Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not Simply Red

St Helen's Square, named after the church just behind the pianist, is a popular spot for street musicians or buskers. Busking is encouraged in York, but you have to apply for permission and abide by certain rules.
In the background is Betty's of Harrogate, tea rooms so famous that people queue in the cold waiting for a place!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Keep on …

Rebuilt in stone in 13th century, Clifford's Tower is the most prominent of York's ancient fortifications. Follow the link for a potted history. The Castle Museum, just to the right, is wonderful and features, among many reconstructions, a complete Victorian Street, shops and all. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

St William's College detail

Detail of St Williams College, (1461) College Street, just behind York Minster. A very nice venue for weddings and conferences.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Permanent and temporary closure

The library is closed for refurbishment but the church has had its day, at least as a place of worship. The stone ruin looks good against the more recent brick. Behind these two buildings is Museum Gardens which is more park than garden, and a lovely spot for summer lunchtimes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gates of golden splendour

These fabulous gates from Euston Station, London, are now housed in York's National Railway Museum.  Wonderful workmanship, saved from the scrap heap.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Emperor's New Clothes

Constantine sits outside of York Minster in all weathers, but doesn't feel a thing. Did he really feel anything about his new faith? He was declared emperor of Rome while in York, but had battles to fight before he secured his throne.

The debate over the genuineness of his conversion to Christianity still rages. What is sure is that his mother, Helen, was a devout follower of Jesus Christ. One of York's churches is dedicated to her, and gives its name to the square where it is situated.

The St Helen's that we know best, however, is in London, right next to the Gherkin and the Lloyds building.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shining … imperishable red brick

The missing words in the title are and apparently, because nothing lasts for ever, and this building is only 111 years old. Originally the York Dispensary, it now houses a firm of solicitors and looks over  to yesterday's Red House.  The detail is impressive: even PATIENTS' ENTRANCE is carved in stone. York Minster is 200 yards to the left.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Red is the colour

Wet and grey here today, so a nice splash of face-on red to cheer things up. The full name of the shop is The Red House Antique Centre, though in their home page picture it looks rather pink. It's worth a look for the angle and to situate the shop in relation to the Minster.

The Red House, Duncombe Place, was built in 1700 for the Lord Mayor of York. Many dealers sell from this prestigious location; the Minster is only 200 yards to the right, or to the left as you come out of the building. The trees are, of course, seasonal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The National Centre for Early Music

… but not so early as to wake up the neighbours.

The NCEM is housed in the medieval St Margaret's Church within the city walls, just off Walmgate.  The home page gives you the view above without the snow and yesterday's modern town houses are back up the short lane, on the opposite side of the road.

Once again, the use of contrasting building materials is very satisfying. I particularly like  the tower, with its dressed stone angles.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Return of the Vikings?

A relatively new Scandinavian-influenced build on Walmgate, though I could be wrong about the inspiration.  I like the blue against the brickwork, the boarding and the relief provided by the hanging bays and recessed upper levels.   Can't see a gate? See the earlier post, Where bars are gates and gates are streets.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On yer bike!

York is a cycling city, and this symbolic work of art is to be found where the Foss Island and Derwent Valley cycle path meets Hallfield Road. This track allows me to get to work in 10 minutes when I'm training in York itself.

Brits of the Thatcher generation will recognise the title as a quotation of Norman Tebbit's advice to the unemployed in the 80s. What he actually said, according to wikipedia, can be read here.

This is my first picture away from the city centre, though we are only a few hundred yards from the walls at Jewbury. There are still some flats available for purchase in this new build.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Minster and War Memorial

Snow and sunlight: a view to the Minster through the War Memorial Gardens on the River Ouse.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Minster and Chapter House

York Minster showing the Chapter House.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not so hidden treasure

The Treasurer's House, just behind York Minster, is a National Trust property. Built over a Roman road, it has the reputation of being haunted, not by a solitary spectre, but by a marching legion. It was restored in the early 20th century by industrialist Frank Green to include rooms in a variety of periodic styles, and today the Great Hall is a wonderful venue for weddings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mail train, mail train, going so fast

Well, not so fast, as we are still in the National Railway Museum. Yes, I know, the original song is Freight Train; I have an Elisabeth Cotton recording.

