly on the subject of slavery. He will be drawing on his extensive studies into slavery to demonstrate how everyday objects, such as the ordinary sugar bowl, reveal how the fruits of slavery permeated lives in Britain and continue to do so. Tableware in Fairfax House may never quite seem the same again.
Wednesday 17th April, 4pm.
York Crown Court was designed by John Carr and built in 1777. It is a Grade 1 listed building and is the original assize courts in York. York Crown Court is two court centre and is the only Crown Court in North Yorkshire, and therefore deals with matters from around the County as well as assisting other Crown Courts within Yorkshire and the North East region.
Thursday 25th April, 2pm.
2024 sees York Archaeology celebrating the 40th anniversary since Jorvik opened its doors – in the same neighbourhood and in the same year that Fairfax House celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its reconversion to a Georgian townhouse. Dr Peter Addyman, a past president of York Civic Trust, and whose leadership brought Jorvik to life, will take YCT members on a walk around the city’s Viking areas, alluding to and surmising on Viking streets and public life in that era.
The Sheldon Memorial Lecture: ‘Known almost the world over’ as ‘Backhouse’s’: the Backhouse Nursery of York in the 19th and early 20th Centuries by Professor Emerita Gillian Parker
Wednesday 1st May, 7pm.
In 1889, the report of a trip made by Manchester horticulturalists to the Backhouse Nursery in York implied that it was hardly less celebrated than Bolton Abbey and that its international reputation was assured. This lecture will outline the history of the nursery from 1815 to the 1920s and explore what led to its being ‘known almost the world over’, while it is now hardly known at all outside York. The Backhouses were an important Quaker family, various members of which were associated with the nursery. Discovering its history will help to relate the contributions of these men and women to horticulture, and to the wider economic and social life of York and beyond.
Please note that this event is not organised by York Civic Trust.
Thursday 9th May, 6:30pm.
This event will be mainly focussed on exploring the Medical Society Rooms at 23, Stonegate. The address is a series of buildings, mostly dating from the medieval and Elizabethan periods. We will hear about a famous resident of the house, Tempest Anderson. There will be a chance to look at some of the medical instruments on display. In order to fully understand the history of the property and its setting, there will be a guided tour of the rest of Stonegate.
Thursday 23rd May, 5pm.
Dr Peter Hogarth will surprise us with his unique research into a man who lived and worked in York in the early part of the nineteenth century. Philip Francis Sidney was the editor of a rather obscure newspaper, the Yorkshire Observer. But he didn’t seem to exist outside his two to three years in York: not even a record of having been born or died. Nothing! Deeper research discovers an intriguing story of an Irish adventurer which must be told… and will do so at Peter’s lecture.
Wednesday 29th May, 2:30pm.
Starting with a focus on Castlegate, Dr Matt Jenkins will explore the development of the streets, social life and buildings of York’s city centre in the 18th century. Dr Jenkins was a journalist on The Independent before coming to York to study archaeology and complete his PhD on urban landscapes in York during the eighteenth century.
Wednesday 5th June, 5:30pm.
A joint social at Fairfax House with the Friends of Fairfax House. We will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the restoration of the House and the formation of the Friends, and wine will be included! Please note that this event is for Members and Friends only.
Monday 10th June, 2:30pm.
Please note: the date on the Events Leaflet that was mailed to members was incorrect. The correct date is Monday 10th June.
Come and have an exclusive look at some of the artwork and archival documents from the University of York art collection! With over 900 artworks all over campus, the university overflows with art and there are many new displays and exhibitions popping up across various departments. In this session, university art curator Helena Cox will talk about a selection of paintings, etchings and ceramics from the collection as well as the rich history and hopeful future of art on campus. The session will conclude with a close viewing of Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Antiphon, one of the star items of the collection. This will be a rare opportunity to have a closer look at artworks which are normally not on display and to see some fascinating documents relating to the art collection.
Thursday 13th June, 6:30pm.
John Oxley looked after the City Walls in York for some 30 years in his role as Archaeologist for the City Council. John will lead a walk along the stretch of wall between Baille Hill and Barker Tower (the section on the Micklegate side of the river) and shares his knowledge and enthusiasm for the unique walls that York possesses.
Monday 17th June, 6:30pm.
Roger Wools has lived on Bootham for nearly half a century, and his is an expert on the history of this ancient northerly approach to the City. Roger will guide us from its start at Bootham Bar until it blends into Clifton. We will hear stories of the people who have lived there and how they have shaped the uses of the buildings over the centuries.
Primary School Public Speaking Competition
Wednesday 26th June, 6:30pm.
Teams from primary schools from across York will compete to win this much sought after annual competition. Debating topical questions the evening is a great occasion to hear the views of young people delivered with humour, wisdom and often straight forward thinking. It is one not to be missed.
Booking details to be announced.
The John Shannon Memorial Lecture
Tuesday 2nd July, 6pm.
In collaboration with the York Consortium for Conservation and Craftsmanship, the 2024 John Shannon Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust. The lecture will follow the YCCC’s Annual General Meeting on July 2nd 2024. The AGM will start at 18:00 and the lecture at 19:30. Venue to be arranged.
Please note that this event is not organised by York Civic Trust.
Booking details to be announced.
A Visit to Peasholme House
W/C 7th July – date TBC.
Peasholme House is a Grade 1 18th century townhouse that was restored by YCT in the 1970s. This is an amazing opportunity to see this house that is rarely open to the public.
Booking details to be announced.
Thursday 18th July, 2:30pm.
The Civic Trust are working with York Bid and the University of York to research, enhance and interpret the snickelways of the city centre. Find out more about the discoveries and experience the rejuvenated snickelways with Andrew Morrison. Meet at Fairfax House – the tour will include Peter Lane, Kirk Lane, Pope’s Head Lane, Three Cranes Lane, Finkle Street, Lund’s Court and Nether Hornpot Lane.
Wednesday 24th July, 11am.
A guided walking tour of Homestead Park with Tom Hepburn, Parks and Landscapes Manager for the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust. Homestead Park is a beautiful 14-acre garden in Clifton, York. It is owned, managed and maintained by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for visitors to enjoy.
Thursday 25th July, 2:30pm.
We are lucky to be given a tour of this remarkable church that has been severely altered in its nearly 900 years of history. Reduced in size because of the workings of the city outside, and housing a remarkable collection a very early stained glass windows, discover the rich heritage and architectural wonders of this magnificent place of worship.
Have a look at some of the events we have done in the past to get a taste for what our members get up to.
Visit to the Community Stadium
Wednesday 1st Feb 2023
York Civic Trust’s 2023 event season kicked off at York City Football Club’s new home. The Club’s Historian Paul Bowser told us all about the Club’s highs and lows, both on and off the pitch … when York beat Manchester United, why the fans bought the club and the story of the trophies in the Board Room. We finished up with a cup of tea in the Media (Community) Room!
On Location: Gentleman Jack at Fairfax House
Thursday 16th March 2023
Fairfax House, our very own Georgian townhouse, has been used as a filming location for two seasons of the major BBC and HBO drama, Fairfax House.
Rachel Wallis, Collections Manager and Assistant Curator at Fairfax House, gave an exciting evening talk in the Saloon, allowing our members to go behind the scenes of what filming a major period drama in a historic house is like.
We had a drinks reception, including an 18th century punch!