History & Heritageof The Elmbank Hotel, York
Built in the 19th century, The Elmbank Hotel has a rich history and heritage from its time as a family home, when multiple phases of reinvestment saw stunning pieces of Art Nouveau and architecture put in place which still exist, and are proudly preserved to this day.
In fact, our refurbishment has been carefully carried out to celebrate the beauty of George Walton’s work and tell the story of this iconic city centre hotel through modern indulgence and relaxation.
17th Century Townhouse
Built in 1868, The Elmbank started its life as a manor-sized house on the Mount for William Benton Richardson, a York solicitor who commissioned renowned architects to construct a large townhouse where he lived with his family until his wife passed away.
Since then, it passed through multiple owners before going through phases as a gentleman’s club and an army officer billet during WW2 before becoming a hotel in 1950.
Home to York Notables
Once Richardson moved from Elmbank in 1898, Sir Sidney Leetham bought the house and ordered a refurbishment by George Walton, one of the pioneers of Art Nouveau in the UK, which saw the whole ground floor transform with a charming Art Nouveau interior.
It is also said that Leetham made good use of the small observation tower to watch grain arrive by boat on the River Ouse. This same room is now a cosy writer’s lounge within our revitalised hotel.
Treasures of Art Nouveau
In all public areas, original and listed Art Nouveau has been carefully preserved throughout the hotel’s history including woodwork pieces, stencils and mosaics.
In the restaurant, for example, you can look through floral stained and leaded glass windows or take in the detail of mosaic fresco over a sumptuous dessert. Or when making your way from the main living area to the first floor, a grand oak staircase still stands with stenciled walls and a vaulted ceiling waiting to be admired.
That’s not forgetting a precious floral gem in the former Walton Bar, taking its place as an iconic wall design, marrying matte paint with glossy ceramics ready and waiting to be discovered during your stay.
Arguably, one of England’s most historic cities, York takes influence from both the Vikings and the Romans who characterised the city through the likes of the iconic York Minster and Shambles, one of the most recognised historic and best-preserved medieval streets in England.
Arguably, one of England’s most historic cities, York takes influence from both the Vikings and the Romans who characterised the city through the likes of the iconic York Minster and Shambles, one of the most recoginsed historic and best-preserved medieval streets in England.