York’s iconic Folk Hall will officially re-open after a once-in-a-generation refurbishment. Villagers from New Earswick and visitors from across York are invited to come along and experience the Folk Hall for themselves.
The Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Campbell Robb, and The Rt Hon. the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Keith Orrell, will together officially re-open the Folk Hall. Fiona Williams, the CEO of Explore Libraries and Archives, will also speak at the opening.
The Folk Hall is owned and managed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) and is now coming to the end of a major redevelopment supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Many elements of the building have been refurbished and refreshed, with spaces opened up to create a light and spacious interior while respecting its Arts and Crafts features.
In 1907, Joseph Rowntree built the Folk Hall and gave it to the people of New Earswick to be a “centre for activities and creative life in this new experiment”. The Folk Hall has been at the heart of village life ever since and has become an icon in York.
The vision is for a new, improved Folk Hall at the heart of the community: just as Joseph Rowntree intended. Today’s Folk Hall includes a Post Office, a fantastic community café, and the New Earswick Library: a partnership between ourselves and Explore York Libraries and Archives.
One of our innovations is the Discovery Room – a dedicated space for young people that they can use as they want. The room has been designed by pupils from the nearby Joseph Rowntree School, and the old chairs upcycled by the village’s Prince’s Trust volunteers. Community involvement has been key to developing a new Folk Hall for all ages.
The re-opening weekend – 22 and 23 September – will be an opportunity to introduce residents and people from right across the city to the new-look Folk Hall. There will also be a packed programme of events and activities, from apple pressing and live music to food, crafts and dancing.