Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rainbow at Rievaulx

The remains of the Abbey at Rievaulx are somewhat exposed when the rain sweeps in across the North York moors. Luckily we had some warning of the approaching downpour in the shape of this rainbow and took shelter in the Abbey museum.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

C is for Castle

This is Monk Bar the largest of the gates into York and it was designed as a miniature castle. You can get a real sense of this if you visit the museum within the Bar. The lower stories are 14th century and it is built on the site of a much earlier Roman gateway. It was used in Tudor times as a prison. The arms are those of the Plantagenet  Royal House and the City of York.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Famous Ghost Sign

One of the most photographed signs in York is visible from this section of the walls. This ghost sign is now kept in good order as a quaint reminder of the ancient practice of advertising before pop ups!

Monday, 28 January 2013


This weekend it snowed heavily, youngsters in living in the city did what children round here must have done for hundreds of years, and went out to play in the snow on the slopes around the city walls.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Inside the Wall

From the inside the walls look much less threatening. Most sections of the walls are open on the inside, those railing are there to protect the privacy of the houses along this stretch.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

York Roofs

Walking on the walls gives a new perspective on the city. Roofs in York are either slate as in the foreground here, or terracotta pan tiles as seen behind. Roofscapes without a church spire are rare!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Outside the Wall

This is view of the city walls of York seen from the outside. Evidence of it's original defensive function can be seen in the arrow slits and the fact that it sits on top of a steep grassy bank.
Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Private View

The walk around the city walls from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar gives some of the most attractive views in York. This is a view of the Minster and surrounding building that is only visible from this section of the city walls. A plaque near here records that this portion of the wall was restored to the city in 1889 by Edwin Gray who served as Lord Mayor in 1898. The house directly in front of the Minster is Gray's Court and my guess is that he owned not only one of the finest houses in the city but also one of the best views. Now that view is free to anyone walking around the walls.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

B is for Beyond Bootham Bar

This is a view along the Bar Walls looking back towards Bootham Bar from one of the larger interval towers. This tower has had various names down the centuries, the Bawing Tower, Frost Tower or Robin Hood Tower.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Inside the Bar

This is the inside of Bootham Bar, the main features are the remains of a stairway up to the turrets, a fireplace, and a wooden portcullis. You must pass through this room to gain access to the walls beyond.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Porta Dextra

The view east from Bootham Bar steps looks up High Petergate which leads to the Minster. Bootham Bar was built on the site of the Porta Principalis Dextra, the northwest gate of the Roman fort hence the name of the nearby shop. The pub down the street is named The Hole in the Wall and although it currently has a picture of St Mary's Abbey on the sign I think the name may have more to do with it's proximity to Bootham Bar.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Exhibition Square

This is the view looking west from the top of the steps of Bootham Bar towards Exhibition Square and Bootham. The large building in the square dates from 1879 and was originally called the Exhibition Building, now it houses the Art gallery. The red roofed tower and walls opposite once enclosed St Mary's Abbey.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Dawn to Dusk

The city walls are open from dawn to dusk each day for anyone who wishes to walk along them. Many visitors to the city do so of course, and many locals use sections of them as a handy short cut from A to B avoiding the need to cross busy roads. This section of the wall, including the steps, were built in 1834 following the demolition of the original wall and the barbican of Bootham Bar

Friday, 18 January 2013

A Tour of the City Walls

The next few days feature a walk on the city walls from Bootham Bar to Monkgate Bar. The word bar is a shortened version of barbican, each of these bars or gates into the city once had a barbican (fortified gateway) attached. The shields on the bar are the Royal House of Stuart (top)  and two Arms of the City of York. The three figures on top of the bar show a mason and a knight left and right. The central figure is Nicholas Langton a former Lord Mayor from the fourteenth century. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Bus Ride

Took a bus ride into town recently, my local route is The Purple Line, I used to live out on The Claret Line but they seem to have retired that name now.......

