After six centuries of its tumultuous existence and three years of renovation and restoration by volunteers, the Red Tower is being formally opened by Rachael Maskell, MP on Saturday 19th May at 2pm. Rachael Maskell has followed the project closely and recognises its potential as a community hub. She recently commented: ‘The volunteers and everyone involved with the Red Tower restoration have done an amazing job. I’ve visited many times over the past three years through the renovations and know that the community around Navigation Road and Walmgate have a real jewel in York’s heritage’. She went on to underline the important contribution it can make: ‘The idea of a community café and local hub for residents and visitors alike is refreshing and the preservation of a neglected historic building is so important for future generations’.
The restoration support from the Council and generous funding from Yorventure’s Landfill Communities Fund, City of York Council, Two Ridings Community Foundation and latterly the Feoffees of St Michael’s Spurriergate and others have been well used to bring about a transformation to the building. All donations and income from hiring the Tower will subsidise community use.
Originally commissioned by Richard III and built in 1490, this small brick-built jewel that marks the end of the walls on Foss Islands Road has overcome serious damage and decay. It was bombarded during the civil war in 1644, suffered centuries of neglect, some restoration by the Victorians in the 1850s, suffered in the floods of 2015 and has been lovingly restored by the Red Tower volunteers with work completed by Croft Farm Construction, Dunnington who completed the work designed by York architects, Holland Brown.
As well as preserving a valuable part of the heritage of the walls, the Red Tower represents an important resource for local people and will be increasingly open for business as a community café as well as providing a bijou meeting place for corporate visitors and, of course, a stopping point for the thousands of tourists who walk the walls.