YORK, July 1921: The city’s beautiful, curved railway station is seen in its full glory in this marvellous aerial photograph taken almost 100 years ago.

When it opened, on June 25, 1877, the station was the largest in the world. It was York’s third railway station, built to replace the former main railway station (York’s second) which was inside the city walls. This itself had been built in 1841 to replace a temporary station outside the walls.

For many years after the “new” railway station opened in 1877, the older station within the walls remained in use as siding accommodation. On the extreme right of this 1921 photograph you can still see the older station’s train sheds, with a row of carriages lined up outside.

To the left of the graceful curve of the “new” railway station in the photograph can be seen the various sidings associated with the carriageworks and other elements of York’s rail industry, which were thriving in 1921. Other things to notice include the taxis lined up in front of the station, and the collection of buildings just inside the corner of the city wall in the right foreground. Most if not all of these buildings are now gone.

The photograph also shows the Queen Street bridge, and the two arches which had had to be cut in the city wall to allow access to the 1841 station inside the walls.

The photograph comes from a new book, England’s Railway Heritage From The Air by Peter Waller, which will be published next week by Historic England, priced £35.

The book draws upon 150 unique photos from the Aerofilms collection held in the Historic England archive to depict England’s railway heritage. For almost a century, says Peter Waller, photographers employed by Aerofilms recorded the changing face of Britain’s railways. “The aerial views offer a unique perspective on how the railways could dominate the landscape,” he says.

They certainly dominate this photo - but in the best way possible.

Stephen Lewis