Barclays Bank, High Ousegate and Parliament Street, designed by Edmund Kirby (1838-1920), next to the Parish and Guild Church of All Saints Pavement, in York city centre. Opened in 1901, and Grade II listed, it is a red brick building with terracotta and moulded brick for the bands and dressings: "very red and Waterhousish ... Gothic to early Renaissance" (Pevsner and Neave 228). Rita Wood tells us that it "stands well, on a slight rise, where the road to a river bridge dips down from the old marketplace," and, as seen here, "catches the sun, when there is any!"

Left: The entrance bay on High Ousegate, with the oriel giving scope for the recessed arches of the doorway. Right: The corner with Parliament Street, with the building's half-conical cross-gable, and the steep pitch of the slate roof rising behind it.

Left to right: (a) Intricate moulded brickwork and terracotta foliate patterning on the façade at the corner. (b) The first bays on Parliament Street. (c) The semi-circular oriel further along Parliament Street.

Left: Close-up of the patterning between the first and second storeys. Right: Close-up of the patterning above the second-storey window at the corner.

More decorative elements. Left to right: (a) Around one of the first story windows on High Ousegate. (b) Over the recessed entrance door. (c) The superabundance of terracotta higher up.

This is not a particularly tall building, having two storeys and attic with dormers on both fronts, but with the added height of its steep roof, its stout cross-gable at the corner, and tall chimney stacks, it looks imposing enough. What is most striking, however, is the enormous wealth of decorative moulding on architraves, cornice, and frieze, repeated on both fronts, and perhaps most noticeably of all, at the corner.

Nothing is forgotten here: a splendid lion down-spout.

Related Material

Photographs by Rita Wood 2020, and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web project or cite it in a print one.]


"Barclays Bank." Historic England. Web. 5 March 2020.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, and David Neave. Yorkshire: York and the East Riding. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Created 5 March 2020