Duncombe Place was created between 1859 and 1864 at the suggestion of the Dean, Augustus William Duncombe who had become the Dean of York Minster in June 1858. The aim of building the road was to create a clear and open space in front of the Minster, so that there was a wide roadway to enhance the approach for visitors.
To build Duncombe Place it was necessary to build a wider road on top of the old street, Lop Lane, and to demolish all of the properties on one side of the street. Properties on the other side were maintained, and are still present today.
A number of properties were built in the street, although in July 1866 there was an explosion caused by gas in one of the three new homes built by the Dean and Chapter.
St. Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Church (designed by George Goldie), with its large tower, was built on Duncombe Place from 1864 until 1869 after initial plans were delayed in the 1840s.
The Boer War Memorial is situated in a small park off Duncombe Place, which was unveiled in August 1905 to mark those men from the city who had died fighting in the 1899 to 1902 Second Boer War. The eighteenth century town house of Red House is also off Duncombe Place, now home to an antiques centre which is open to the public seven days a week. York Dispensary was also built off the Place in 1899 and was used until closed by the newly formed National Health Service in 1949.