Thursday, 31 May 2012

New Owner for Theatre

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre was built by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust in 1935. It seats around 450 and was designed to bring affordable entertainment to the citizens of York. It is still used as a performance venue by upwards of 30 local art groups and entertainers, and is staffed entirely by local volunteers. It is close to the site of the Rowntree chocolate factory and since this was taken over by Nestle UK they have owned (and supported) the theatre.
Last month ownership of this Art Deco beauty passed to York St John University. There is a covenant on the building which means it must continue to be used as a theatre, and as it has been recently refurbished I look forward to my next visit.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Curious Window

This stained glass window is in a building down a ginnel a stones throw from the Minster glaziers workshops. I wonder if it was made by one of the glaziers in their spare time? The red lion is standing in front of a representation of one of the Bars or gateways in the city walls. I think it is most likely Monk Bar, and one day if I have the patience to decipher the 'back to front' writing or I get to go inside this building I might find out what it is all about!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Thomas Wilkinson VC

This is the grave of Bombardier Thomas Wilkinson VC, Royal Marines Artillery. He served during the Crimean War, and on 7th June 1855 at the Battle of Sebastopol Bombardier Wilkinson was especially recommended for gallant conduct in the advanced Batteries in placing sandbags to repair the damage under a galling fire; his name having been sent up on the occasion as worthy of special notice by the Commanding Officer of the Artillery of the Right Attack. (Letter from Colonel Wesley, Deputy Adjutant General, Royal Marines.) 
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of Commonwealth countries. The first investiture of the Victoria Cross took place in Hyde Park, London on Friday 26th June 1857. Thomas Wilkinson was at this investiture and was only the 14th ever war veteran to be awarded this medal. The VC was pinned to his uniform coat by Queen Victoria herself.
He was later a Sergeant Instructor for Auxiliary Forces and was eventually invalided from the Royal Marines Artillery on 12th October 1859. As well as the VC, he also received the French Legion of Honour, the Turkish Crimea Medal and the British Crimea Medal with clasps for Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol.
He died aged 55, in York on 22nd September 1887 where he was buried with full military honours in York cemetery. 
Taking part in Tapohpile Tragics

Monday, 28 May 2012

Simple Poppy

I was sat on my favourite bench in the Museum Gardens enjoying the arrival of warm summer weather when I noticed this sunlit poppy. There are many other colourful flowers competing for attention in the Gardens just now, but this little poppy was the star performer.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Wooden clad walkway

This relatively new building is part of York St John University on Lord Mayors Walk. The overall effect created by the mix of wood and brick is pleasing, but that random wooden cladding always looks unfinished to me!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Railway Tiles

This is a portion of a tiled map of the railways around York circa 1900, the brown lines represent railway lines. Many of the lines depicted here were closed by the infamous Dr Beeching who axed 2128 railway stations in the 1960s. The map also shows areas of local interest, such as the civil war battlefields at Marston Moor and Towton, and the battle of 1066 at Stamford Bridge between Harold Godwinson (home team) and Harold Hardrada (away team).

Friday, 25 May 2012

Jet Trails

Somehow those white jet trails on a blue sky seemed to pair up nicely with the blue and white gables of these terraced houses.
See more sky shots at Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Goose Step

Things to do in York on a day out - take the family for a walk alongside the River Ouse

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cycle Track Stencil

This is part of the York orbital cycle pathway. There is some fairly heavy duty industrial looking sculpture along the pathway, much of it painted bright blue. Not sure if the stencil was there originally but it certainly looks the part, and I love the way it looks as if he is about to cycle along the blue pipe.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Keyhole Coffin

This memorial is in the older section of York cemetery, and poses more questions than answers. Why  does this stone sepulchre not have any name inscribed on it? How long has it been here? Why has it been designed as a stone casket? Why on earth does it have a keyhole? Is there a large stone key somewhere? What would happen if someone put the key in the lock?

Well the last two questions are tongue in cheek, but I do wonder about that keyhole. So far my enquiries have drawn a blank but I shall continue my quest for the answer. Any thoughts?

Taking part in Taphophile Tragics

Monday, 21 May 2012

Minster Mosaic

This is a portion of the centre of the beautiful Minton tiled floor in York Minster Chapter House. The tiling dates from around 1845 with the blue tile showing crossed keys as York Minster is dedicated to St Peter.
More yellow posts here at  MellowYellowBadge

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Portable Garden?

