Monday, 31 March 2008

Dick Turpin - Fact or Fiction

Is Dick Turpin fact or fiction? He really did exist but a lot of fiction has grown up around him. His final resting place is St George's Churchyard in the Walmgate area of the City of York. For more detailed facts visit the Wikipedia article on him.

To find his grave the easiest approach is via Piccadily and then turn into Lead Mill Lane and then turn left into George Street. The church yard is opposite the church bounded by a hedge. Entrance is through a rusty gate set in the hedge on George Street facing the church. Alternatively approach down Walmgate and turn into George Street following it round the bend until you are by the church and opposite the church yard across the road.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Hungate Outdoor Art

This seems a smart idea to me to reduce the likelihood of getting graffiti on these hoardings on the Hungate development site. The council have organised for school youngsters to create this outdoor art. It reserves the space and taggers seem to respect that somebody elses work is there. Or maybe it is just that this part of Hungate is a bit off the beaten track.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Flowering Cherry Tree - Merchant Taylors Hall

Two shots of the same tree taken within days of each other. It doesn't do to wonder if spring is here just because the cherry trees are in flower, as soon as you do it starts to sno!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Doors Within The Walls 7 - Black Swan Peaseholme Green

The Black Swan door has a solid oak look to it and of course is open most of the time during the day until closing time. A popular non-mainstream music venue with Jazz and Folk evenings the Black Swan is a .

There is currently some controversy about the planned council offices that are planned to be erected next door to it. Many are describing the proposed building as a monstrosity. Even Coun Brian Watson, who will become York's next Lord Mayor in May has joined the fray describing the planned offices in the same terms. About the only councillor heard defending is the present Mayor Coun. Steve Galloway. My own view is that if the artists impression looks as bad as it does then the actual building will be hideous and be a contender for Stonebows House's crown as the Ugliest Building in York. The city of York deserves better than this.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Lady Anne Middleton's Hotel - Skeldergate

Lady Anne Middleton's Hotel is set in Skeldergate and is named after the wife of Peter Middleton one time sherrif of York. The main Skeldergate house was built in 1659. Other parts of the hotel include a former sawmill and an organ factory.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Joseph Terry Cottage - Skeldergate

This neat little cottage standing in the grounds of the Lady Anne Middleton Hotel in Skeldergate is known as the Sir Joseph Terry Cottage. Sir Joseph Terry was the grandson of the founder of Terry's chocolate factory, sadly closed down and no longer providing employment in York.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Easter Sunday Snow - Foss Islands Bridge

After an extremely mild winter here in York we have had a few days with snow. On Sunday morning, early, there was enough snow to make a covering of a few inches, or about 10 cms for those of you that are metricated. This was the scene at the little blue bridge over the River Foss that used to provide access to the cooling tower of the York electric generating station.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Doors within the walls 6 - 31 Skeldergate

This door is located at the Skeldergate Bridge end of Skelderagte opposite the Bonding Warehouse.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter Snow

I got up early this morning to get some phots of the snow. This is the gasometer at Layerthorpe and this one of the ice house near Monk Bar reminds me of a Christmas pudding!

The daffodils on the city walls came out about a week ago heralding the arrival of spring and now look a little forlorn standing in the snow.

Clock - Spurriergate centre

York is blessed with a number of interesting clocks. This one on the wall of the former St Michael church now known as the Spurriergate Centre was installed by the York clock experts Newey and Son in 1896. For a more complete history of the centre visit the history page of the Spurriergate Centre website.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Sir Joseph Terry - Skeldergate

This plaque commemorating Sir Joseph terry of the chocolate firm in York and grandson of the founder. Sir Joseph Terry was Lord Mayor of York four times. The plaque is located on the end of the Sir Joseph Terry Cottage in Skeldergate. As Skeldergate may be a little off the beaten track for some tourists I have included a map below.

View Larger Map

Friday, 21 March 2008

Millenium Footbridge

The Millenium footbridge, lilke most Millenium projects completed after the 2000, some will argue yes that is correct as the Millenium did not really start until 2001. The bridge cost GBP4.2 million and was funded as a Millenium Project. The bridge is a pedestrtian and bicycle bridge and for those that are into construction details and information like who designed it and who the main contractors on the project were visit "structurae" website.

