Causing chaos with York cattle market's cupola

November 11, 1976: cranes remove one of the cupolas from the old cattle market

The old cattle market in Paragon Street, with the twin cupolas visible

Sheep pens at the old cattle market in Paragon Street, January 21, 1966

Leslie Barber, of Huntington, who in 1976 transported the spire of one of the cupolas from the old York cattle market to storage in Beckfield Lane

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READER Leslie Barber got in touch about a feature in last week's Press asking if anyone knew what had happened to the twin cupolas which once stood at York's cattle market in Paragon Street.

Leslie, 84, doesn't know what the ultimate fate of the cupolas was. But he knows how they got into storage in Beckfield Lane - because he was one of the lorry drivers who took them there. Or at least, he took the spire from the top of one of the cupolas there.

It was 1976. The cattle market - which had stood at Paragon Street since 1827 - had already been moved outside York to Murton, and the area where it had stood for so long was being cleared for future development.

It was decided to put the cupolas into council storage at Beckfield Lane in the hopes a use could be found for them.

In those days Leslie, who lives in Huntington, droved 'artics' for a local firm. They were called in because the council's own wagons weren't big enough to transport the cupolas, he says.

He only saw one of them. He parked his lorry in the cattle market itself, then the spire from the cupola was lifted onto the back by crane.

"There was a council bloke who wanted it standing up," he recalls. So instead of lying it on its side in the back of his truck, as he would have preferred, he had to stand it up and rope it down firmly.

He thinks it must have been 17 or 18 feet tall - so there were predictable consequences as he began driving it across York.

He tore down the first telephone wires in Bishopthorpe Road, he thinks. Thereafter, he had to inch his way along past Knavesmire, onto Tadcaster Road, then along Gale Lane to Beckfield Lane - with a council employee with a long pole trying to lift telephone wires out of the way as they went along.

He admits he was probably the talk of the town that day - and not for good reasons. Despite the best efforts, several more telephone lines came down before they got to Beckfield Lane. "There were some people without telephones for a while, and the traffic was held up to a certain extent!" he says.

Sadly, it all seems as though it may have been for nothing.

Once at Beckfield Lane, the spire was laid on its side, he says - despite the efforts to transport it upright. He saw it three years later still at Beckfield Lane, by which time it was in a pretty sorry condition. "Bits were falling off it," he says.

We still don't know what the eventual fate of the the cupolas was, however. We'd love to hear from any readers who do.

Comments (2)

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5:49pm Mon 1 Sep 14

bravo whisky says...

A similar fate became of the fantail assembly off Holgate Windmill, it was put into safe storage by York council in the Foss islands depot for future use, never seen again, probably turfed out in a clearout.
A similar fate became of the fantail assembly off Holgate Windmill, it was put into safe storage by York council in the Foss islands depot for future use, never seen again, probably turfed out in a clearout. bravo whisky
  • Score: 6

11:08am Tue 2 Sep 14

Monks Boss says...

"droved arctics for a local firm" seriarsely cud i git a jab ot yur plaice plese.
"droved arctics for a local firm" seriarsely cud i git a jab ot yur plaice plese. Monks Boss
  • Score: 1
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