This houseboat has been pressed into service to transport a number of picnic tables and chairs for someone up the River Ouse. Either that or this young couple are expecting to entertain a large group of friends at their next mooring!
In the background are some of the old warehouses, now used as riverside apartments, and the HQ of the York Sea Cadets.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Portable Font

York Minster has two fonts, one is a huge old stone affair but the other is this rather fine modern wood and metal portable font. Font is derived from the Latin fons meaning spring of water. Usually this is parked up in a quiet corner of the Minster and covered with a lid bearing the words We are little fishes in Christ our great fish.
Around Easter time it is filled with water and pressed into service. I came across it stood in the Nave next to a floral and candle display. The greenery is a sprig of Rosemary.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Rookery Nook

The Rookery was a very busy spot this week with birds constantly flying in and out with nesting material. There was also a lot of noise with the birds calling out to one another. They seemed undisturbed by the five-a-side football tournament taking place practically underneath them!
Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 17 May 2012

What's in a Name?

I wonder if the people standing on the round circular building jutting out from the city walls are aware of the name of this particular tower? It is called the Bitch Daughter (I know!) Tower and has seen varied use over the years including time as a prison and a cowshed. It used to be much higher but the stone was removed to repair nearby Ouse Bridge in the mid 16th century. It was used as a guardhouse during the siege of York in 1645 and it still has the remains of a fireplace inside. Sadly the origin of the name is now long forgotten.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Anyone home?

I spotted this black cat waiting patiently to be let inside early one morning, presumably after a night out on the tiles. I got one quick shot before she noticed me and trotted over to be made a fuss of.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An early demise

Some grave markers have a meaning implicit in the structure chosen for them. A broken column like this often means a life cut short, or possibly the death of a significant member of the household or an organisation. This column is a monument to William Napier a solicitor who died in 1842 at the age of 33. It has a typically effusive inscription for a Victorian monument some of which I have transcribed below.
'Stranger, dost ask what noble heraldry,
What rank the subject of this tablet bore?
Pure faith, meek hope, and noiseless charity,
These were the arms his sacred scrutcion wore'
There is much more in the same vein praising the amount he achieved in his short life and finishing with
'and still his virtues shed a sweet perfume,
of grace divine around his early tomb'
It is a striking monument still, over 100 years later, of a man clearly much admired and missed by his contempories.
Taking part in Taphophile Tragics

Monday, 14 May 2012

Minster Library

I visited the Minster Library recently which is situated in the old Archbishops Palace. It houses the Minster's collection of printed works the earliest of which are pre 1501. Much of the material is theological in nature but it also has early music scripts, herbals, and a series of fascinating letters from the Venetian ambassador to the UK.
 Four years at the court of Henry VIII: selection of despatches written by the Venetian ambassador, Sebastian Giustiniani and addressed to the signory of Venice, January 12th 1515, to July 26th 1519.
They are translated into English and are full of gossip, observation and speculation about all affairs that may affect the interests of the Venetian republic. The ambassador, clearly a born diplomat notes at one stage 'I spoke him very fair, using many very bland expressions, as I always endeavour to do, telling him I would write to your Sublimity, who I imagined would form a deliberate decision as inspired by the Almighty..........'

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Corner Horse

The Bay Horse on Marygate is that rare beast, a public house that has re-opened and remained open. It is a Grade II listed building sited on a corner, and as I walked past I noticed this stone horse for the first time. It is set into the actual corner of the building which must have made carving the stone into shape extra difficult. It looks rather worn and discoloured but I think that adds to its charm.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Back in Time

One of the most attractive ginnels in York is now known as Lady Peckitt's Yard. Previously it was Bakehouse Lane and before that Bacus gail (the northeast to southwest lane). It acquired its current name from the fact that Lady Peckitt, the wife of John Peckitt, Lord Mayor of York in 1701, lived in a house down here. Some of the buildings are late 17th century and are the first examples of brick built domestic houses in the city.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Blue Bicycle 2

Not sure I would leave my bike in the centre of town without chaining it up to something fixed. Maybe the owner was in a hurry to sample the Fine Ales at The Golden Slipper. Talking of which, do you think the bike belongs to Cinderella or Prince Charming?