Years ago, many students worked for the Post Office over Christmas, and one winter I was assigned to the late shift at Durham Railway Station to load and unload mail from one of these trains. I remember it being a cold, windy location. This is only one of the many wonderful exhibits at the world's biggest railway museum.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wheels on fire …

Not quite what I wanted in terms of perspective, but here we are inside the National Railway Museum, the world's biggest of its kind. There are some monsters of a bygone age here. It's a great place to visit, and like all national museums now, it is free.

 There is a research area with free wifi, a decent self-service restaurant where you can eat surrounded by engines and carriages,  the usual souvenir and bookshop with something for all budgets and a separate Thomas the Tank Engine shop. It also makes a great venue for conferences, parties and wedding receptions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wot! No trains?

What a fabulous city this is, boasting Europe's largest Gothic cathedral and the world's biggest railway museum, to say nothing of the Yorkie Bar (and that's neither a gate nor a pub)! This is part of the children's playground at the National Railway Museum. An engine tomorrow, perhaps?

The "Wot!" in the title refers to the Chad character, whose first utterance was allegedy, "Wot! No eggs?"

I returned to the National Railway Museum today, 15th January 2010, to find that the helter skelter had gone.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Berries on brickwork

This is Minster Court; the cathedral is directly behind us across the park. I like the berries against the brickwork and the almost matching red door to the yard.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How many geese make a gaggle?

We've finally made it to York's second river, the Foss, which runs into the Ouse on the southern edge of the town. The waterfowl were particularly obliging here, geese in the foreground and I'm not sure what in the distance.

This is taken from Foss Bridge, on Fossgate. Gate, you will remember from yesterday, comes from the Norse word for street. The word gaggle refers to a indeterminate number of geese not in flight, whilst skein is used when they are in the air. Not many people know that: I didn't.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Where streets are gates and gates are bars

This is Walmgate Bar (12th -14th century) leading out onto the Hull Road. It is the only bar with its barbican, or fortified outer gateway, still standing.  The words gate and bar have retained their Norse meanings, as indicated in the title. If you really can't wait to see the other fortified entrances to the city, go here. There has been a lot more snow since this picture was taken a couple of days ago.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When "hanging around here" meant something else

What's in a name?  Yesterday, Whitby Daily Photo featured Arguments Yard, named after its builder, but the history of this York snickelway is rather more macabre: Mad Alice Smith was hanged at the castle in 1823 for poisoning her husband.

The word snickelway is the brilliant invention of local author, Mark W Jones, who used it in the title of his very popular and frequently republished book, A Walk Around the Snickelways of York. There are about 50 of them within the walls alone, best visited on a guided tour.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Waiting for Godot?

I did think of going to York's other river, the Foss, but could not resist these snow people seen yesterday outside St William's College.  Go here to see how close this is to the Minster, and to view the courtyard. It is a popular, romantic wedding reception venue; perhaps one these guys has just popped the question.  For more on romance in York, see this.

I had to roll in the snow for this back of the head shot and managed to resist the temptation to reposition the facial features. What if the artists had been watching from a nearby window!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leaving Lendal

It's time we moved on from Lendal Bridge as it's getting a bit cold standing around in the same spot. Before we go elsewhere, perhaps to the Foss, York's smaller river, let's take another look at the round tower we saw a few days ago. It looks more interesting from the back, don't you think? I'll find out what it used for,  but for the moment, enjoy the snow; it doesn't usually stay around this long.

Monday, January 4, 2010

… and all this too!

What's on offer seen from the other side of the tower. Any takers?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

More snowy reflections

Medieval tower for sale! I wonder if a buy to let mortgage might be the thing! We are still on  Lendal Bridge, looking back towards the town centre. Must pay more attention to my verticals.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snowy reflections on the Ouse

Still on Lendal Bridge on the  Ouse, looking south-west away from the town centre. I presume this round tower was part of the defenses; the square tower on the opposite bank is up for sale! Look in tomorrow if you're in the market for a piece of medieval real estate.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Ouse from Lendal Bridge

To wish you all the best for 2010, here is a full-on picture of the bigger of York's two rivers, the Ouse (pronounced "ooze"). This is from Lendal Bridge, on the way to the railway station. In the distance, more or less to the west, is the rail bridge bearing the main London to Edinburgh line.