(Former) entrance façade for Friends' Meeting House, Clifford Street, York. This distinctive frontage with its geometrically satisfying doorway was designed by the prominent Leeds architect William Henry Thorp (1852-1944) and built in 1885. Such an "impressive composition" was Thorp's speciality (Webster 399). The Clifford Street façade no longer belongs to the Friends, although the building still incorporates a small Meeting House of 1844, accessed from Friargate (see Pevsner and Neave 179).

The Quakers had had a strong presence in Yorkshire, Quakerism having "started in Yorkshire and North West England in 1651-52 when George Fox and other founders discovered a faith that they had been seeking" ("History"). It had flourished despite persecution, and through Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), and then under the leadership of the chocolate-maker and philanthropist Joseph Rowntree (1836-1925), made important contributions to social reform in the Victorian period.

The hall originally had a gallery (cast-iron columns from which form part of the Friargate entrance), and could hold as many as 1,200 people. Joseph Rowntree himself is known to have attended meetings here ("Friends' Meeting House").

Photographs by Rita Wood 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. Click on them to enlarge them.


"Friends' Meeting House, Friargate, York." Rowntree Society. Web. 18 April 2020.

"History: Brief History." Quakers in Yorkshire. Web. 18 April 2020.

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

Webster, Christopher, ed. Building A Great Victorian City: Leeds Architects and Architecture 1790-1914. Huddersfield: Northern Heritage Publications (an imprint of Jeremy Mills Publishing) in Association with the Victorian Society, 2011. [Review.]

Created 18 April 2020