THERE is a bit of a warehouse theme going on with the first few of these 6 photos taken from Explore York’s wonderful Imagine York website.

We’ll start with an astonishing photograph taken in 1853 by William Pumphrey (top). It’s a little discoloured with time, but then it is more than 160 years old. And it gives a wonderful glimpse of York’s riverside in the days when warehouses were warehouses, not posh ‘city living’ flats.

The photograph shows buildings on the west bank of the River Ouse at the Skeldergate Bridge end of Skeldergate.

The building with Dutch gables was the warehouse of a wine and port importer. It was allowed to become derelict but was then fully renovated in the 1960s, only to be demolished in 1970. The buildings to the left were demolished in 1873-1874 and replaced with a new building – the Bonding Warehouse, which was built to encourage seagoing vessels to use York as an inland port.

The cupola, just visible peeking up behind the buildings, belonged to the city gaol.

Fast-forward to 1890 and we have another warehouse – D Lofthouse’s fruit and potato warehouse, which was on the corner of St Sampson’s Square and Davygate about where a certain well-known department store now is.

York Press:

Lofthouse's fruit and potato warehouse

We particularly love the huge advert splashed across the gable end for Archibald Ramsden’s pianos and organs: “Nearly 400 instruments to select from.”

From a potato warehouse to a tea warehouse – this one perched beside the “new” bridge over the River Foss in a photograph taken by Tempest Anderson in 1912. The Blue Bicycle restaurant stands here today. But back then, according to the caption, the building housed what was York’s oldest grocer-come-postmaster – William Henry White & Son’s Eagle Tea Warehouse, which was founded in about 1854.

York Press:

The Eagle Tea warehouse in 1912

Lofthouse and Sons of Clifton wasn’t a warehouse, but a garage and automobile engineer. But there is a wonderful photograph of the business in the 1950s. Check out the cars. They would be worth a fortune if they had survived to the present day.

York Press:

Lofthouse's garage in Clifton in 1952

To finish with, we have two more photographs of Clifton. One, taken in about 1933, shows a row of shops. The shop on the left of the photo is JW Bean and Co, which was a grocers and off-licence. The advert above the doorway, ‘Trex’, is referring neither to a 1970s supergroup nor an extinct predatory reptile, but to a much more harmless vegetable-based cooking oil.

York Press:

A row of shops in Clifton in about 1933

Next to JW Bean was Miss Kathleen Dandy’s cafe and sweet shop and then Herbert Arthur Wilkins’ newsagents. Eagle-eyed readers will notice an A-board out on the street (don’t tell the city council, anyone) advertising the shows at the Picture House. Flanagan and Allen were starring in Alf’s Button Afloat.

And finally, we have a photograph taken in the 1890s showing an ramshackle old half-timbered house with half the roof tiles gone and trees growing through. It This building apparently once stood at Clifton Scope, near where the Water End ferry crossed to Leeman Road Ings. We’d love to know a bit more about the building, if any readers have any information.

York Press:

An old house near Clifton Scope in the 1890s

  • All the photos on these pages, and thousands more, are at held on Explore York’s wonderful Imagine York archive. You can browse it yourself for free just by visiting