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Time to vote for your York 800 Community Pride Award heroes
9:10am Friday 17th August 2012 in News
SO here they are: the shortlist of those we – and you, because you nominated some of them – think are the most influential men, women or groups from the last 800 years of York’s history.
As we explained last week, as part of the York 800 celebrations to mark 800 years since the city received its royal charter from King John, The Press and City of York Council have created a special category for this year’s Community Pride Awards.
The York 800 Community Pride Award will recognise the individual or group who you think has done most for pride in York over the past eight centuries.
Some of those shortlisted here today were nominated by readers; others by ourselves or by archivist Victoria Hoyle at City of York Council.
All would be worthy winners, but the final decision is yours.
To vote for the person or group you think would be the most worthy winner, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the person you vote for; send a postcard to Kate Liptrot, York 800 Community Pride Award, making sure to include your name and address along with the name of the person you are voting for; or cast your vote electronically on The Press’s website by visiting yorkpress.co.uk/800vote
The deadline for votes is midnight on Thursday August 30, and the winner will be announced at this year’s Community Pride Awards at York Racecourse in October.
Here are the nominees, in alphabetical order. So now it’s over to you. Happy voting!
York 800 Community Pride Award nominees:
William Giles (born 1846), Deputy Town Clerk
Giles almost single-handedly rescued the medieval archives of the City of York from the flooded basement at the Guildhall in 1892. He waded into water up to his chest to save documents dating back to the time of Richard III, then worked in his spare time to repair them and catalogue them. Without his work one of the most important medieval archives in the world may have been lost.
Ann Middleton (died 1655)
Lady Ann Middleton was one of several York women who left money to found Almshouses or charities. She was the wife of Peter Middleton, a sheriff of the city, and left money to build a refuge for 20 Freeman’s widows. Her charity continued to benefit poor widows for over 200 years.
Hugh de Selby , 1200s
De Selby was the first documented Mayor of York in 1217. He served as Mayor on at least five other occasions and founded a dynasty of Mayors, with his son, grandson and great-grandson all serving in the office. He may well have helped York gain its charter from King John.
Robert Holgate , Archbishop of York (died 1555)
Robert Holgate was a native Yorkshireman and made his mark by founding three grammar schools, including Archbishop Holgate’s School in York, in 1546. The school was originally in Ogleforth and offered a rare opportunity for boys to receive a free or low-cost education. Another similar school was established in Hemsworth in West Yorkshire, Holgate’s place of birth.
King Richard III (1452-1485)
Did he kill the Princes in the Tower? Or has he been mistreated by history? None of us really know, but he was very popular in York both before and after he was King, and on his death the Council made a special entry in the House Book lamenting his passing and remembering how many good things Richard had done for the city.
Mrs DW Ditcham, secretary of the wartime York Refugee Committee
Mrs Ditcham was secretary of the York Refugee Committee which, from 1938 onwards, helped look after Jewish and other political refugees who came to York having fled Nazi-dominated Europe. The committee housed refuges, and provided them with education, health and dental care and jobs. Mrs Ditcham opened up her own home as an informal drop-in centre. There is a description of her in The Uprooted: A Hitler Legacy edited by Dorothy Bateman Whiteman, as follows: “I left the train at York. I expected the farmer to meet me. Instead, a formidable, elegantly dressed lady approached me. She was definitely not a farmer’s wife. She was Mrs Ditcham, the representative of the local refugee committee.”
John Goodricke, 1764-1786
Goodricke was profoundly deaf throughout his life, and died of pneumonia at the heartbreakingly young age of just 22. He still managed to become one of the great early astronomers, gazing at the skies from a window a Treasurer’s House in York to make observations which, for the first time, made us begin to realise just how big the universe was.
George Hudson , the ‘railway king’, 1800-1871
Hudson’s life may have ended in disgrace and ruin: but before that, the railway financier had done much to bring the railways to York and the north of England. By 1844 he had control of more than 1,000 miles of railway. He was three times Lord Mayor of York and, in 1845, was elected Conservative MP for Sunderland, a seat he held until 1859.
Bertha (‘Betty’) Stephenson (born in York in 1896, died at Étaples in France, 1918), First World War ambulance driver
Betty joined the YMCA volunteer corps in the First World War and was sent to France in 1916. She initially worked in the canteens that produced food for the soldiers on the front. In 1917 she became an ambulance driver at a hospital in Étaples. She was killed in an air attack while on duty in May 1918 and was one of only a handful of women awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme (the French equivalent of the Victoria Cross). She is buried amongst fallen soldiers in Étaples Military Cemetery.
John Thornton, c 1405-1433
Master glazier and stained glass artist, amongst whose many achievements was the making of York Minster’s stunning Great East Window
The Guilds of the City of York
York’s guilds were one of the most important features of city life in the 1300s. Some were professional guilds, others religious, but all had social, economic and spiritual roles. By around 1350 the guilds had began to stage and perform the cycle of York Corpus Christi or Mystery Plays on wagons around the city – plays that have been reinterpreted in such spectacular style in the Museum gardens this summer. The guilds also helped pay for funerals, the protection of widows and children and food on feast days.
Joseph Rowntree, 1836-1925
Rowntree turned a small and struggling cocoa factory into one of the world’s great chocolate dynasties – providing employment for generations of York people in the process. More than all this, however, he was a great philanthropist, who worked to improve adult literacy and transform the lives of his employees, by providing for them decent working conditions and – through his model village, New Earswick – decent housing.
John Snow (1813-1858), Queen Victoria’s anaesthetist
York-born Snow was instrumental in the development of anaesthetics in the mid-19th century. He attended Queen Victoria at the birth of two of her children to administer chloroform. He also proved that cholera is waterborne, helping to shape public health policy and saving many thousands of lives.
Dorothy Wilson, died 1717
Dorothy Wilson was a philanthropist whose legacy was four schools where pupils did not have to pay, almshouses for unmarried poor women and financial support for blind people. She helped ensure that thousands of young people had the opportunity to attend school, that hundreds of poor women had somewhere to live and hundreds of blind people were cared for.
John Barry, 1933-2011
Oscar-winning, York-born composer who wrote some of the most iconic film music of all time, including the soundtracks to 12 James Bond films and to Dances With Wolves and Out of Africa.
The son of Joseph Rowntree, Seebohm was a great social reformer, whose studies of poverty and unemployment in York published 100 years ago helped transform the way society thought about disadvantaged people and paved the way for the welfare state.
Mary Tuke, died 1752
Mary was one of York’s most successful businesswomen, owning her own grocery shop and trading independently. The shop was eventually left to her nephew William Tuke, who turned it into the tea and cocoa business that eventually became Rowntrees and Co. Mary was the matriarch of the extended Tuke family, which also went on to found The Retreat, a “beacon of human treatment for mental illness”.
John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, born 1949
The second most senior cleric in the Church of England, York’s first black archbishop – and a man of effortless charisma with a knack for articulating the concerns of ordinary people.
Mary Ann Craven, died 1900
Craven inherited her husband Thomas’s York confectionery business in 1862 on his death. She was aged just 33, and had three young children. She merged her husband’s company with the confectionery business her father Joseph Hick had left, and renamed the company MA Craven – creating the third of York’s famous chocolate dynasties
Dame Judi Dench , born 1934
Oscar-winning actress, star of films such as Shakespeare In Love and Mrs Brown, ‘M’ in the more recent James Bond films – and quite possibly the most famous person ever to come out of York. Enough said.
- Click here to vote for your York 800 hero