Appeal to Save York’s Heritage After Recent Building Collapse

York Civic Trust is calling on all York residents to think about local heritage at risk from neglect, vandalism, or destruction in their local communities.  

The call is prompted by the collapse of an important piece of local heritage in Holgate on Tuesday 4th April, when the roof of the Canteen Building of the former Carriage Works gave way and crashed through its end gable. 

The Canteen Building was built in 1888 and had interesting architectural detailing, including oriel windows at either end. Bulldozers moved in on Thursday 20th April to remove the remains of the building.  

CEO of York Civic Trust, Andrew Morrison, said, “In old photos of the railway workers entering or leaving the site, the Canteen Building was always present. It was the last remaining social building of the Carriage Works complex. There will be lots of people in York who remember using it, but after nearly 150 years this piece of the city’s railway engineering heritage is lost.”  

Now York Civic Trust is putting out a call for members of the public to suggest what other York heritage is at risk. It is aimed to help prevent a similar fate as the Canteen Building, as well as raise the profile of some of the city’s forgotten buildings and other structures.  

The Trust’s Civic Society Manager, Duncan Marks said, “The Canteen Building wasn’t Listed, but it was on York’s Local Heritage List. In almost twenty years, the city has lost nearly one in twelve of the structures on its Local Heritage List. We know York has world-class heritage such as The Minster and the City Walls – as recognised in York recently being added to the UK’s shortlist for UNESCO World Heritage Status – but we should also fight to keep our local heritage. It helps to tell a diverse, fascinating but often less-well-known story of our city.” 

The recently collapsed canteen, taken shortly before it was demolished

Duncan Marks added: “We’re asking people to think of heritage in a broad way. It can include anything, such as buildings, bridges and street furniture. It might be a Listed building standing empty, for example, Bootham Park Hospital, or local heritage, perhaps like the Foss Islands Road cable bridge. And it can be from any period, including the twentieth century. Basically, if it looks old, in a bad way, or has stood empty for years, has signs of roof tiles missing and water getting in, or has been vandalised – then we want to hear about it.” 

The heritage at risk identified by the public will assist York Civic Trust in compiling an ‘At Risk’ register for York, and, where appropriate, inform national heritage bodies with the potential for funding to save York’s vital local heritage. 

Being entirely community-led and coordinated by a local society, York Civic Trust’s appeal to help make a heritage at-risk list for the city is thought to be a first in England.  

To suggest heritage at risk in the city, contact York Civic Trust by email at or on social media. More information about the appeal is available on the York Civic Trust website:

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