FAIRFAX House is one of the jewels in York's crown - but the 18th-century town house has not always had such a glittering existence.

As reported recently in The Press, the majestic building - one of the finest Georgian houses in the land - had fallen on hard times by the start of the 20th century.

Originally designed in the mid 1700s for Viscount Fairfax by York architect John Carr, in later years it was acquired by a number of owners and by 1921 was bought by St George's Hall Entertainments for conversion into a cinema.

READ MORE: When Fairfax House was a cinema

The cinema closed in 1965 and the building was bought by the city council, and was used by a dancing school for many years.

It was only in the 1980s that the civic leaders of York worked together to restore Fairfax House to its original Georgian glory.

Our photos today tell some of that story.

York Press: Fairfax House in 1984Fairfax House in 1984

In the 1980s, York Civic Trust, bought the house from City of York Council for £40,000 - and spent some £500,000 bringing it back to life.

With the help of several grants, and with the addition of Noel Terry's collection of elegant Georgian furniture, it was transformed into the Georgian museum that it is today.

The opening of Fairfax House, originally planned for the 1984 York Festival, was set back because of foundations problems.

An extra £20,000 was needed to strengthen the foundations - and £45,000 was spent on cleaning and restoring the plaster work.

The scale of the restoration work was enormous; a concrete raft was built under the whole building and it took 20,000 man hours alone to clean the fine detail of the stucco-work.

The house was completed with items worth £1 million from the late Noel Terry's furniture collection.

The restoration project cost £750,000 in total and the house was opened to the public by the Duchess of Kent on October 31, 1984.

In order to guarantee Fairfax House's future, in October 2008 York Conservation Trust bought the house from York Civic Trust – leasing it back to them at a nominal rent so that the Civic Trust could continue to run the museum without the burden of the upkeep of a Grade-I listed building.

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