The Retreat

The Retreat, Heslington Road, York, North Yorkshire

The Retreat, York

This record is not yet complete. We plan to visit this site in the near future and will update this record once our research is complete.

From Historic England listing: 

"Architectural interest:

'[...] designed by the Quaker architect John Bevans, the original building is an austere, Palladian design in brick, both dignified and fitting to the ethos of its Quaker founders; the asylum expanded considerably to become a highly complex building with many later ranges and buildings designed by well-regarded York architects such as Charles Watson and James Pigott Pritchett, specialists in asylum architecture, J P Pritchett and Son, J B and W Atkinson, Edward Taylor and Walter Brierley; while varying in architectural style, the later ranges and buildings are well-designed and integral components of the building with specific functions which inter-relate with the building as a whole and demonstrate its on-going development as an asylum; the Retreat retains much of its original plan form with individual rooms opening off wide corridors or galleries; the interior was intended to provide a homely atmosphere with details such as specially-designed secure sash windows, with cast-iron glazing bars rather than bars, a few of which survive; the high-quality, late-C19 and early-C20 fixtures and fittings in the front range were designed by Walter Brierley, and are complemented by the quality of design and craftsmanship of the fixtures and fittings in Brierley’s recreation hall of 1907.'    [...]

In the 1820s The Retreat continued to expand with York architects Charles Watson and James Pigott Pritchett designing additional east and west wings to the north corners in place of the small ranges on the north side of the narrow courtyards. These are shown on a ground plan of September 1827 by Watson, Pritchett and Watson. The north-east wing, thought to have been added in 1824, contained the superintendent’s house and a reading room. The north-west wing, drawn up in 1821 and constructed 1826, contained a wash house, a laundry, a brew house and bake house. A hexagonal entrance lodge is shown on the north-east side beside the road and a new coach house and a triangular stable block was built on the south-east side of the airing courts. A linear range containing a carpenter’s shop, gardener’s cottage and cart shed is shown on the south-west side of the Lodge, together with an additional block on the west side of the south-west auxiliary wing.

Between 1837 and 1839 the main east and west wings of the central block were raised from two to three storeys by Watson and Pritchett. [...]

An 1851 plan by J P Pritchett and Son shows that by this date the kitchen had been moved to a dedicated kitchen range in the north-west wing. In the early 1850s it was agreed by the Trustees that it would be more effective to dismantle and rebuild the east and west wings in their entirety, rather than remodel them and an appeal for building funds was launched. The south-east men’s wing was replaced first with a fire-proofed two-storey and basement L-shaped plan built in 1852 to 1854 to designs by J P Pritchett and Sons of York. The south-west women’s wing was replaced with a second similar L-shaped plan built between 1858 and 1860 to designs by J B and W Atkinson of York. As part of this rebuilding, the coach house and stables and the carpenter’s shop, gardener’s cottage and cart shed to the immediate south of the airing courts appear to have been demolished.' "

  • James Pigott Pritchett
    Image: James Pigott Pritchett