‘Danger – Sudden Drop’. So says a sign at the old York Fire Station on Clifford Street.
And it serves as a useful warning: on the other side of that door is the pole which firefighters slid down every time the alarm bell rang.
The fire station hasn’t echoed to the sound of alarms, engine sirens or the clatter of boots since 2014 when the service relocated to a purpose-built HQ on Kent Street.
Now York photographer James Drury has taken these pictures of the old site, which show it has hardly changed since the firemen and women moved out.
Ultimately the building will be demolished – except for the rather fine Peckitt Street facade. That was once part of the Trinity Chapel, built in 1856, and partly converted to the fire station when it opened in 1938.
But before then there is a plan to use the old buildings for a variety of exhibitions and creative projects.
The building is being taken over temporarily by the Skippko Blank Canvas scheme. This uses empty properties as short-term space for creative and educational projects.
Owners of the building The Clifford St Venture (a joint company formed by The Helmsley Group and London Ebor Development) bought the site for £2.9 million earlier this month.
They plan to create seven homes, and a restaurant with seven flats above. But first they have agreed to lend the property to the Blank Canvas scheme.
Blank Canvas York coordinator, Phil Dodsworth is very excited about using the space and sees it as a fitting farewell for such an iconic building. He said:
Want to get involved?
The Blank Canvas organisers are inviting proposals for use of the space before it’s demolished, and hope to stage a variety of the best ideas.
They only have the space for a short time – six to eight weeks, possibly less. But the plan is to put on as many projects as possible.
As a result they want short-term projects that can take place over one to three days.
“We have already received some great proposals, including art exhibitions, photography and painting workshops, theatre, music and PechaKucha,” said Phil.
The proposals must fit with the Skippko Blank Canvas ethos, so the space can be used for:
Also, proposals must fit with Skippko’s charitable purpose which is ‘To advance the education of the public in creative and visual arts and crafts and the techniques and practice thereof’.
Please send you proposals by email to firstname.lastname@example.org including:
The proposal idea
Time frame and specific dates (if applicable)
The original deadline for accepting proposals has passed so we will treat all subsequent proposals on an individual basis and try and accommodate as many as possible, subject to availability.