You are here
Horse Repository Building
This attractive facade on Tanner's Moat, with its gothic arches and contrasting brickwork, is all that remains of what was once York's premiere horse hotel.
The building was designed by York-based architect Walter Green Penty (1852 – 1902) for Thomas Walker (a York-based auctioneer and valuer). It consisted of a three storey office building (incorporating a gateway arch) fronting onto Tanner's Moat, with a large two-storey hall behind. The central section of the hall was open to the roof and lit by roof lights (see illustrations below). The official opening was announced in the London-based newspaper the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News:
Mr. Walker of York opens his new repository on the 20th and 21st instant, the days of the races there. The new premises, which are on a very extensive scale, will be the subject of an illustration in a forthcoming number.
Source: Page 9 of the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, published in London on Saturday 17 May 1884.
The illustrations were produced in the June 28th 1884 edition:
The building served as both an equine auction house and the Victorian equivalent of a multi-storey car-park. Merchants and other wealthy visitors could drop-off their horses and carriages before proceeding into the city centre to conduct their business. The premises also served visitors arriving by train: wealthy passengers could hire a horse and carriage for the duration of their visit (the equivalent of modern-day car-hire).
The carriages were parked on the ground floor and the horses were stabled in stalls on both the ground and first floors (the latter reached via a spiral ramp).
The establishment even had its own railed paddock for exercising the horses. This was located on the opposite side of the City Wall, in the area now partly occupied by the Leeman Road War Memorial Garden.
At some point between 1913 and 1920, the business was taken over by J.P. Botterill (another York-based auctioneer) and the name of the building was changed to Botterill’s Horse Repository.
The enterprise survived into the 1950s, but the steady rise in car ownership eventually took its toll and the building was used by an automotive business for a few years.
In May 1962, most of the structure was demolished. However, the lower section of the front facade was retained and has subsequently been incorporated into a modern office building known as "Lendal Arches".
The Horse Repository Building fronts onto Tanner's Moat and the name of this street provides an insight into the area's rich history. The first element refers to the leather workers who once occupied this part of the city. The second part refers to the adjacent section of the inner ditch, which once formed an integral part of the city's defences. (The ditch and adjacent land were leased by the guild of tanners in 1476.)
Cost Category (Categories)
Location Information (Where is . . . ?)