The view of York Minster's west front from Duncombe Place is one of the the finest and most famous in York. Yet how often have you seen that view with a horse-drawn cart and an electric tram passing each-other in the foreground?

What we love most about he first photograph on these pages is the collision of ages: the past represented by the cart; the bright new future by the electric tram sweeping around the corner into St Leonard's Place.

The photograph was taken in 1925, which was still clearly a time before motor cars had become kings of the road in York. The age of the tram wasn't tom last much longer, of course - York's electric tramlines all closed in 1935. But the passengers sitting on the open top floor of the tram in this photograph taken in 1925 wouldn't have known that.

This photograph, like the others on these pages today, comes from the collection of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society. They range in date from 1900 to 1956 - and between them amount to a historical stroll through the centre of York.

Finkle Street is the little alleyway that leads from the corner of St Sampson's Square through to Back Swinegate. The alley's name most likely comes from the Danish/ Scandinavian word 'winkel' (or sometimes 'fenkel') meaning bend, or corner, or elbow: this really is a little elbow of a street. The Black Bull pub dominates the entrance to the street in a photograph taken in 1920. Children have been arranged neatly in groups by the photographer, their clothing giving a real sense of the period.

Other photographs/ postcards today show:

- Marks & Spencer Ltd, the 'originators of penny bazaars', in Pavement in 1907. Admission free, proclaims the sign above the entrance

- Coney Street in 1909, with both horse drawn carriages and an early motor car

- Micklegate in 1909, effortlessly elegant in a way this beautiful street is now beginning to be again

- Monk Bar in the 1920s, with horse drawn cart and a large motor car

- Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate in 1956: a wonderfully busy, if rather chaotic, scene. Where were traffic lights when you needed them?

Stephen Lewis

The Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS) has been promoting and protecting the history, heritage and architecture of York and Yorkshire since 1842. You can find out more about the organisation by visiting