George Inn / Leak & Thorp

With the coming of the railways to York in the early 19th century business at the Inn struggled.  The Inn was sold in 1855 in 6 lots; 5 of these lots went to Messrs Leak and Thorp who opened their famous department store in 1869. In the coming decades they demolished the mediaeval Inn and built a custom designed building to display their wares.

A huge fire burnt down the premises of Leak and Thorp in 1933 which reduced the building to ruins. The fire burnt all night, and a million gallons of water was poured on the building by firefighters. It was reported that the inferno was seen as far away as Leeds.

The store was rebuilt in about 18 months, opening again in September 1934. In 1969 a new top floor was added, making it the tallest building on Coney Street. This floor included a restaurant called the Norseman, which seated 160 diners.

Leak and Thorp closed in 1987 - 118 years after it first opened on Coney Street.