De Grey Rooms, one of York’s finest examples of early Victorian architecture, has officially re-opened on Thursday September 2nd after a £100,000 refurbishment to restore the interior to its former glory. The neo-classical Grade II listed building was closed for two months while work was carried out to restore the magnificent ballroom, cocktail bar and entrance way.
De Grey Rooms neighbour York Theatre Royal, which manages the building, uses De Grey Rooms as a rehearsal space for its thriving Youth Theatre, events and special performances. Most of the time it is available for hire – for wedding receptions, big celebrations and business events.
The Rooms, built to reflect neo-classical design, were paid for by public subscription in 1841-2. The designer was architect George Townsend Andrews, famed for his work on George Hudson’s railway buildings. Andrews was one of the main architects of York Railway Station. Hudson himself was instrumental in the construction of the De Grey Rooms and they were used for many of his railway company meetings.
Originally used as an officers’ mess for the social events and meetings of the Yorkshire Hussars, De Grey Rooms are named after Thomas Philip de Grey, who was the 2nd Earl de Grey and colonel-commandant of the Yorkshire Hussar Regiment. Later, the Rooms became a venue for social entertainments of the non-military kind – balls, concerts and parties. During the Second World War dances were held, providing a little relief for the people of York more familiar with air raids and ration books.
Hospitality manager Mike Slavin said: “It is a privilege to be re-opening one of York’s most gracious buildings, after a refurbishment that captures the elegance and style of the original design. I hope to welcome lots of residents of the city to our programme of events over Christmas and via the private hire of the space for weddings, celebrations and more, as we recapture the vibrancy that De Grey Rooms should always represent.”
The building is now owned by York Conservation Trust. For several years it housed the Tourist Information centre but is now let to the Theatre Royal.
Forthcoming events at De Grey Rooms include:
- Christmas Fair with Friends of YTR (24 Nov, 11am to 4pm).
- Christmas Traditions with York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir (3-7 Dec, 7.30pm).
- European Arts Company production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (18-22 Dec, 7.45pm).
- Burns Night Ceilidh with The Great Northern Ceilidh Band (26 Jan, 7pm).
To book tickets call 01904 623568 or online yorktheatreroyal.co.uk