MAXINE GORDON visits a York hotel as it marks its 30th anniversary

WHEN Irene and Andrew Cossins opened the Pavilion Hotel in York 30 years ago they were entering a new chapter in the history of this site on Fulford Road that dates back to 1785.

What was once a farmhouse and farm later became the childhood home of one of York's most famous sons – the Oscar-winning composer John Barry.

Barry won five Oscars for his film scores but is most famous for writing the James Bond theme tune. In fact, he composed the soundtracks to 11 Bond movies, including classics such as Moonraker, The Living Daylights and A View To A Kill.

A blue plaque is now in place at the hotel which reads: John Barry (Prendergast) born York 1933 died New York 2011. Lived here as a boy. Composer and Musician. Academy Award Winner for his film music.

Barry's father was well-known in his own right. John Xavier "Jack" Prendergast had been a projectionist during the silent film era and owned a chain of cinemas across northern England, including the Rialto in York.

When Andrew and Irene Cossins bought the Pavilion 30 years ago from John Barry’s sister, the artist June Lloyd Jones, there was plenty of evidence of the creative family’s past.

“It was very much a family home,” begins Andrew. “They all lived in different parts of the house and they were all very artistic people.

“There was a pottery. June married the potter David Lloyd Jones, we have quite a bit of his work.”

The Cossins have spent the past three decades turning the former Barry family home into a hotel, expanding from 11 bedrooms to 57 – but retaining the historic character of the building and preserving its quintessentially English "country house" style.

The expansion came in three waves. During the renovation of a former barn, the couple made an interesting discovery. “It was sprayed silver inside. We discovered that John' Barry's father had another business manufacturing cinema screens and the silver on the walls was from the over-spray!”

The site dates back to 1785 when a farmhouse existed on the land. It was called Fulford House when John Barry's family lived there. Today, the hotel sprawls beyond its imposing frontage on Fulford Main Street. There is a northern wing with bedrooms and function suites as well as a courtyard lined with more rooms all opening on to an intimate garden space.

Today, the Pavilion Hotel is popular for weddings, conferences, and afternoon tea.