Thursday, 10 May 2012

New Clothes for Summer

This little tree, surrounded by dogwood stems, was the star performer in a city centre garden I visited recently, the beautiful peeling bark outshining the early flowers in bloom.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Pride of York

This rusting metal arch which echos the outline of a railway carriage has been raised on the former site of York Carriageworks. Beginning in 1884 this industry once provided work for thousands of skilled rail engineers, and alongside the chocolate industry was the main source of income for many living locally. By the end of the last century there were only a few hundred jobs left and the last body shell was painted in 1995. There are 3 sets of (redundant) rail lines in the grass near the arch, one runs through the centre of the arch and has brick setts placed between the rails to form a short path.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Super Woman!

There are so many memorial in York Minster it is easy to walk past without really paying attention, especially if they have a Latin inscription. Something about those sad looking cherubs prompted me to investigate this one further......

This memorial is to Jane Hodson wife to Phineas Hodson Chancellor of York from 1611-46. She died in childbirth in 1636 at the age of 38 having apparently given birth to no fewer than 24 children(!). Of these 14 (none of whom were twins) were baptized at a nearby church (which leads me to wonder if that 2 should be a 1). Either way she had a sizable family and survived a remarkable number of deliveries in a time when childbirth was a considerable risk to life, as evidenced by her untimely demise.

Her husband was devastated by her loss as a translation of a portion of the memorial shows

"...........  a woman born to be an exempelar and leader of her sex, by universal acclaim a signal ornament of the entire world; the delight and joy of her husband..........

After she had increased the lineage of her husband by bearing twenty-four children of both sexes she surrendered at last to the bitterness of death, albeit with the resolute valour of a soldier at his post, and retaining her beauty so that you would have said she was still a maiden who was so often a mother......"

Her husband is described as a very active Chancellor, a sentiment I suspect his remarkable wife would endorse.

Taking part in Taphophile Tragics

Monday, 7 May 2012

Daffodil Wall

Much of the grassy bank below the Bar Walls is planted with daffodils and looks at it's most colourful in April/May. The walls are open dawn to dusk for anyone to walk along, and they provide an alternative view of the city to walking the streets. A keen runner here is even trying to use them as a jogging track, although I think he might change his mind when he has become entangled in a few school parties coming the other way!
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Sunday, 6 May 2012

St Leonard's Hospital

This is the entrance passageway to St Leonard's Hospital built around 1137, there is little left of the rest of the building.  Mediaeval hospitals provided food, warmth, and a bed to the elderly, poor and infirm. They were as much concerned with spiritual as well as physical health  as  the Hospital was a religious building, and the brothers and sisters here distributed alms to paupers daily. It was disbanded at the dissolution of the monastries in 1540, and this passageway has since been used as a boatyard, stables and occasional air raid shelter.

Until very recently it contained roman coffins from the nearby museum and was often used by the homeless as a shelter to sleep in for the night. Something which should give us all pause for thought as it has been performing this service for nigh on 1000 years. This year it has been given a face lift and now hosts an introduction to the history of the Yorkshire Museum and the Museum Gardens.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ancient and Modern 2

A typical York skyline with modern and Mediaeval buildings alongside each other. The impressive spire is All Saints North Street, and the handsome brick building in front of it was originally owned by The Co-operative Society.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cycle Station

York is an easy city to cycle around being relatively small, flat and cycle friendly. Many commuters cycle to the station and leave their bikes here for the day. You can also see a portion of the rather attractive Victorian Railway station designed by Thomas Prosser and William Peachey. When it was opened in 1877 it was the largest railway station in the world with 13 platforms although it has fewer now.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Take Your Pick

The original church of St Martin-Le-Grand on the left here was old enough to have a mention in the Domesday Book. What would you do given the choice? Visit the 15th century (restored) church or the 20th century coffee house at the end of the street? Both? Neither?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

John Burrill Homes

Opened in 1931 these charming alms houses now offer accomodation to 6 residents and a caretaker. Situated just off Clifton Green they are a peaceful oasis near the centre of town. The imaculate gardens include this statue with the inscription "These homes were the gift of John Burrill of Clifton". Of Mr Burrill himself I can find out little save he was a generous benefactor who left a lasting memorial to the city.

I cannot decide if the statue is holding a sundial or an astrolobe as the pointers are missing and the engraving rather worn. Any thoughts welcome.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

It's not Bettys, it's mine!

A small selection of the mouth watering treats on offer at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms. They get a mention here as they bake all their own cakes. I can recommend the Yorkshire Curd Tart if you want to try a local delicacy (second from right) or maybe the Fat Rascal. 

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