THERE’S a real wartime feel to our first photograph in Yesterday Once More this week: which is odd, because the picture was taken 12 years after the Second World War ended.
It is dated August 31, 1957, and shows a mother and her young daughter walking along Patrick Pool. The caption to the photograph informs readers that this is ‘one of the shortest streets in the city,’ and adds: “Patrick pool was in existence in the early 13th century.”
It is probably the woman’s military-style coat that gives this picture such a wartime feeling. We also love the glimpse of the market stalls at the end of the street, with the sign in front saying ‘turn left’. And the reason for the photograph being taken? “Two half-timbered houses in Patrick Pool are to be restored,” the caption says.
Most of today’s photographs, which all come from the Press’ archives, date from the 1950s - though one was taken in 1949, and another in 1961. They reveal that this postwar era in York was a time of real change.
One photograph, dated March 1959, shows the frontage of some buildings in Spurriergate being demolished to make way for a new block of shops.
Another, dated May 1959, shows clearance work in Lowther street, The Groves.”Rows of old houses have been demolished clearing a site through to Townend Street”, the caption to this photo says. A picture taken on April 25 1961, meanwhile, shows a St Saviourgate that looks very different to the way it does today. Many readers may well prefer the street as it looked back then...
From April 1949, there is a wonderful photo of the Old George Hotel. This and the disused studio next door to it are “shortly to disappear and make way for the new road from pavement to Peaseholme Green”, the caption to the photograph says. In other words, they were about to be knocked down to make way for Stonebow.
The picture of a neatly-besuited woman hurrying across the top of Lord Mayor’s Walk to its junction with Gillygate dates from January 1959. DI Daniel’s greengrocer on the corner carried some wonderful old advertising hoardings from the era, including one for Woodbine.
And finally, a glimpse of social life in the city in the 1950s: a photograph showing a production by the York Repertory Company. Dated September 1959, the photograph shows the repertory company’s production of The Long, The Short And The Tall at the Theatre Royal. A Japanese soldier (played by John Tinn) is shown having a rough time at the hands of James Beck (right) and Trevor Bannister.