The Architecture of Yorkshire

Yorkshire is home to 2,300 ancient monuments and around 32,000 listed buildings. The architecture of the region has been shaped by various building periods that has reflected the styles of each particular period. Landscapes and skylines have been adjusted and altered over time. This has been as a result of new buildings being created and also of old ones being destroyed by either war or fire. There has also been occasions that man has chosen to alter the landscapes himself by demolishing certain buildings.

Rievaulx Abbey

This has left Yorkshire with a rich supply of buildings from various periods in time. With so many of these buildings now being protected it should ensure that they will remain in place for future generations. Some of the most impressive buildings were the early Abbeys. Rievaulx Abbey in the North Yorkshire Moors were built for the monks in 1132 and at its peak housed 140 monks and 500 lay brothers. In 1538 it was dissolved by Henry VIII and all of its assets were stripped.

However, it had created a style of pointed arches that was copied by many buildings throughout Britain and its remains are now protected today. There are many other abbeys that remain in the county. Fountains Abbey near Ripon is regarded as being the best example of surviving Cistercian architecture in England. It was built in 1132 and operated until its dissolution in 1539 and as well as being a grade 1 listed building it is also a World Heritage site.

The city of York is famed for its architecture. The York Minster attracts 1.6 million visitors per year and also within the city is York Castle which was originally sited in 1068 following the Norman conquest of the city. York is also renowned for its Georgian buildings and most of its public buildings originate from that era. The Red House, The Assembly Rooms, The Treasurers House and The Standhouse still remain today and are have protected status.

The Park Hill Estate, Sheffield

Another town with a great array of Georgian buildings is the resort town of Scarborough. The area around the crescent has many Georgian properties, and so does the old town sitting between South Bay and North Bay. Scarborough also has many Victorian properties but so does many of the larger industrial cities in the county. One of the most unusual areas is the Victorian model village of Saltaire in Bradford. It was built by Sir Titus Salt in 1851 to house many of the workers employed in his woollen mill. These were neat stone houses and they still remain today, and are protected as a World Heritage Site.

Regeneration of the city centres has resulted in the disappearance of many Georgian and Victorian buildings. With many listed buildings it is now getting more difficult to knock down older areas. Even some of the more recent buildings are protected and a good example of this is the Park Hill estate in Sheffield. It was designed in the late 1950s and by the early 1980s did not have a good reputation was a good place to live and was seen by many as a no go area. In 1998 it was given grade II listed building status and recently 100 million pounds has been invested in regenerating the flats and is now attracting new buyers.

The regeneration in Leeds has caused a stir as the city council has demolished buildings that were constructed in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Although they were never the most attractive of features, buildings like the Yorkshire Post Building do hold sentimental value and there has been unrest as much of Leeds has been regenerated in this way.

Due to the history of the county Yorkshire possesses a magnificent array of architecture from different periods of time. It is reassuring that much of this will be protected as a result of Government intervention.