History of The Purey Cust

The Purey Cust

In the 1200's the site to the northwest of York Minster where The Purey Cust buildings now stand, was the location of the Archbishop's Palace. Fast forward to 1880, when Canon Arthur Purey Cust took up the post of Dean of York Minster, a position he held for over 30 years. On his retirement, and as a mark of respect for this well-loved man, a considerable sum of money was raised by people from all walks of life, both residents of the city, as well as those from further afield.

Canon Purey Cust decided to use this money to found The Purey Cust Nursing Home. The building was designed by the renowned York architect Walter Brierley, architect for the York Diocese and sometimes known as the 'Yorkshire Lutyens'. Construction took place between 1914-1916 on land leased from the Dean and Chapter.

At the northern end of the site, adjacent to the Brierley building and linked to it by a 1983 extension stands Purey Cust Chambers. This handsome house, designed by RH Sharp, and built of ashlar stone between 1824-1825 in Tudor 'Gothick' style was originally intended as a purpose built residence for Minster canons.

Initially the hospital's finances were secure and charges to patients were kept low. However the advent of the National Health Service had a significant impact on the viability of the Nursing Home, and in the late 1960's Nuffield Hospitals took a long lease of the buildings, carried out major refurbishments and used them as their hospital in York.

By 2004 the physical constraints of the buildings meant they were no longer suitable for use as a modern hospital, and were partially vacated when the Nuffield hospital relocated to a new site on Haxby Road. Since 2006 these fine and important Grade II listed buildings occupying a city centre site of major historic interest have been mostly vacant.

The Purey Cust