For those that are interested in looking at it there are several approaches, the most scenic is to walk along either riverbank from Skeldergate Bridge following the flow of the river downstream, depending on which side of the river you take you will either go via Blue Bridge or pass the Caravan site and Rowntree Park. Other approaches would be from the A19 Fulford Road down Hospital Fields Road or Maple Grove, from the South side the approach would be via Bishopthorpe Road and Butcher Terrace.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Cliffords Tower

Cliffords Tower derives the name from Roger de Clifford, who was hanged there in 1322. One of York's darker moments of history was when the wooden keep of the Castle on this spot was burned down during a siege during which the Jewish community of the city had taken refuge. Survivors of the fire left their refuge the following day, only to be massacred by the besiegers.
This spring photograph showing daffodils growing on the slopes contrasts dramatically with that dark history.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Habitat - Coppergate end

I suppose I could have an alternative title for this blog of "Lift your eyes above the ground floor" and this of course would be a prime example. Boring Habitat shop on the ground floor but wonderful Victorian architecture above. Notice how the decoration above the arched window on the first floor swells into the base of the bay window and the arch window motif is repeated again with two small arched windows in the attic. The red brick of the second floor contrasts nicely with the stone facing of the first floor and the building corners.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Foss Barrier and Pumping Station

The barrier is part of the flood defences created after the severe floods of 1982. The River Ouse is fed by the Rivers Ure, Swale and Nidd draining the Yorkshire Dales and often used to cause a back flow along the low lying River Foss flooding areas of York like Foss Islands and Huntington Road bordering the river. To prevent the back flow along the Foss the barrier was constructed and is lowered when the level of water at the barrier reaches 7.8 metres. The weight of the barrier is sixteen and a half tonnes. To prevent the water in the River Foss Backing up on itself the water is pumped from the Foss into the River Ouse. During the severe floods of Autumn 2000 the barrier was in place for 18 days and the pumps were used continuously for ten days at a power consumption cost of £20,000.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Blue Bridge

Built in 1895, Blue Bridge replaced the previous bridge built in 1738. The bridge stands at the mouth of the River Foss where it joins the River Ouse. Note two fishermen sitting at the side of the Foss. The bridge is located just beyond the Foss barrier and pumping station.

There is gear for lifting the bridge but I don't know if it has been used in the recent past. The paint on the teeth looks far too pristine to me.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Skeldergate Bridge

A spring day and the River Ouse is a peaty brown and reasonably full without bursting the banks. You can see water marks on the bridge towers from previous high levels. The River Ouse is the confluence of several rivers including the The Swale, The Ure, The Nidd and the much smaller Kyle. Just below Skeldergate Bridge it is also joined by The Foss.

The bridge standing on the site of a former ferry was designed by Thomas Page, who also designed Westminster bridge in London building took place in the 1880s and included a mechanism for the bridge to be raised for ships. It was last raised in 1975.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Ghost Walks

Doing one of the ghost walks when visiting York is one of the most popular activities in the city. There are several ghost walks and several ghost related entertainments. The board shown in the photograph is for

The Ghost Hunt of York

7.30 pm from the Shambles – no need to book. Your guide will take you through some of the alleyways and tell you ghostly stories along the way. Tel: 01904 608700, website:

Other tours include

Original Ghost Walk of York

8 pm from the King’s Arms Pub, Ouse Bridge – no need to book. Tel: 01904 764222,

Ghost Trail of York

7.30 pm every evening from Minster entrance (West End) – no need to book. Tel: 01904 633276,

The Haunted Walk of York

8 pm from Exhibition Square (in front of the Art Gallery) – no need to book. Tel: 01904 621003.

The Ghost Detective of York

7.30pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November to March, outside Jorvik Viking Centre Tel: 07947 325239,

Also Ghost related is

Molly’s Ghost Stories

Molly Micklethwaite who performs a tour comprising of bawdy humour and dark gothic drama is also available for private hire. Tel 07734 155200.

There are several Haunted Pubs in York

The Black Swan – Peaseholme Green Tel: 01904 686911
The Old Starre Inn – 40 Stonegate Tel: 01904 623063
The Cock and Bottle – 61 Skeldergate Tel: 01904 654165
The Snickleway Inn – 47 Goodramgate Tel: 01904 656138
York Arms – 26 High Petergate Tel: 01904 624508
The Roman Bath – St Sampson’s Square Tel: 01904 620455

Haunted places to stay
The Golden Fleece Inn – Pavement Tel: 01904 625 171

The Black Swan – Peasholme Green Tel: 01904 686911, email: website:

The Old White Swan – Goodramgate Tel: 01904 540911

Dean Court Hotel – Duncombe Place Tel: 01904 625082, email: website:

For more details on things Ghostly for tourists visit the York Tourism ghost page.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Doors within the walls 5 - St. Sampsons Over 60s

I was in town early the other morning and happened to catch the Over 60s centre before it was opened and noticed the rather splendidly decorated door. The arch above the door is interesting the way it ends in two square blocks. No doubt I'll find out names for them in the online Proberts Encyclopedia I;m working through at the moment.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Doors within the walls 4 - 22 St. Saviorgate

St. Saviourgate is rich in interesting architecture and has some wonderful doors in the Georgian Terraces. I wish I knew more architectural terminology so that I could be more descriptive about the architecture. I have been looking at the online Probert Encyclopedia which has a complete section devoted to architectural terminology and there is a lot to it.

