EAGLE-eyed readers might recognise one of the photographs on these pages. It shows the part-demolished St Crux Church on Pavement in the 1880s: and we used it as a poster photograph on the centre pages of The Press ten days or so ago.

No apologies for using it again. We liked it so much that we went back to Explore York's wonderful Imagine York archive from which it had come, and dug out some more St Crux photos. So today we have a whole gallery of them...

In its heyday, St Crux was, undoubtedly, one of the most distinctive churches in York. The church of the 'saint of the holy cross' (yes, that's what the name means) which once stood on the corner of Pavement and Shambles had a beautiful Italianate tower unlike anything else in the city.

While the church itself was actually mentioned in the Domesday Book, its tower wasn't that old. In 1736 the historian Francis Drake described it as 'new', while at the same time praising the 'handsome... steeple brick coined with stone.'

The church and its tower went through a decline in fortunes, however. The Victorians apparently considered the tower 'unsightly', and the church itself obviously deteriorated throughout Victorian times. In 1872 it was deemed unsafe, and the decision was made to demolish it.

Despite the objections of The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, demolition work began in the early 1880s. But it provoked an uproar, and for three years - from 1884 to 1887 - the demolition work halted while belated attempts were made to find ways to restore the church. Those attempts ultimately failed, and what was left of the church was demolished in 1887. Ironically, according to Ian Drake of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS), a building which had been deemed a threat to public safety proved so hard to knock down that eventually it had to be dynamited.

We have carried photographs of St Crux before - but never so many in one gallery. They show the church both before the demolition work began, complete with iconic tower, and during the time it stood partly demolished on the corner of Shambles, shorn of its tower and much of its beauty.

Stephen Lewis

All the photos on these pages, and thousands more, are held on Explore York’s Imagine York archive. You can browse it yourself at imagineyork.co.uk/