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Glimpses of York in 1913
THE New Year’s Day hangovers have hopefully settled down by now. Before we get on with the serious business of 2013, however, there is time for one last look back – not at 2012, but at York 100 years ago, in 1913.
The Great War of 1914-18 was still a year off when the photographs on these pages – all of which come from City of York Council’s York Images website – were taken.
The people of York were entirely unaware of the horrors to come. The photos provide a wonderful snapshot of the York of the time, busily going about its business, as it does today.
The children of St Lawrence’s Church held a pageant; a bushy-bearded Alderman Joseph Agar held a garden party in the grounds of his home, Kilburn House in Fulford – a third-generation Methodist and three-time Lord Mayor of York, he is the gentleman standing in the centre of our photo.
A Mr Lee captured an evocative photograph of a child playing on his scooter in front of Monk Bar; the bells of York Minster were removed from the tower to allow steel headstocks to be fitted; and a Monsieur Salmet touched down at Knavesmire in his 80bhp Bleriot monoplane during an “aeroplane tour” organised by the Daily Mail.
Back Forth Street, off Leeman Road, suffered from dangerous erosion that year. Our photograph shows a man standing in the skating pond off Leeman Road to illustrate the scale of the problem. “The low building in the background is probably York Waterworks,” says the caption. “In the distance steam from a train heading north can be seen.”
Poverty was a realm issue in York in 1913, as our photo of the “Doss House” in Walmgate reveals.
“This half-timbered 15th century building was for many years a common lodging house run by the Kilmartin family,” the caption to the photograph instructs.
In 1961, long after this photo was taken, the building was acquired by the Civic Trust, then fully restored and named Bowes Morrell House in memory of J.B. Morrell, a founding member of the Trust. The building today is scarcely recognisable as the one in the photo.
The advertisements on the building in themselves provide a wonderful glimpse of life in 1913 York. One is an advert for a series of lectures on local history by Dr W A Evelyn in the Tempest Anderson Hall – Dr Evelyn was, ironically, very much opposed to the rash of advertising posters which covered so many buildings in the city at the time.
Another poster advertises a football match between York City and Newcastle United at Field View – at the end of Burton Stone Lane – on Wednesday, October 15.
• All pictures today come from the City of York Council’s York Images website, which contains about 6,000 historic images of the city. You can visit the site at imagineyork.co.uk
The bells of York Minster