ANYONE who has been to the Gallery or Kuda for a bop, or visited York Dungeon to be scared witless will have visited one of York's most extraordinary buildings.

Both are housed in what was once the York Institute of Art, Science and Literature in Clifford Street.

The original York Institute was founded in 1827 in Bedern, then moved to St Saviourgate, where it was known as the York Mechanics' Institute, later becoming the York Institute of Popular Science and Literature.

This was the forerunner of the elegant building we have today in York which had its foundation stone laid by the then Prince of Wales in July 1883 and first opened in 1885.

York Press: Inside the York Institute - now Kuda nightclub and York DungeonInside the York Institute - now Kuda nightclub and York Dungeon

It's main front is on Clifford Street, but it extends to Cumberland Street too, where today we find the entrance to York Dungeon.

The basement contained a gymnasium and two small class rooms. The main floor had a hall with a capacity of 500 people, and a lecture theatre, classroom, two reading rooms, a council room and offices. The first floor contained three more classrooms.

Later in life the building was used as a library and also as York Technical College.

It became a public library in 1892 when it was bought for £4,100. The library first opened on August 1 that year. It began with a stock of 10,417 volumes, and a year later boasted 5,983 borrowers.

The library was opened by the Duke and Duchess of York, who were in the city to receive wedding presents from the citizens of York and Sheffield.

The Duke also received the Freedom of the City in the morning. After lunch at the Guildhall there was a procession from the Mansion House which included Mr Furnish, the first librarian employed by the public library.

York Press: Meet the old library staffMeet the old library staff

Our black and white images today come from the City of York Council's own archive.

They show the exterior of the building, alongside its interior and some of the staff members of the library, including Mr Furnish.

One of the captions from the photos tells us that Arthur H. Furnish was the first city librarian and his salary was £170 per annum. His assistant was Mr F Bewlay who was paid £70.

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