CALLING all readers: your city needs YOU. Or at least, it needs your vote.

York Civic Trust has drawn up a list of five big restoration projects it would like to tackle in the city.

The projects are:

  • restoring the Monk Bar portcullis
  • repairing the war memorial at Acomb Green
  • conserving the ice house near Monk Bar
  • repairing the bell tower at Scarcroft School
  • returning the water fountain in Museum Street to working order

They're all worthwhile projects. But with funds and resources limited, the Trust is asking the people of York to say which of the five they'd most like it to take on.

The work will be done through the Civic Trust's volunteer-led City Enhancement Programme.

Over the last three years or so, this has already tackled dozens of projects in the city centre and beyond, including restoring the Rigg Monument and creating a new 'pocket park' at All Saints Pavement.

All these projects have, in their way, helped make York that bit nicer as a place to live and work and visit.

That's exactly what the City Enhancement Programme is all about, says Nick Beilby, the retired British Rail civil engineer who is one of the Civic Trust's volunteer project managers and who has overseen several City Enhancement Programme projects.

But which project should the Trust tackle next?

We have details of all five projects on these pages. And we want readers to vote for their favourite.

"We just want people to give us a bit of a steer," says Nick.

You can either write to The Press nominating your favourite project; vote on our website; or go to the Civic Trust website to cast your vote there.

Details of all five projects will also be on show at the Civic Day weekend on June 22 and 23, when the Civic Trust will have a marquee in St Sampson's Square. Visitors to the marquee will be able to cast their vote there, as well as find out more about the work the Trust does.

The results of the vote will announced after the Civic Day weekend. Watch this space...


Monk Bar: Reinstatement of portcullis to working order

Monk Bar was built in about 1330 and is the strongest of the medieval gateways to the city. It was built as a self-contained fortress, an important part of which was the portcullis. It is thought that the portcullis was last lowered in the 1950s and the original windlass and ratchet still remain.

York Press:

Nick Beilby with the Monk Bar portcullis

York Civic Trust is working with the University of York to produce a feasibility study for reinstating the portcullis to working order. It is possible that an electric hoist could be used to raise and lower the portcullis, although since Monk Bar is a scheduled historic monument, approval would be required from Historic England.

The cost for design and installation of the equipment along with interpretation boards is likely to be in the region of £40,000.

Monk Bar: Conservation of ice house

The ice house in the ramparts close to Monk Bar is one of York’s hidden gems. It was built in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century and may have belonged to the Bay Horse pub next door, or to the Croft family, who were wine merchants and lived nearby.

York Press:

The ice house near Monk Bar

Originally the ice house was covered by earth but it has been exposed for many years. Exposure has caused the building, and in particular the brickwork, to deteriorate. Over two hundred bricks will need to be replaced along with all the lime mortar joints, which will need to be pointed. The bricks will have to be made specially.

The approval of Historic England will be required before any works take place and the estimated cost of repairs is about £15,000.

Acomb Green: Conservation and repairs to the War Memorial

The memorial, which was unveiled on May 12, 1922, commemorates local men who lost their lives in the First World War. Subsequently, the names of those who died in the Second World War were added on a stone in the shape of an open book.

York Press:

Acomb Green war memorial

The memorial has suffered from the ravages of the environment and damage. The stonework needs restoring, with minor stone repairs and replacement of some of the lead lettering.

The memorial is a listed structure and conservation works are expected to cost about £12,000.

Scarcroft School: Reinstatement of timber finial posts to bell tower

Scarcroft School was built in 1896 to the design of York architect Walter Brierley. A significant feature of the design was a clock tower which has timber finial posts designed to provide structural stability to the tower. The finial posts are in poor condition and some have been removed.

York Press:

Scarcroft School bell tower

York Civic Trust would like to replace the finial posts on what is known as Brierley’s ‘masterpiece’ but this will be a complex undertaking. The structure is Grade II Listed and the works are estimated to cost about £20,000.

The Water Fountain, Museum Street

The water fountain on Museum Street is a Grade II listed structure dating from 1880. Originally sited in Library Square it has been derelict for at least 30 years. The Civic Trust would like to restore it to working order. One of the lion heads also needs replacing. Estimated cost: £6,000.

York Press:

Water fountain, Museum Street


There are several ways you can vote:

- write to Stephen Lewis, Civic Enhancement Project, The Press, 84-86 Walmgate, York YO1 9YN, stating which project you prefer

- vote here

- vote on the York Civic Trust website,

- visit the Civic Trust's Civic Day marquee in St Sampson's Square on June 22/ 23 and cast your vote there.

The deadline for voting is June 23.