The history of Treasurer's House

Two women looking up at an ornate cream ceiling

A picturesque town house nestling in the centre of York, Treasurer's House has many tales to tell, none more fascinating than how it came to look like it does today.

Out of the ordinary​

Sitting on a Roman road with layers of history to share, step inside to uncover the story of Frank Green through 13 period rooms around the house. The rooms are home to his collection of fascinating pieces and not all the spaces are as they might first appear.

The small but award winning garden is a tranquil oasis in the centre of the city and is planted with muted tones of blues and whites, befitting an Edwardian gentleman.

Fascinating Frank

Frank Green was a wealthy industrialist from Wakefield and passionate collector who renovated Treasurer’s House to showcase his collection in historical surroundings. He donated Treasurer's House to the National Trust in 1930 and was the first to be gifted to the charity complete with its collection.

More about the man behind Treasurer's House

Black and white image of various staff members in front of the house

An everlasting presence

When Frank gave the house to the National Trust it was under the condition that the rooms would be kept exactly as he intended. If any changes were made, he vowed to return to haunt the building! If items in the house have been moved or changed for conservation reasons, some of the spooky occurrences are said to be an angry Frank fulfilling his promise.

Wall sign showing historic rules

A firm set of rules

Frank Green liked things just so and had signs around the house to keep people in line, from slippers on workers to newspaper wrapped around the pieces of coal to prevent unnecessary noise. He was even reputed to empty out a full cutlery draw if one thing was incorrect so it could all be replaced.

Black and white image of a man and his son in top hat and tails

An entertaining man

Frank Green became known as a great host; maybe to partly help firm his standing in society but perhaps simply because he enjoyed the finer things in life. From royal visitors, who still have rooms named after them, to the leading actors and actresses of the day. Grand and lavish affairs with staff and guests dressed up and musicians playing from the Minstrels Gallery.

Re-imagining Treasurer's House

Despite its place in York's skyline the residence that now stands on the site of Treasurer's House is not the very same one that existed even 200 years before. Under the ambitious instruction of Mr Frank Green the house took on a new face. 

Whilst the great and good of Yorkshire were sacrificing their estates under the pressure of a changing society, Frank was resurrecting and in some cases re-imagining a new fresh construct of his own design.

Treasurers House then and now
side by side photographs of treasurers house then and now
Treasurers House then and now

Three became one 

Although many people have lived in Treasurer’s House, it was Frank Green who most shaped the space you can see and explore today. He had the wealth to indulge his passions for travel and collecting antiquities and created his version of a historic house. In the late 1800s he bought three separate buildings and created the house you see today.

Treasurer’s House became a show piece for Mr. Green's furniture, objects, art and historical knowledge, but it also expressed his interest in preserving the history of the city of York.

A unique collection

The 13 period rooms house antique furniture, ceramics, textiles and paintings from a 300-year heritage. Find out more about the stories behind some of the key pieces on your tour during a visit or uncover the stories behind some of the collection...

Preserving history

With so many antique pieces of furniture, art and textiles, conservation is an important part of the work at Treasurer's House. Many hours are spent restoring the building, collection and garden to ensure they last for many more years to come. It's thanks to members, visitors and other supporters that we are able to look after this fascinating building and collection.

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