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Our oldest office: The White House, York

White House York Then

Did you know it’s not just our homes that have a long and interesting history, but Places for People has an office that dates back to the reign of George II?

The White House in York was first built in 1731 as a residential townhouse in typical Georgian style, and has had a long and interesting history, changing hands several times before Places for People took residence in 2003.

A diverse history

As Yorkshire’s administrative centre, eighteenth century York stood as the heart of the county’s cultural life. The city attracted many wealthy businessmen with business interests in the surrounding industrial cities of Leeds, Sheffield and Hull, prompting many townhouses to be built in the archetypical Georgian brick style. Clifton was a particularly popular suburb outside of the city walls, with the White House just one of many townhouses constructed in the area. Typical Georgian features of the building include the blue slate roof covering in diminishing courses, timber sash windows, and a front door bordered by doric columns. The impressive curved staircase with stone treads and iron balusters was added in the late eighteenth century and remains a signature feature of the building. Bay windows in the Victorian style were also added in 1890.

The White House was originally owned by William Roberts, a silk and textiles trader, who added a third storey to the house. Edmund Beckett, first Baron Grimethorpe, was the next owner, an influential politician known for his regulation of Big Ben. In 1828, the house was bought by local cleric and influential magistrate Reverand D.R. Currer, who added wings to both sides as well as extending to the back.

In the Second World War, the White House narrowly survived the Blitz, with surrounding houses in Clifton, on Queen Anne’s Road and Bootham Terrace, destroyed by bombing. After the war, the building was converted for commercial use, first as a Post Office Telephone Management centre and later as an office for the Inland Revenue. In 2002, residential properties were added to the rear and the entire building was finally taken over by Places for People a year later. It has been used as one of our offices ever since. 

White House York Now

Grade II Listing

In 1970, the White House was listed as a Grade II building by Historic England for its exemplary Georgian and Victorian architectural features. This means that there are strict rules we must observe when renovating the building, including undertaking minimal intervention and only where it is strictly necessary, using like-for-like materials. Refurbishment has recently taken place internally, with new bathrooms and kitchens fitted, whilst external renovations are in progress to improve the energy efficiency of the building at the same time as protecting its period features.

As the current custodians of the White House and only the latest in its long history of owners, it is important that we preserve and cherish this fascinating building for the present Community and future generations. 

Find out more about our history and heritage at Places for People.