Fairfax House is one the finest townhouses in England and an architectural masterpiece of its time. It was built in 1755 - 62 by Viscount Fairfax for his daughter Anne. The building was designed by the celebrated architect John Carr of York, who is particularly noted for Harewood House, the magnificent Palladian mansion he created to the north of Leeds.
In the 20th century the Georgian townhouse suffered abuse and misuse.
Between 1920 and 1965 the building was used as a cinema and dance hall. Fortunately towards the end of the century Fairfax House was saved from near collapse by the York Civic Trust.
The Trust acquired and fully restored the building in 1983 - 84 and today, visitors can admire the richly decorated interior with its superb plasterwork, wood and wrought-iron.
The grand staircase has a particularly fine plasterwork ceiling.
The well-furnished principal rooms and fascinating domestic quarters are on view and in the dining room and kitchen there is a specially recreated display of a meal dating from 1763. Visitors can also see the bedroom of Anne Fairfax (1725 - 93).
Fairfax House now holds the superb Noel Terry Collection.
This was a gift of a former treasurer of the York Civic Trust and is one of the finest private collections formed in the 20th century. The splendid 18th century furniture, porcelain, paintings and clocks enhance and complement the house.
During the year Fairfax House stages a series of period exhibitions and the Noel Terry Collection helps to create a 'lived-in' atmosphere and bring the house to life.