Small, single celled building with an ornate entrance elevation. Thought to have been built after 1838 as a mortuary for a worker's mutual society serving the mill workers of New York flax mill and others of the local community.
Reason for Listing
* Architecture: particularly for its western elevation featuring an unusually designed pediment and high quality stonework; * Social history: as a structure built for a workers' mutual benefit society.
Francis Thorpe, the owner of New York flax mill, developed a welfare system for his workers: financially supporting a scheme providing free medical treatment; running a clothing club (buying clothing and other textiles at wholesale prices and selling them on to his staff at cost price); and paying school fees of children who worked part time at the mill. In New York there were also two mutual benefit societies which Thorpe is thought to have helped to establish (although they were open to the whole community and were not funded by his firm). These societies were a Cow Club and the Burial Club. The latter, established in 1838, provided a death benefit of £5 to its members whose 480 members were aged between one and forty-five years, paying an average annual contribution of 1 shilling 3.5 pence. The building is thought to be a mortuary, paid for by the club to provide a place to store the recently deceased prior to burial. It is not known when this use ceased, but it may have become disused after 1883 when New York Mill closed.
Mortuary, mid-C19 for the New York Burial Club.MATERIALS: pecked-tooled sandstone ashlar.PLAN: small, single celled building that is built into a bank. EXTERIOR: only the western elevation is fully exposed, the remaining sides being mainly subterranean. The west elevation is architecturally treated with an ornate triangular pediment which is embellished with a central roundel framing a quatrefoil opening. Projecting from the upper face of the pediment are six evenly spaced blocks (three to each side) which give the appearance of being merlons of a gabled, crenulated parapet, the upper surfaces of the merlons being parallel to the upper face of the pediment. Centrally placed below the pediment is the building's only doorway. This has finely tooled and rebated monolithic lintel and jambs, but has lost its door. The building's remaining three sides are mainly buried beneath the ground surface, with a single, small window opening at eaves level on both sides (that to the north now buried) and a plain coped gable end to the east. The roof is of modern softwood boards covered in roofing felt. INTERIOR: the walls are plastered and lime-washed except for some scaring at the eastern end marking the position of a former bench or coffin rest. There is a small rectangular alcove or cupboard placed roughly centrally to each of the three walls not containing the doorway. There is no ceiling, but it is not clear if this has been lost or if the interior was always open to the roof.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.