Rachael Maskell MP flanked by Julie, who works for English Heritage at Clifford
Rachael Maskell MP flanked by Julie, who works for English Heritage at Clifford's Tower, and Angela Selley, English Heritage’s director for the North of England

Rachael Maskell’s visit to Clifford’s Tower, to mark English Tourism Week, highlighted one of York’s many heritage assets which makes the city so attractive to the visiting economy. Since it’s re-opening, the monument has retold its history in a new way, with recorded voices and information boards to help orientate visitors through its past. The tour can also be enhanced by purchasing the detailed visitor’s guide, which has also been upgraded.

The MP’s visit also served an extra purpose to learn about the work of English Heritage and how it works to preserve its assets. Rachael Maskell was accompanied by Andrea Selley, the English Heritage Territory Director for the North of England and Rachael Baldwin-Gledhill, who was the project manager for the upgrade of the site. Their intricate knowledge of the site pointed out some of the unique works undertaken in the building upgrade, as well as snippets from its story. The re-opened latrine and sink both came with their own water system, showing early engineering, and have only been on display since the tower upgrade.

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“Clifford’s Tower, now so carefully preserved, will continue to tell the story of how it served as a keep in the castle to
 royal mint and part of the prison while also marking the terrible history of the massacre of York’s Jewish community on 16 March 1190. Today, the tower also provides space for reflection, historical interest and incredible views of our city.

“I am so grateful to English Heritage reworking its design after resident’s pressure to maintain the original look of the motte. The finalised plans enabled the visitor attraction to maintain its unique presence in the Eye of York, while also introducing prize-winning internal design to benefit the building as well as enable visitors to make the most out of their visit. Sadly, there has been no resolve found as to how to make the tower fully accessible, a challenge when dealing with heritage architecture, however the breaks in the steps to the top enable greater access than was previously available.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and hope that those who have yet to step back in time and learn of its history, or have not visited since the refurbishment, will seek to do so.”

Andrea Selley from English Heritage said:
We were delighted to welcome Rachael to Clifford’s Tower. The iconic tower is going from strength to strength, last year we welcomed a record number of visitors while only last week, our project to conserve and re-present the tower won a Civic Trust Award, recognising its positive contribution to the city. The Civic Trust judges described the tower as a ‘cherished landmark’ for locals and we couldn’t agree more. The tower remains at the heart of the city. We recently worked with the Jewish community to mark the anniversary of the 1190 massacre of the York’s Jewish population while at the start of this year we welcomed over 3,000 local people through the tower’s gates as part of the York Residents Festival.”

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