National Centre for Early Music

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NCEM History

The National Centre for Early Music is situated adjacent to St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York. Founded in the 11th century, the church was substantially rebuilt in the Middle Ages, in the 17th century following the English Civic War, and by the Victorians, before falling into disuse in the 1960s. The church is of considerable architectural significance - its most distinguishing features being an ornate Romanesque porch from the 12th century, with carvings of mythological beasts - and an unusual brick bell tower. Details of the history of St Margaret's Church  are available.

Grade-One listed,  the building was held in trust by the York Civic Trust, until 1997 when the York Early Music Foundation secured a grant of 1.5 million from the Arts Council Lottery Fund, alongside partnership monies from a variety of sources, in order to create the award winning National Centre for Early Music.
The relatively short time-scale between acquiring the monies, and opening the doors in April 2000 is a shining tribute to the individuals and organisations involved, who were determined to take this lovely, but sadly neglected church, and turn it into a centre of excellence for the arts. The project was led by NCEM Director Delma Tomlin working with a dedicated group of trustees Mike Taylor; Dick Stanley, Roger McMeeking, inspired by John Marvin.
Project partners:
Arts Council
English Heritage
Garfield Weston Foundation
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
City of York Council
York Civic Trust
Foundation for Sport and the Arts
Noel G. Terry Charitable Trust
Pilgrim Trust
Shepherd Charitable Trust
Donald & Patricia Shepherd Trust
Raymond Montague Burton Charitable Trust
Manifold Trust
Laing's Charitable Trust
N. Smith Charitable Trust
Idlewild Trust
Vaux Group Foundation
Alan Evans Memorial Trust
Wolfson Foundation
Yorventure Community Trust
Norman Collinson Charitable Trust
Normanby Charitable Trust
ABSA Built Heritage Awards
RSA Art for Achitecture Award
Design and construction partners:
van Heyningen & Haward - Architects
Gardiner & Theobald Management - Project Services
Martin Stancliffe Architects - Consultant Architect
Rex Procter & Partners - Quantity Surveyors
Price & Myers - Structural Engineers
Max Fordham & Partners - Mechanical & Electrical Services
Arup Acoustics - Acoustic Consultants
Livingston Eyre Associates - Landscape Architects
Simpson (York) Ltd - Main Contractor
Bovis Program Management - ACE Project Manager
York Archaeological Trust -  Archaeological Excavation
GTPS - Planning Supervisor
Centre for Accessible Environments  Access Consultants
Gerriets Great Britain Ltd - Acoustic Supplier
Kvadrat Ltd - Acoustic Supplier
Triple E Ltd - Acoustic Supplier
Hanna Conservation - Sculpture/Conservation
Portland Planning Consultants Ltd - Planning Consultants
Burrow Davies - Stone sub-contractor
Barley Studios - Church Glazing
To read more about the rescue of the church and its conversion into the National Centre for Early Music click on the PDF below.

NCEM Site Development History.pdf