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York 800 events feature in Residents Festival 2012


12:00am 27th January 2012

This year's York Residents Festival will give the first chance for people living in York to enjoy events in York 800, a major year long programme of activities celebrating the 800 years since the city was first granted its Royal Charter in 1212.

York Residents Festival, organised by Visit York and taking place on 28 and 29 January, is an annual event in which many of the city's attractions open their doors free to York residents with Yorkcards who can also take advantage of special discounts at some of the city's superb restaurants and shops. The 2012 festival will also play host to a number of celebratory York 800 events which will give residents a unique opportunity to explore the city's rich history and important legacy in this special anniversary year.

Highlights include:

  • Richard Taylor, Archives Manager for City of York Council will tell the story of the city's archive, which is older than both the Minster and the city walls, on Saturday 28 January at 2pm and 3.30pm at York Explore Centre. Residents attending this event, "The most significant city archive outside London", will also be given hands-on access to some of the archive's special treasures (from King Henry II to Mr Micawber) which will reveal how the city has been run for the last 800 years. Tickets for this event must be pre-booked at the York Explore enquiry desk, or on 01904 552828.
  • York residents are also invited to visit the Merchant Taylors Hall in Aldwark on Sunday 29 January between 11am-4pm. You can tour the magnificent medieval hall and meet current members of the guild, which dates back to the 13th century, to learn more about its intriguing history. No pre- booking is required for this event.
  • Discover how the granting of a Royal Charter by King John in 1212 changed the city forever on a fascinating walking tour through York's cobbled streets and Georgian avenues. Hear the stories of trade, medieval guilds, royalty and religion, fraud and poverty, and find out how the Lord Mayors of York have shaped the city over the past 800 years. The walk, entitled 'Exploring York', will take place on 28 and 29 January at 11am and 2pm (meet at St Helen's Square). Tickets must be pre-booked through 07981 242764 or by emailing .
  • The whole family can visit the Old Palace at Deans Park, the home of York Minster's Historic Collections, on Saturday 28 January at 10am and make their very own charter to take home. You can decide your own rules, design a seal and decorate your charter with illuminated letters which will then be witnessed and authorised. Pre-booking is essential for this event, due to limited availability. Book at the Minster Box Office or call 0844 939 0015.
  • A History of Civic York : 1212 to the Present Day, at York Explore Centre on 29 January from 1 pm, will feature 30 minute lectures given by Dr Sarah Rees Jones (medieval York);  Hugh Murray (the lives of York's Victorian Lord Mayors buried in York Cemetery); and Dr Kathrine Webb (the modern governance of York).  The event will be free to York Card holders, or tickets will be £6 to others, available from York Explore. Contact 01904 552828 or

Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council's Cabinet member for leisure, culture and social inclusion, said:

"After months of planning, it's a real delight to see the first York 800 events starting to take place this weekend.  We're still open to hearing about other events that people would like to add to the York 800 programme, and ideas can be emailed on
I would also encourage people to look at the full programme of events on and start booking dates in their diaries."

These events mark the beginning of York 800. A plethora of celebratory events has been planned throughout the year including a weekend of activities around the anniversary date - Monday 9 July- which will include a flotilla of hundreds of boats on the River Ouse and Ebor Vox, when choirs and singing groups from all over the city will come together to perform specially commissioned works.
For more information about York Residents Festival and to find out how you can access discounts and free activities with your York Card visit

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