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About Us

York Gate Archive

York Gate Archive is a collection of records including photographs, letters, written materials and other items documenting the lives of Frederick, Sybil and Robin Spencer, and the development of the garden that they created at York Gate between 1951 and 1994.

A National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to Perennial, the charity which owns and manages York Gate, has led to a volunteer-led community project to research the history of the garden, and to make that information accessible to researchers and the wider community. As part of this project the materials in the York Gate Archive are being catalogued and conserved. If you'd like to see the archive catalogue please contact us at yorkgateheritage@perennial.org.uk 

Meryl Gillian and York Gate Archive

York Gate Digital Archive

Items in the archive are in the process of being digitised in order to help preserve the original materials, and to make them easily accessible. This searchable digital archive is made up of low resolution versions of the images which we hold. Should you wish to see higher resolution versions, or the original materials for research purposes, please get in touch with us (yorkgateheritage@perennial.org.uk).

Fran and Roger    Fran scanning slides    Roger in the Library    Jocelyn in York Gate Library

Searching the Digital Archive

Items in the archive have been sorted into Collections according to their subject matter. Clicking on a collection name will show a list of all the items in that collection. Clicking on the title of an item will lead to a page showing a larger version of the item, a description and other associated data. Clicking on the item in this page will open it in full screen.

Owing to the nature of the material in the archive, there can be considerable overlap of subject matter between collections. However all items have been tagged according to their major features, and you may find the Browse by Tag feature helpful in locating items of interest.

Alternatively you can search for features which may not have been tagged by using the Search box at the top of the screen.

Copyright and Licensing

This archive contains low resolution images for research and information only. The majority of the items in the York Gate Archive have been in the possession of the Spencer family for many years.  Every effort has been made to identify and credit the copyright owners of images in the archive. If you believe you are a rights holder and are not credited then please contact us at the email address below. For those items where the copyright owner is unknown to us, we are very grateful for their work, and if you can identify them we’d love to hear from you. We’d also like to hear about any additional information you might have about places and people depicted in the photographs

If you wish to license any items for commercial or publication purposes please contact us (yorkgateheritage@perennial.org.uk).


This digital archive is being created by Jocelyn Baldwin, Fran Hayes and Roger Lazenby. York Gate Archive is being conserved and catalogued by Meryl Auty and Gillian Smith.

We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for financial support for creating this archive. H Gregg (The After Alice Project) and Frank Woolrych (Pennine Horizons Digital Archive) both provided not only inspiration but also practical advice without which we would never have had the courage to start this project. We also thank West Yorkshire Archive Service for providing valuable training. York Gate staff and Heritage Project volunteers have given valuable encouragement, whilst Val Crompton's book 'Heritage of York Gate' has been a very useful source of information. We are also indebted to Perennial for support.