PEOPLE always like a good gawp if there is something unusual going on. And in 1953, the York city walls just south of Monk Bar offered the perfect vantage point from which to observe archaeologists excavating a Roman corner tower near Aldwark. The tower, which was uncovered just inside St Maurice's Road, presumably represented the remains of the south west corner of the old Roman fortress which once stood here.

The York Corporation took a series of photographs which provide a good record of the excavation. But our favourite photo - which shows a group of men standing on the city wall and looking down on the archaeologists working below - was taken by an unknown photographer.

It is one of seven photographs broadly showing the area around Aldwark which we feature this week.

All come from Explore York's wonderful Imagine York website. Two show York Corporation photographs of the Roman tower as the dig proceeded.

Others show:

- The city walls near Layerthorpe Bridge some time between 1905 and 1912. The photo is full of detail. To the left, a man can be seen breaking stone. The large building and chimney looming in the background belonged to John J. Hunt's Ebor Brewery on Aldwark. The yard on the left, meanwhile, shows signs for Martin Caffrey, a builder who lived at 29 Portland Street between 1905 and 1912, and James C. Martin who was a whitesmith, locksmith and bellhanger. He lived in Emmerson Street until 1909 when he may have died.

- The round tower on the city walls above Layerthorpe postern, overlooking Jewbury, in the 1920s. The buildings and chimneys of the John J. Hunt Ebor Brewery in Aldwark can again be seen in the background. This operated until the 1950s when it was taken over by Camerons.

- Pipes for the cooling tower on Foss islands Road ready to be floated into position across the river in the 1910s. In the background the Minster can be seen clearly against the sky, with the tower of St Cuthbert's church to the right. The two chimneys of Hunt's Brewery in Aldwark are also visible to the right of the frame.

- Aldwark housing photographed in 1962, showing just how run-down much of the area once was. The photograph shows the back of 22-30 Aldwark on the morning of 29th November 1962. The yard at the left of the photograph has a large wooden construction which may be a pigeon loft. Washing is drying in the foreground.

Stephen Lewis

All the photos on these pages, and thousands more, are held on Explore York’s wonderful Imagine York archive. You can browse it yourself by visiting