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A is for Agol

Freshers looking suitably nonchalant in their first week at York University pass by Goodricke college. I wonder what they make of all the cogs? It is a sculpture called Algol by Harry Mercer.
It is placed here because John Goodricke was an astronomer who lived in York in the 18th century. He was born deaf and died aged 22. In his short life he was the first to explain the variations in the brightness of the star Algol - the star consists of two spheres which closely orbit one another making it a binary star.
The sculpture is made from old cogs and wheels salvaged from trains and there are actually two sculptures, one for each sphere. I found the following information here
"When new the globes were lit from within in an approximation to the relative brightness of the real stars - one red, one blue. The sculpture was unveiled at night for full effect. After a speech, the lights dimmed, and the stars lit up, and the honourable speaker was heard to say ``Good God!'' down the mic in a fairly disturbed voice.
Reports indicate they were still lit in 1978-9. Now woefully under-maintained, bits fall off from time to time".
I am happy to report that recently they have been given a facelift.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Unseen by most

This is the view revealed by the demolition of the huts in yesterdays post. It shows the wall of St Mary's Abbey and the corner tower (see the more usual view here) from an angle unseen by most since before WW2. There was a bit of an outcry at the removal of the huts by some who felt the city was losing a' valuable piece of modern history'. I for one would rather have this view than preserve a few asbestos ridden wartime huts. The plan is for this space to be landscaped and used to display sculpture which could be an asset for the city, or not depending on the sculptures chosen!.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Wartime Huts

A picture I took last year of one of the few remaining undeveloped areas in the centre of the city. These war time huts were hidden away behind the Art Gallery and scheduled for demolition to make way for an open air sculpture display. Come back tomorrow to see how work is progressing......

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dean Purey-Cust

This Shield of Arms can be found near the Minster, note the crossed Keys of St Peter on the left. The design indicates that this building was funded by money raised to celebrate Arthur Purey-Cust serving as Dean of York Minster for 30 years. His wrote several books about York Minster including one entitled 
A Few Words to the Chapter of York by the Dean on the Qualifications, Personal and Professional, of an Ideal Organist for the Minster
I have not read this particular volume so I have no idea if Dean Purey-Cust had a sense of humour or a well developed sense of his own importance!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Museum Garden Ghosts

Despite living in Europe's most haunted city I haven't mentioned ghosts in a while, these two transparent figures floated by me as I walked through the Museum gardens recently....

Friday, 11 January 2013

Rectory Sunrise

The sun was just starting to rise as I walked past Holy Trinity Rectory on Micklegate last week.
Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 10 January 2013

De Grey

The De Grey Rooms were commissioned by Earl de Grey and fellow officers in the Yorkshire Hussars to be used as their mess. Dating from 1841/2 this elegant looking building is still used for public functions today. I think the name makes them sound rather grand and they have a very elegant staircase well suited to soldiers in dress uniforms and ladies in ball-gowns.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Synchronised Swan Swimming

The three Mute Swans busy feeding reminded me of the synchronised swimmers in last summers Olympic games! In the background are the ever present Black Headed Gulls and behind them a black and white Tufted Duck

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


These Black-Headed Gulls (yes I know, they become black in the spring/summer!) were lined up along the board-walk at Fairburn Ings. I think they were hoping we might have bought some bird food along.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Fairburn Ings

Met up with a group of birdwatching pals for a New Year trip to this RSPB reserve around 25 miles from York. It is very mild at the moment so we had a pleasant walk out with 60 species of bird seen on the reserve. The picture shows the visitor centre with it's wildlife friendly garden.
Ings is an old Yorkshire word of Norse origin and is used to describe a low lying area of water meadow and marsh.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Anyone for Ice Cream?

How do you entice customers into your ice cream shop when it is cold outside? You offer a warm mince pie alongside that ice cream of course. Not many takers for a seat outside though......

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Favourite Spot

All this cold grey weather makes me think of brighter days. Tucked away behind the flowers is my favourite bench in the Museum Gardens. An ideal place to sit and watch the world go by, unnoticed except by the pigeons who want a share of any food being eaten!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Walk on the Walls

Been  a while since we visited the city walls. This is the view walking from Micklegate Bar towards Victoria Bar. The terraced houses opposite have a rather sought after view.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Warmer days ahead

Time to look forward to the new year, in this part of the world that means warmer days ahead! The Merchant Adventurer's Hall, surrounding lawn, and nearby pink washed buildings make for a colourful mixture any time of year but especially in spring and summer. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Y is for Yorkshire Museum

In 1822 the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (YPS) was founded and in 1827 they in turn founded the Yorkshire Museum seen above. This was only the second purpose built museum in the country. The architect was William Wilkins Junior and he favoured the Greek Revival style. 
The YPS (and the museum) are still going strong, as a list of planned events for 2013 illustrates.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

Even in the depths of winter a few new shoots manage to emerge from the hard ground and frost covered leaves. Encouragement for the year to come perhaps! 
Happy New Year to all visitors to the blog today, I look forward to seeing your photos and comments in 2013.
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