Cannon at the Blue Bridge, barges at Brownie Dyke, and a long-ago excavation of St Mary's abbey - just a few of the images on these pages drawn from the wonderful collection of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS).

First up, those cannon. These had been captured at the Battle of Sebastopol in 1855 and became the Crimean War Memorial in York. They survived when the Blue Bridge as we know it today was built in 1929–30, and were only removed in 1941, when they were apparently scrapped as part of the war effort. There is no date on the photograph, but it was clearly taken when the Foss was in flood.

Next up, Brownie (or sometimes Browney, or even Browny) Dyke, in the Foss basin next to castle Mills Bridge. A lovely photograph, this one, showing barges in the basin (and demonstrating its potential as a boating centre today). Again, there's no date ion the photograph, but it too was taken when the Foss was in flood, so possibly dates from the same period as the photo of the cannon at Blue Bridge.

We know a little more about the third photograph. This shows a wagon parked at the side of Toft Green, and it was taken in the days before the North Eastern Railway offices were built in 1906.

Two photographs of Foss Islands Road as it looked in the early 1900s feature next. The Layerthorpe Hall Wesleyan Mission can just be seen on the far right-hand side of one image, with sheds belonging to JH Walker & Co, Builders, in the background. But we'd love to hear from anyone who can tell us more about what these photographs show.

And finally, a rare treat: sketches of an early excavation of St Mary's Abbey. We believe these come from Charles Wellbeloved's 1929 article "Account of Excavation of the Abbey of St. Mary, York." The Abbey, built by the Benedictines in 1088, were converted onto a palace for the use of King Henry VIII when he visited York after the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid 1500s, but had had long fallen into ruins by the early 1800s. The ruins were used as agricultural buildings before being excavated by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in the 1820s. These contemporary sketches give a good idea of what the excavation might have looked like...

Stephen Lewis

The photographs on these pages come from the collection of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS). 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