Wednesday, 30 November 2011

March and Rally in York

Union banners outside York Minster earlier this afternoon. Public sector workers in the UK are on strike today, many for the first time in their working lives, in protest at the government proposals to alter pension provision. The government intends to increase the retirement age to 68, increase the contributions paid by public sector workers into their pension, and reduce the amount eventually paid out.

Todays protest is aimed at getting the government to talk to unions to help reach a negotiated settlement rather than just issue an ultimatum.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Umbrella’s story?

I have walked past this discarded umbrella for the last 6 months at least and wondered who it might have belonged to.  No one seems to want to claim it, or even to dispose of it. If it had been my umbrella I would have been rather sad to lose it as it looks like it would have brightened up a rainy day.

Monday, 28 November 2011

St Mary-in-the-Mist

The Vale of York is rather fog prone at this time of year. Here is a recent picture of the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey looking positively Gothic in the November mist.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Reminder of Summer

A steam train runs between Scarborough and York during the summer months. It stops to take on water here at Bootham Park Hospital as York Station does not have the ability to service steam trains any more. In the late 19th century the resident engineer for the Scarborough line was one Alfred Dickens, he was often visited in York by his elder brother Charles.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

King's Manor Courtyard

Although much of this area of the building belongs to the 1560s the exterior staircase was built in the 1920s to replace a much earlier one. The doorway at the top of the stairs is surmounted by the arms of Charles I (1625-49) who stayed here in 1633 and 1639.
Built originally (c1280) as a residence for the Abbot of St Mary's Abbey, and given its new name after the Reformation. The buildings have been used as residences, a school, and currently by the University of York.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Micklegate in Autumn

This is a view of one of the imposing houses on Micklegate as seen from the churchyard of Holy Trinity. The street name derives from the Old English word mickle meaning ‘great’. For hundreds of years this was the main street into the city from London. It was the wealthiest area of the city and the home of many markets and traders. The butter market for the north of England was held here from around 1662, and the butter standard was only finally removed in 1828.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

William Etty

This statue of York’s most famous artist stands outside York Art Gallery. William Etty was born in York on March 10th 1787, and died here in October 1849.  Although he painted landscapes and portraits he was chiefly known as a painter of nudes, which led to him being criticised in the press for indecency.  He was financially successful in his lifetime, and was made an associate of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1824, defeating John Constable by 18 votes to five.

His statue looks towards Bootham Bar (the three tiny figures on the left sit on top of the bar) which he helped to save from demolition, and also towards York Minster which he described as “so lovely to mine eyes, so dear to my heart, captivating to my imagination”

There is a major exhibition of his work on at York Art Gallery at present, more information at

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Autumn Swansong

This strikingly coloured Mountain Ash is growing in a boarded up courtyard, formerly part of York Hospital nurses homes. The area is scheduled for redevelopment and I suspect, although I hope I am wrong, that this may be the final autumn for this lovely tree.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Fish out of Water

Well the fish forms part of this double sided drinking fountain which is a Grade II listed monument. Dating from 1880 it is made of sandstone with granite columns and bowl topped by a stone flag roof. There is a lion mask waterspout (on the reverse, it seems to have gone from this side) and a gabled canopy with carp and fish-tail finials. This side of the fountain, with St Peter's keys on the heraldic shield, faces into the Museum Gardens. It no longer works.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Fishy Tale

This rather fierce looking fish can be found on Museum Street. Any thoughts about what type of structure it might be attached too? Answer in tomorows post.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Cleaning the Guttering

Walking past the Shambles early one recent morning I came across a team of workmen clearing out the drain pipes on one of the houses. Set me thinking about what they used to do before they had such modern technology to assist them. Sent a small child scampering across the roof tops with a long pole I expect.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tobacco Shop Indian

This colourful figure was located outside a York tobacconist for many years. Since tobacco originated from America a representation of an American Indian was used to indicate the location of such a shop in the days when not all customers could read. The feathers in his headdress and skirt symbolise the tobacco leaves.

I can remember when he used to stand on the pavement holding onto the reins of his horse, who breathed smoke out through it's nostrils! Sadly the horse went missing many years ago. To prevent him meeting the same fate he now stands alone high up on a plinth outside a shop in Low Petergate.

Friday, 18 November 2011

York Minster - Autumn View

The title “Minster” is attributed to churches established in the Anglo Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, and is now an honorific title. The first recorded church on this site was in AD 627, although the Romans may have found a Christian church already here in AD 71, the current cathedral was consecrated in 1472.

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York or The Minster, as it is known locally, holds a special place in the heart of many York born people, whether they are practicing Christians or not. I suspect it has always been thus. Seen here from the city walls on a fine autumn day it is not hard to see why.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Continental Market

There are often temporary market stalls set up in Parliament Street for special occasions. This stall had two huge pans of delicious smelling paella cooking away. The stall was decorated with coloured rugs which helped to brighten up the rather basic looking surroundings.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Longevity genes

In an age when the average lifespan was 40 years or less these two ladies must have been remarkable indeed. Their memorial can still be seen in St Helen’s Church.

Their affectionate nephew was an apothecary who practiced in Blake Street and was Lord Mayor of York in 1796.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Blue Bicycle - No 2

Well no one would steal this old wreck but it does get the message across. In a city with so many bikes I suppose it is inevitable that bike theft becomes an issue. This reminds me of one of those puzzles where you have to spot how many things are wrong in a picture, no saddle, no chain, no brakes .................................

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Lost Legion – Legio IX Hispania

This tile is one of several found in York to bear the mark of the Roman Ninth Legion.  Around 71 AD the legion helped build the Roman fortress of Eboracum, however early in the second century the Legion vanishes from the historical record. There is a lot of speculation about the cause including a massive defeat in Scotland or possibly, after a strategic transfer, in the Middle East. Either way it has given rise to numerous books and films. This tile is on display in the Yorkshire Museum.
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