A KEEN historian who founded a successful York city centre family hotel and started St Nicholas’ Fayre has died aged 80.

Andrew Clark started Middleton Hotel more than 40 years ago with his wife Kathe in a nearly derelict building and developed it until, now under the management of his daughter Henny, it is a 56-bed establishment with restaurant in six listed buildings on Skeldergate. Initially called Lady Anne MiddletonHotel it recently changed its name.

As The Press reported earlier this year, a hub for creative industry is being created as part of a £500,000 refurbishment project at the hotel which has been rebranded to become Middleton’s Hotel.

The investment has seen work completed on a number of areas at the hotel, including bedroom refurbishment, new outdoor space, and a new kitchen and dining area.

Mr Clark was a constant presence in the family hotel until he became too ill and was well-known to the staff, many of whom have worked there for more than 15 years.

The couple were married for nearly 54 years and Kathe Clark’s German roots were the reason he started St Nicholas’ Fayre in 1996. They saw how successful German markets were in her native country and decided to start one in York. The annual fayre at the end of November is now one of the most popular in the UK and this year has been expanded from four days to four weeks, starting on November 27.

Their daughters Henny and Susi are both directors of the hotel and they have two grandchildren, including Jolanda Hind, who also works at the hotel.

As a child, Mr Clark attended Drax School. He had a keen interest in history, particularly the history of Bishophill and Skeldergate and was a member of both York Conservation Trust and York Archaeological Trust.

Louise Robinson, sales and marketing manager for the hotel, said: “He will mostly be missed for his care of other people who weren’t as fortunate or who had messed up and for giving people chances to make their lives better. “ Mr Clark died at home in Fulford on July 28. His funeral service will take place at St Oswald's Church, Fulford, tomorrow at 11am, followed by a private burial.