Lawrence Street development recognised as site of historical significance

Lawrence Street development recognised as site of historical significance

The chief executive of The Retreat and York Civic Trust unveiled the plaque in recognition of the building’s history as the family home of Samuel Tuke, the founder of modern mental healthcare reforms.

York based development company S Harrison is currently completing work transforming the former Grade II listed Lawrence Street Working Men’s Club and The Tam O’ Shanter public house into premium living accommodation for 115 students. 

The development will be known as Samuel Tuke Apartments.

Samuel Tuke was born in 1784 and was the grandson of William Tuke, the founder of The Retreat in York, which is now a private mental health hospital in Heslington Road. 

Samuel, who died in 1857, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and devoted his work to improving mental health treatment. 

He raised his family of 13 on Lawrence Street whilst managing The Retreat.  Inspired by the family’s Quaker ethos, Samuel helped invent and develop mental health nursing in York and ultimately throughout the world.  

Dr David Fraser, chief executive of York Civic Trust, said: “The Tuke family was hugely influential in York during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

“As well as working in mental health, they were heavily involved in the development of schools in York, and supported a wide range of charitable activities.

“We are therefore delighted to see the exceptional transformation of this building which has been given a completely new lease of life. 

“S Harrison is to be congratulated for taking on a very complex project, and using their knowledge and experience of historic buildings to turn a very significant building into a development which can pay its way in the twenty-first century, and it’s an honour to be able to present it with this blue plaque.” 

Samuel Tuke Apartments will offer a mix of studios and flats with one, two, three and five bedrooms that benefit from shared kitchens and living rooms. 

There will also be a superb range of communal study areas and leisure facilities including a gym, cinema and common room. 

The development will be owned and managed by Empiric Student Property through its Hello Student platform.

Chris Hale, from S Harrison, said: “It’s been a real privilege to be involved in the restoration and transformation of this historic building with the continued support of York Civic Trust.  

“We were honoured that Cathy Waters from The Retreat took the time to attend.  Samuel Tuke Apartments will now serve the city’s student population, offering extremely modern living accommodation, whilst retaining lots of the its original character, as well as helping to free up local housing stock. 

“Importantly its heritage will also live on and continue to play a role in the building’s future, through the prominence of this prestigious blue plaque.”

Picture caption – (left to right) Cathy Waters, Chief Executive at The Retreat York, David Fraser, Chief Executive at York Civic Trust and Chris Hale, Group Design Manager at S Harrison.

Published: 08 September 2017

Article by Chris Middleton
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