Deep clean uncovers Penn House’s original glory

York Press: Black and Gold: Thomas McGill from Stoneclean. Picture David Harrison. Black and Gold: Thomas McGill from Stoneclean. Picture David Harrison.

DECADES of dirt and grime are being meticulously cleared from one of the grandest and most historic buildings in York.

Penn House, on the corner of Bootham and St Mary's, was built in 1852 by Joseph Rowntree and was sold by Bootham School for what was understood to be more than £1.25 million in 2011 as a family home.

The current owner David Coidan applied for permission to clean the external brick work. The application was originally refused by City of York Council as planners thought cleaning would "radically alter the external appearance of the building in relation to adjacent buildings" and "would fundamentally harm its character and contribution to the wider area".

The decision was overturned on appeal by planning inspector, Keith Turner, who said: "The building might become more visually prominent in relation to its surroundings if cleaned, but that would not be out of character with the original design intention.

"Furthermore, some buildings in the vicinity have already been cleaned and they do not stand out in stark contrast because, whilst the near surroundings have a degree of unity in building style, the street scene is by no means uniform in character.

"The buildings are individual in detail and character. Consequently, I do not consider that cleaning of the appeal premises would be harmful to the character or appearance of the surroundings or the setting of nearby listed buildings."

Bernard Coleman, director of Stoneclean, the Leeds-based company responsible for doing the work, said the degree of contamination of the bricks meant it was a big job.

He said cleaning had revealed a host of original features and returned the building's black soot-covered handmade bricks back to their original golden colour. Mr Coleman said they used diluted acid and super heated steam to clean the bricks.

Comments (5)

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11:25am Mon 5 May 14

MrsHudson says...

Penn House was not built by Joseph Rowntree. His father moved the family there and Joseph and his wife lived in one part and his then widowed mother lived in another.
Penn House was not built by Joseph Rowntree. His father moved the family there and Joseph and his wife lived in one part and his then widowed mother lived in another. MrsHudson
  • Score: 10

11:25am Mon 5 May 14

MrsHudson says...

Incidentally Joseph Rowntree the younger was 16 in 1852..........
Incidentally Joseph Rowntree the younger was 16 in 1852.......... MrsHudson
  • Score: 6

4:41pm Mon 5 May 14

smudge2 says...

Typical building contractor.....leani
ng on the scaffolding staring into space at the customers expense ... ( I suppose it beats being on a mobile phone whilst not working)
Typical building contractor.....leani ng on the scaffolding staring into space at the customers expense ... ( I suppose it beats being on a mobile phone whilst not working) smudge2
  • Score: -18

3:02am Tue 6 May 14

Magicman! says...

Hahahahaaa... only York council could REFUSE permission for something to be CLEANED!!
Hahahahaaa... only York council could REFUSE permission for something to be CLEANED!! Magicman!
  • Score: 10

1:02pm Wed 7 May 14

meme says...

So council refused to let it be returned to its original state.......Conserva
tion officers no doubt...typical of York...who would believe it had to go to an inspector to clean a building?......Perha
ps the council now realise how pedantic and problematic they are to deal with even when a building is being returned to its original state...sort of helps to explain why homes are so expensive in York....Not just the fault of developers etc
So council refused to let it be returned to its original state.......Conserva tion officers no doubt...typical of York...who would believe it had to go to an inspector to clean a building?......Perha ps the council now realise how pedantic and problematic they are to deal with even when a building is being returned to its original state...sort of helps to explain why homes are so expensive in York....Not just the fault of developers etc meme
  • Score: 0

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