10:30am Monday 21st January 2013
By Reader's letter
I WAS pleased to see the feature on the wonderful King’s Book of York Heroes (The Press, January 14), which is held in the Minster in perpetuity on behalf of King George V.
I have known this book for many years through my research of the life and works of Edwin Ridsdale Tate, the York architect and artist who was commissioned to design it.
Tate was also responsible for the beautifully illuminated first few pages and also some of the calligraphy of the short biographies of each of the 1,443 York men and women contained within it who “laid down their lives” in the First World War.
The idea of this book of remembrance was conceived by leading York businessmen of the day, including David Leith Presley, then the editor of the Yorkshire Herald, who decided that as the City of York was being slow to create a memorial to the dead within the city, they would create this giant volume instead.
The wooden covers were fashioned from planks of seasoned oak provided by the York Carriageworks.
The decorated iron hinges and clasps were created by J Niven Bentley of the Engineering & Foundry Works on Hull Road and engraved by WH Wells of Castlegate.
The heavyweight gold-edged pages were provided by the Yorkshire Herald and the whole volume was bound by the Yorkshire Herald Printing Works.
The 1,442 photographs were all reproduced from snapshots or studio portraits provided by the families by York photographer Robert L Catcheside.
The King’s Book is displayed in an enclosed case close near St John's Chapel. However, it is not usually open to public examination.
Anyone who wishes to inquire if their ancestor is recorded in the book can first examine a facsimile copy more easily accessible at the York Minster Library if they phone 01904 557250 first.
I have devoted a whole chapter to the King’s Book in my book on E Ridsdale Tate, Quaint & Historic York Remembered, which I hope to publish later this year.
Peter Stanhope, Cyprus Grove, Haxby, York.
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