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Lost views of York
8:47am Tuesday 8th May 2012 in News
The Old Ouse Bridge is seen from King’s Staith in this atmospheric 18th century oil by Farrington.
It was a popular place for visitors of the day, notes Peter Brown in his catalogue to the Views of York exhibition at Fairfax House, where the painting is on loan from the Company of Merchant Adventurers – even though getting to it was not always easy. Mr Brown said: “Access to the landing area was only possible from Castlegate from the three water lanes.
“These steep narrow passages were full of filth, so the experience must have been a challenge for the tourist.” King’s Staith at the time of this painting was the main landing for freshwater fish, Mr Brown notes. But the city was keen to prevent any cleaning of the fish immediately next to the bridge.
York’s so-called “Pudding holes” were public washing places, downstream of the bridge, with steps down to the river’s edge, and one is seen in the foreground. In 1573 the council decreed that “None shall lay any myer or other fylth at the Pudding hole, but to carry the same to St George Closse.”
• The Views of York exhibition runs at Fairfax House until August 31. To find out more, visit the York Civic Trust website, yorkcivictrust.co.uk