A PLAIN white envelope arrived at The Press offices in Walmgate. There was no letter inside, and no return address on the envelope, so we don't know who sent it.

What the envelope did contain was five pristine postcards showing scenes of old York in the late 1800s.

Each postcard included a simple caption and the label 'North Yorkshire County Library', but nothing more. The captions, however, are enough to at least be able to identify the streets pictured, and the date of the photographs.

We've seen the views of Goodramgate and of Peasholme Green before. The other three, however, are new to us.

We'd love to hear from anyone who knows more about the scenes pictured. Does anyone remember hearing about The George Hotel in Coney Street, for example?

Anyway, here they are:

- Coney Street, showing The George Hotel, 1867

- Peasholme Green, showing the Black Swan Inn, 1880-1890. Notice that the gables all seem to have windows that were filled in. Would this have been because of the window tax? This was repealed in 1851, 30 years before the photograph was taken, but perhaps the windows were simply never replaced?

- Bootham in about 1890. Notice the sign for the School for the Blind on the corner

- Jubbergate in about 1890. There are several photographs in circulation showing this corner building, which housed 'A Wells, Brokers', but we've never seen one taken from quite this angle. The group of people gathered in front of the store bring the scene to life

- Goodramgate in about 1890, before the opening of Deangate. Several of the buildings on the left hand side of this scene were demolished to make way for Deangate.

Stephen Lewis