Ol' man river, dat ol' man river, he mus' know sumpin', but don't say nuthin', he jes' keeps rollin', he keeps on rollin' along.

Paul Robeson's words were written about the Mississippi, not the Ouse. And they were sung by a black stevedore lamenting the harsh life of slaves working the riverboats of the Big Muddy - there haven't, thankfully, been too many of those on the Ouse.

Yet there's something timeless about the idea of a great river just keeping on rolling along, heedless of the firefly lives of those who live, work and play along its banks. Accent apart, Robeson's could just as well apply to the great river that runs through the heart of York. It has been rolling along for centuries, while the Celts, the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans all came and went - or, in some cases, settled.

We carried a wonderful photograph of barges of the River Ouse in July 1970 on the centre pages of this newspaper last Wednesday.

That made us wonder what other photographs we have of the river hidden away in our files. A little digging unearthed this selection of photos from the 1950s to the 1980s.

They capture the full, moody magnificence of the Ouse, rolling along and rolling along as the people who live in the city on its banks live out their lives, and then make way for the next generation, and the next...

Stephen Lewis