NOW here’s an atmospheric photograph. It shows Parliament Street in the 1940s, when York market was still held in the street several days a week. The photograph was clearly taken on a non market day, when the street was used for parking. But you can clearly make out the outlines where the market stalls would have stood on a market day.

Parliament Street is actually a comparatively new street, at least by York standards: it dates back to the early 1830s, when it was built principally to host York’s markets.

Until then, there had been two markets - one in Pavement, the other in the Thursday Market (now St Sampson’s Square). However, according to Hugh Murray, Sarah Riddick and Richard Green in their 1990 publication York Through The Eyes Of The Artist, there wasn’t enough space in the two markets to cater for all the traders.

In 1827, the York Corporation sought an Act of Parliament to enable “the linking of Pavement and Thursday Market by a broad, new street, and the extensive demolition of old property.”

The Act of Parliament was granted in 1833, old buildings standing in the way were demolished, and the new street opened in 1834. It was known as Parliament Street because of the Act of Parliament required to build it.

The market continued to be held in Parliament Street several days a week right up until 1964, when Newgate Market opened.

Stephen Lewis