DRINKERS at York cocktail bar Jalou on Micklegate will no doubt see something familiar in these old photographs.

They should. Because this is the same building in which they enjoy their make-up martini, bubblegum daiquiri or smoked gingerbread manhattan on a Friday night.

Jalou hasn't always been Jalou, of course - or even The Parish, as it was formerly called. Before that, it was the York Arts Centre; before that (in italics) the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies - and before even that, a church.

The Church of St John The Evangelist, to give it its full name. The base of the tower dates from the 12th century (making it about 900 years old) but the church was extended and added to several times over the next few hundred years. The distinctive small brick and timber tower with the unusual pyramid roof dates from the mid 16th century, when it was added to replace an earlier tower which had collapsed.

The church was fully restored in 1850 by George Fowler Jones, when the south porch was added and the east end rebuilt.

The church closed in 1934, and the building has been pressed into use for various other purposes since, culminating in its present incarnation as a cocktail bar.

Our photographs, all dug out of The Press archives, date from the second half of the 1900s. They show the interior of the building in the early 1950s, when it still stood empty, and in its later days as the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies. There's also a great photo from 1955 showing Dr W Singleton, the director of the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, studying the remains of a Norman window discovered buried behind plaster as the church was being converted for use by his organisation. This window, the caption to the photograph says, was the only Norman window existing in 'any church tower within the city walls.'

Worth remembering, that, when you're sipping from your next spiced zombie rum cocktail.

Stephen Lewis