Points I think are of interest for this address are the foot scraper hole at the bottom left where the metalwork scraper is missing, the glass lights above the door divided into three panes, the concave depression on the vertical capitals framing the door and the decoration on the archtrave picked out in gold.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Pavement - Another Timbered Building

Yet another example of what I am always advising in York; look at the levels above ground floor to see the most interesting parts of buildings. The Manpower offices above BETFRED are much more interesting than the shop front of the betting shop.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Doors within the walls 3 - Mansion House

This is probably one of the grandest doors in York. The Mansion House is the residnce of the York Mayor when he is in office and can be found at the top of Coney Street overlooking St. Helens Square.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Timber Frame Building - Pavement

I think this building is amazing the way the floor levels curl upwards looking like a smile. It is situated opposite the rear entrance to Marks & Spencer in Pavement.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Lady Hewley Almshouses - St. Saviourgate

This building stands out in St. Saviourgate as being radically different to the rest of the street. See the photograph below for detail of the plaque on the wall describing the founder. Click on the photograph for a closer view of the inscription. In the Picasa web album there is also a magnifier to look at details more closely.

Lady Hewley was a benefactor of the Unitarian Chapel that stands in St. Saviourgate.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Doors Within The Walls 2 - 20 St. Andrewgate

Just a little way from the side entrance of Barnitts along St. Andrewgate is this magnificent door that I just could not resist taking a photo of.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Barnitts Side Entrance

This side entrance into Barnitts located in St. Andrewgate leads into the garden department of the store. This part of the building used to be the Territorial Army drill hall and bears the motto "Pro Aris et Focis" often used by the military, which literally translates as "for our alters and hearths". Like all Latin translations this in turn translates as "for God and country". The alters and hearths is maybe fitting for the current use as a hardware store. I think the doorway probably rates as one of the finest within the city walls and I hope that Barnitts will take good care of it.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Bracket Clock - Blake Street

This clock hangs above an employment agency in Blake Street opposite the Assembly Rooms. The word HOUSE on the face of the clock refers to the previous occupants of the building; House & Sons an electrical retailer and repairer. The Mediaeval timber framed origins of the building are well disguised with a brick facade having been added during Georgian times. House and Sons started in Stonegate in 1903 and moved into Blake Street in 1924. They also had a shop in Goodramgate with premises that ran back into Ogleforth where their registered office was at number 4. The business closed in autumn of 2004 as competition in the electrical business became cut-throat and margins declined.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Exhibition Square - Statue William Etty

In front of the Art Gallery in Exhibition Square stands the statue of William Etty a local Victorian artist 1787-1849 . Etty was the son of a baker and showed early promise and was sent by a wealthy uncle to the Royal Academy Schools in London in 1806. Titian was his favourite artist and some echos can be found in his work.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Newey Clock - De Grey Rooms

Around York can be found several examples of bracket clocks. This one was built the York clockmaker Newey and can be found on the wall of the De Grey Rooms in Exhibition Square.

Other Newey clock s in York I have blogged about.

George Hudson Street

Little Admiral Clock -Coney Street, St Martin Le Grand

Monday, 3 March 2008

Doors Within the Walls 1 - 33 St Saviourgate

In York you can find many interesting doors and from time to time I plan to include a picture of a door on this blog. The first one is from St Saviourgate where both sides of the street have interesting Georgian terraces. This is number 33 St Saviourgate where only the two little roundals on the vertical pillars have been picked out in gold. Others in the street have more of the ornamentation picked out in gold or a contrasting colour.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Peaseholme House - St. Saviour Place

Thought to have been designed by the York Architect John Carr, Peaseholme House was built in 1752. York Civic Trust restored the house in 1975 during European Architectural Heritage Year. The house is situated on St. Saviours Place next to Woolpack House within view of the Black Swan Inn in Peaseholme Green.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Is Spring Coming?

1 March 2008 and this ornamental cherry tree is in flower in Stonebow. These trees are probably the nicest feature of Stonebow which has little else to commend it with the ugly Stonebow House dominating the scene on the other side of the road with the string of bus stops that sometimes make navigatingthe footpath a difficult undertaking as people queuing for buses clog the pathway.