Giant crane helps lift Walmgate Bar into new chapter in its history

The crane used for the latest renovations to Walmgate Bar. Photographs: Richard McDougall
24 Sep 2015 @ 9.02 pm
| History, News

This giant crane towered over one of York’s ancient monuments on Thursday (September 24).

It was there all day to lift new balustrade rails and rooftop decking into place on top of Walmgate Bar.

The operation, which saw the bar closed to traffic, is part of a plan to open up a new view of York city centre to tourists and residents.

Heavy lifting… a beam is inched into place
Heavy lifting… a beam is inched into place
One of the sections of balustrade is put in position
One of the sections of balustrade is put in position

City of York Council has invested £100,000 on restoring the medieval gateway. And thanks to this latest work, people walking the city walls will be able to sit on the Walmgate Barbican and access the roof for the first time.

Once the building has been made safe the Bar promises to offer a new observation point in the city.

This picture shows the scale of the crane on the York skyline
This picture shows the scale of the crane on the York skyline

Earlier this month YorkMix went along to see the wooden back of the bar be lifted for the first time in order to reposition the building.

The project hasn’t been without its problems but city archaeologist John Oxley hopes that their hard work will help maintain the building and “allow for the first time safe access for the general public to the roof and Barbican”.

Colourful history

Walmgate Bar in the 1950s, the last time it was a residential home. Photograph: Explore York Libraries And Archives
Walmgate Bar in the 1950s, the last time it was a residential home. Photograph: Explore York Libraries And Archives
This is only the latest chapter in the history of Walmgate Bar, parts of which date back to the 12th century.

It is the most complete bar in the city and has been someone’s home for much of its 800-year history. The last resident of the bar, a policeman, left it in 1956.

Walmgate Bar played an important role in defending York during the English Civil War and suffered a great deal of damage as a result.

The bar was also used to shock the lawbreakers of the city by being home to severed heads of traitors including Robert Hillyard and one of the Farnley Woods conspirators.

Walmgate Bar’s recent history hasn’t been anywhere near as gory. It’s now home to a coffee house.