York’s Bar Walls are the finest and most complete of any town in England. At two miles, they are also the longest town walls in the UK. Over a million people a year take a walk through 1900 years of history on York’s city walls. Built in Roman times, they’ve been added to and rebuilt over time and now have parts from across the centuries. Originally built as defences, the focus is now on conservation. A local group, The Friends of York Walls feel that the walls are not promoted enough as a major “must see” attraction, and have set out to address this situation.
The Friends of York Walls (FYW) is a voluntary non-profit making group who aim to help promote, manage and develop York’s Walls and Defences (including the Bar Walls, St Mary’s Abbey, Clifford’s Tower and The Castle) for the benefit of local residents and visitors. We organise and undertake practical work and organise public events in co-operation with the City of York Council and other like-minded groups or individuals. We seek to establish York Walls as a major worldwide attraction, one that the residents of York can take pride in, and residents and visitors can enjoy to the full. For more information and membership details please see our website. Membership is free.
The Friends of York Walls is a fairly new but rapidly expanding group formed just over a year ago. We currently have a membership of around 150 and would love to have more members and active volunteers. The Friends of York Walls have no income other than from donations and fund raising activities. We have a major ongoing fund raising activity to re-open one of the disused towers along the York Walls. FYW have no actual assets as the York Walls are in the care of and maintained by the City of York Council (CYC). CYC are fully supportive of our aims and objectives and are helping us to achieve these. We are forming a UK charity ‘The York Walls Charitable Trust’ to administer our activities.
In the short time that FYW has been in existence we have organised a number of events and have already established new traditions and activities on and around the walls. One such event is an annual inspection of the walls by The Lord Mayor of York when he is accompanied by hundreds of local schoolchildren. We have also held open days, given talks on the history of the walls and organised guided tours. There is an active program of events planned for 2012.
One of the biggest ongoing current objectives of Friends of York Walls is to re-open Fishergate Postern Tower, located at the end of Piccadilly, for community use. FYW are working in close partnership with City of York Council and English Heritage to bring the Fishergate Postern Tower into community use. We are preparing a bid for support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refurbish the 500 year old tower and give it a new lease of life as a visitor centre with informative displays, education facilities and possibly a small cafe. The City of York Council has been asked to provide funding to complete repair work, which is essential to the heritage fund bid. The Fishergate Postern Tower re-opening has received coverage by the local press, and on local radio stations. The plans and proposals for the tower refurbishment have been exhibited at various FYW events and public opinion on the proposals has been sought via a questionnaire. We aim to open the tower to the public at weekends over the summer months – from June to September 2012. Come along and see inside the tower for yourself – climb the spiral staircase, see the garderobe, look for masons marks.
Friends of York Walls are seeking to raise funds towards the Fishergate Postern Tower project by inviting the general public and local businesses to “Sponsor a Stone”. The Lord Mayor of York Councillor David Horton, patron of the Friends of York Walls, officially opened the fundraising in January 2012 when he was presented with a certificate of ownership of a stone by Friends Chairman Keith Myers and watched by fellow friends. Full details of “Sponsor a Stone” are on our website here, where you can select and sponsor your own stone. You can also add an optional message or a dedication which is entered into a “Book of Sponsors”.
We also have a Photo Competition, which is open to all FYW members. Remember that membership is free, and you can
submit your photographs up to the closing date of 30th September 2012 – full details are on the FYW website.
Friends of York Walls can be contacted via Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or website here.
You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. June 2012