York

March 23, 2015

Explore York Identifier y58_537

Mickelgate Bar, the main entrance to the city through which monarchs would enter. It was also a popular practice to hang the heads of traitors from the gatehouse.

The ancient capital of England's north

York has a long and fascinating history as one of England's foremost cities, with better preserved medieval ruins than perhaps any other in the country. It's history extends back to the early Roman period, when the IX Legion set up a fort here to subjugate the restive Brigantines.

Eboracum, as York was then known, became the largest Roman city in northern Britannia, eventually being elevated to the status of provincial capital as power devolved away from the imperial centre. It was in Eboracum that Constantine was acclaimed emperor by his legionaries in the early 4th Century, an act that proved to be one of the pivotal moments in the history of Western civilization.

Explore York Identifier y942_74_01

The rear of Mickelgate Bar. Practically all of the buildings in the view have since been pulled down. On the right was the Jolly Bacchus public house, and on the left the Barefoot Inn. A ghost of a horse and cart can be seen, a result of the long exposures time required to take photographs at this early stage.

Explore York Identifier y942_74_01

Ships moored on King's Staith.

Explore York Identifier y9_mus_865

A fascinating view up Museum Street with the Minster in the distance. By this time photography has advanced to the point where it can catch people in motion, including all these pedestrians allowing us to catch many small interesting details. The women on the right are taking care their skirts don't drag as they cross the street while the man in front of them appears to be wearing an army uniform, though to my eyes it looks more German than English.

Explore York Identifier y59_1493

Lendal Bridge and Station Road seen from the city wall. Then, as now, the Minster dominates the city's skyline. Then, as now, the city wall was a popular walk.

Explore York Identifier y24_533

A man stands in front of the doors of the Minster.

Explore York Identifier y97_6862_e

Built on a low-lying ground around the River Ouse, York has been subjected to frequent flooding throughout its history. A series of photographs from a particularly bad flood in 1892 survive today. This is a shot of North Street.

Explore York Identifier y_11164

The floodwaters have lifted these river barges into the yard of the bonding warehouse on Skeldergate. Clifford's Tower can be seen in the background.

Explore York Identifier y97_6862_c

Marygate swamped by the waters that have risen 16 feet above the banks of the Ouse.

Explore York Identifier y_11143

Crowds line the water's edge to watch a regatta being held to celebrate the completion of Skeldergate Bridge.

Explore York Identifier y_11819

A photograph of the Ouse at its confluence with the Foss where it is controlled by canal locks. A barge floats by. These barges, which often had to rely on powered tugs to tow them up and down the river, were a cheap and commonplace means of moving goods before the proliferation of trucks.

Explore York Identifier y942_843_15

The famous Clifford's Tower, built by the Normans to dominate the restive Anglo-Saxon countryside. This castle was the site of the most horrific pogrom in English history. In 1190 York's small Jewish community sought refuge in Clifford's Tower from an angry mob championed by those who owed money to Jewish moneylenders. Besieged, with no possibility of escape and facing certain death, the Jewish families chose to commit mass suicide rather than surrender. The few who chose surrender were butchered by the mob the next morning.

Explore York Identifier y_11141

Another shot of Skeldergate Bridge.

Explore York Identifier 415_174_2_3925

A few men pose for a photo in Peter Lane off Market Street.

Explore York Identifier y9_sha_35_01

A delivery cart stops in the Shambles. Some of the buildings here are from the 1300s. The word shambles comes from the Anglo-Saxon word 'Fleshammels', or 'flesh-shelves' because so many butcher shops occupied the street.

Explore York Identifier y1_stsav_569

Goats grazing in front of graves at Saint Saviours. The graves are now overgrown with ivy, and the building in the back has been torn down. The church itself has been converted into the Jorvik DIG, an interactive archaeology museum.

Explore York Identifier y9_ogl_28

Children playing on the Ogleforth. The Explore York caption notes how the girls have separated themselves into boys on one side of the street and girls on the other.

Explore York Identifier y51_3830

All the decorations are out along Bootham to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Explore York Identifier y51_3830

Bootham Bar, one of the city'a main gates built practically atop the main Roman gate into the city, when York—Eboracum—was the capital of the province of Britannia Inferior. Many emperors marched through this gate. When the old photo was taken a cab stand occupied the space beside it the old gate.

Explore York Identifier y_11681

A view of the Minster and Bootham Bar from the Exhibition Square. Photos with a variety of buildings at a variety of distances can be particularly difficult to line up perfectly. I tried my best.

Explore York Identifier y942_74_08

A tower at the riverside at Marygate. For much of history it marked the demarcation point between the Abbey of Saint Mary and the city's laypeople beyond who frequently despised the monks for all the privileges Feudal society afforded them.

Share

Follow


Don't miss these and many other Then and Now Photo Series from around the world