Fairfax House is regarded as one of the finest Georgian townhouses in England.
A classical architectural masterpiece, it was originally the winter home of Viscount Fairfax and his daughter Anne. Its richly decorated interiors and magnificent stucco ceilings were designed by York's most distinguished 18th-century architect, John Carr, who was commissioned by the Viscount to create a place where he and his Anne could enjoy the bleak months in comfort and grandeur. During the 1760s Fairfax House hosted many glittering engagements of 'polite society'.
In the 20th century the house was re-purposed as a cinema and dance hall, until York Civic Trust took ownership of the building in the 1980s and restored to its former glory. Today visitors are transported back to the Georgian era, the house reflecting the tastes and fashions of the day – not just in architecture and decoration – but also food and furnishings.
When Noel Terry (of the Terry's chocolate factory) died in 1980, his collection of Georgian furniture, clocks, paintings and decorative arts – described by Christie’s as one of the finest private collections of the 20th century – was donated to the house and is on display throughout.