Red Tower is the only section of the city walls which was built in brick, hence the name. The tower was built in 1490 in an area of a break in the city walls, in a site which was formerly marshland.
The different style of building stone was noted however and the city masons were unhappy that tiles were being used and the city had to protect the tilers from the masons. However in 1491 the tiler John Patrik was murdered by William Hindley and Christopher Homer. A ditch was later dug around the tower in 1645, which has long since been filled in.
The Red Tower, which had also become known as Brimstone House, had become derelict by the mid nineteenth century, the roof had disappeared and some of the walls had started to collapse. There were threats of demolition in 1855 and the Board of Health Committee said that demolition would improve health by opening up the area.
Demolition was however opposed, the York Antiquarian Society campaigned against the loss of the building and the local press reported that demolition risked, “our venerable remnants of bygone ages will be swept away” and “public opinion is decidedly against any wholesale destruction”. The campaign to avoid destruction was successful, and in 1857 the Red Tower was restored. In the 1880s a playground was built next to the Red Tower.