University of York research students, Joseph Keeley, Etta Kirkpatrick-Tice and Tom Hart, outside Tower House.

York Civic Trust has been working with four University of York students to better understand the history of Tower House on Fishergate, where Northern Command was based for many years, and also the role the Command held in York.

The project complements the return of 43 portraits of all of York’s Northern Commanders to Tower House, now a business centre, in a special event to be held on Thursday (24th June) and attended by the Lord Mayor and Garrison Commander of Imphal Barracks.

Tower house, Fishergate, c.1900. IMAGE: From the collection of YCT member Prof. Gavin H. Thomas

The four University of York students: Joseph Keeley, a BA in History undergraduate, and three MA Building Conservation postgraduates in the Department of Archaeology: Emily Ditsch, Tom Hart and Etta Kirkpatrick-Tice, have used their research to design a series of information panels to explain what Northern Command was, the history of Tower House, and a focus on some of the key and characterful Northern Commanders over time. The information panels are on display in Tower House, but can readily be viewed here as a pdf.

A plywood ‘York Minster’, City Walls and a Bar on the Knavesmire, before a marching military band – all part of 1932 Northern Command Tattoo in the city. IMAGE: The Illustrated London News, 16 July 1932.

The project has unearthed a suspected mystery tunnel under Fishergate, a showcase of fantastic public events put on by Northern Command in the city over the years, forgotten features in the Tower House building, and biographical details of a diverse range of the Northern Commanders based in York.

More details of the research project’s finds can be found here.