IT isn't often that you get a completely new view of York Minster opening up. Usually, it is just the opposite: new developments in York block off views of the cathedral.

For a short while in the late 1950s, however, people living in The Groves were treated to an entirely new view of the Minster, thanks to the demolition of condemned houses.

Naturally, The Press was on hand to record this. The newspaper carried a photograph of the scene in May 1959. "A new view of the Minster has been provided by The Groves clearance scheme in Lowther Street, where rows of old houses have been demolished, clearing a site through to Townend Street," read the caption. "Eventually, the site will be occupied by a three-storey block, with shops on the ground floor and maisonettes above. Beyond that, fronting on to Townend Street, will be a three-storey block of flats."

We stumbled across this photograph, together with four others showing the demolition in The Groves in the 1950s, in an old folder marked 'York: Historic Photos' that is gathering dust on a shelf at the Press offices in Walmgate. The 1950s weren't that long ago. We wonder if any readers remember this clearance - and the surprising view of The Minster that resulted.

The same dusty old folder turned up some other interesting photographs.

One, dating from October 1963, shows two pleasingly old-fashioned cars waiting at the junction of Green Dykes Lane and Thief Lane, beside a 'Halt' sign. It is a comforting photograph, somehow - perhaps because of the shape of the cars. But the caption reveals a darker secret. The halt sign was newly installed. The reason for it? A University of York student had been killed at this very junction not long before...

And finally, fast forward to September 1971, and a great photograph we found of the 'new' bridge at Water Lane taken the day before it officially opened. Workmen can be seen still on the bridge, finishing up, while a queue of cars is heading towards the camera on the road nearby. "The Landing Lane roadworks, cutting off a dangerous corner, and the bridge, which will be officially opened tomorrow," says the caption.

A story from The Press pasted onto the back of the photograph adds a little more detail. "A new bridge and part of a new stretch of road linking Boroughbridge Road with Water End will be in use tomorrow," it says. "Contractors are starting on the final stages of the scheme to improve on the city's biggest traffic hold-up points. Traffic will be diverted on to the new stretch at Water End and back on to the old road just before traffic lights at Boroughbridge Road."

We love the optimism of that 'final stages of the scheme to improve on the city's biggest traffic hold-up points'. It is such a relief to know that all York's traffic problems were sorted out in 1971. Imagine if we'd still been living with traffic jams today...

Stephen Lewis