CAR PARK full proclaims the two notices on York's Exhibition Square, despite just 16 vehicles sitting in the bays. Look closer and it seems the attendant has tied the signs to a couple of the cars before taking a well earned rest by leaning on an MG Magnette.

Imagine any of that happening today? The owners would probably sue for damages – literally.

Another thing you won't see any more is cars being parked on Duncombe Place or Parliament Street. Come to think of it, there's another oddity in that picture. When did you last see a wholesale tobacco merchant?

And behind the parked cars on Tower Street, in front of the Magistrate's Court clock tower is another casualty of time; Castle Garage, where now stands the Hilton Hotel.

It's also interesting to note how parking has changed since the 1950s. Back then there may have been far fewer cars, but everywhere seems to have been available to motorists. And in those sedate days there was plenty of space; even room to stop for a chat with fellow drivers, like these people at Clifford's Tower.

The roads were no quieter, though. In the 1950s many commuters rode a bike and buses were a more common sight, which meant competing for space, especially during rush hour was as bad as it is now.

Just to the left, where Fenwick's now stands, was also a car park. When the city council proposed a major redevelopment at the site, they agreed that excavations could take place while plans were being finalised. In May 1976, rare traces of Viking timber buildings were revealed, which eight years later, led to the creation of the Jorvik Centre.

Finally we look at the pedestrianised passage between Minster Yard and College Street. Doesn't it look strange with so many cars and its curious how quickly the open air stonemasons yard has become a familiar sight. The grass looks positively bare without it.

Some say these were the good old days, but while traffic congestion is a bigger issue now, you have to admit we've learned how hide parked cars a lot better.

And places like Minster Yard, Parliament Street and Exhibition Square are undoubtedly the better for it.

York Press:
St Sampson’s Square was a handy place to park in the centre of town.

York Press:
The car park at the side of St George’s Cinema in Castlegate, which was incorporated into the Coppergate centre.