To help reduce costs the York was built to be well under the 10,000 ton treaty limit but be better than the Country class series. The York was designed by Sir William Berry.
In December 1925 a design for the York was approved. Originally it was to carry two aircraft with two catapults but during construction it was changed to just one.
There were to be three funnels but the forward funnel was made larger and only two installed.
The York was ordered in 1927 under the 1926 Program.
There was a single catapult for launching aircraft. When built it was a fixed catapult.
The bridge was built higher as it was planned to put a catapult on the B turret, but when it was realized that the catapult wouldn't allow for the proper operation of the turret it was scrapped but the higher bridge remained.