A York museum boss has asked for more government help after unsafe concrete was found in the building's roof.

Last year, RAAC – reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete – was found in part of the roof at York Castle Museum.

The section of roof was installed in the late 1980s on the female prison and, after the discovery, was closed to the public from September 2023 to December 2023.

RAAC is weaker than traditional concrete and causes problems with the structural integrity of buildings built with it.

Kathryn Blacker, CEO of York Museums Trust, wrote a report to the City of York Council’s culture committee showing that the cost of the closure was £400,000 and remedial works cost £80,000 from its reserves.

At a meeting of the culture committee on April 9, Ms Blacker said: “We wrote to both local MPs asking them to advocate for us as a special case in terms of the RAAC that had been found in the Castle Museum.


“At the time of writing, we were the only museum in the country that had RAAC found within it.

“There are now another two, so we are a very unique breed.

“As far as I’m aware we are the only listed building with RAAC in it and we are now a test case study for Historic England.

“Whether or not we like that status we [have] that status.

“Rachael Maskell [MP for York Central] was enormously supportive and got the letter we sent to her on Lucy Frazer’s [Secretary of State for Culture] desk within a week.

“I haven’t heard anything from them but we will continue to chase about whether there would be any funds coming from national government because this is such an unusual set of circumstances.”

The trust could apply for financial help from the Art Council England’s MEND fund, from which it could receive up to £5 million.

However, Ms Blacker said that amount of money would be more beneficial going to the Yorkshire Museum which has “huge water and grass problems”.

Cllr Jo Coles, the council's executive member for health, said: “It was all over the news when schools were being affected, rightly so, and there was a national outcry when schools were affected and rightly so.

“This is a nationally significant museum; there should be more of an outcry than there actually is currently about the government’s failure to engage with this issue.”

She added that the council will do what they can despite being “very cash-strapped” but government should do more to help the trust.

“Our efforts to get them here have fallen on deaf ears but we will keep trying,” Cllr Coles said.