York Castle Museum

Leeds, United Kingdom

York Castle Museum


York Castle Museum is a museum located in York, North Yorkshire, England, on the site of York Castle, which was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. The museum itself was founded by John L. Kirk in 1938, and is housed in prison buildings which were built on the site of the castle in the 18th century, the debtors' prison (built in 1701–05 using stone from the ruins of the castle) and the female prison (built 1780–85).

In 1931 John Lamplugh Kirk, a physician and amateur archaeologist based in Pickering, North Yorkshire advertised for expressions of interest from sites who wished to house his large collection of objects relating to the study of Social History. Although he received responses from sites in Middlesbrough, Wakefield, Batley, Doncaster and York, it was the latter which was ultimately successful. The Female Prison was bought by the York Corporation in 1934 and modified to house the Kirk Collection of "bygones", opening as the Castle Museum on 23 April 1938. A major attraction of this new museum was the recreation of a late Victorian street, named 'Kirkgate'; this was the first of its kind in Britain.

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