WE have a series of unusual views of York for you today: unusual because they mostly involve buildings that no longer exist, or which at least have been greatly changed.

Between them the photographs, which all come from Explore York's Imagine York archive, take in various streets in the city centre. But you may struggle to recognise some of them...

The pictures show:

1. The demolition of Nos. 18 and 19 Marygate by the city engineers in the early 1900s. The work was intended to expose the walls of St Mary's Abbey.

2. The Walmgate end of old Piccadilly (now known as St Denys Road) in about 1900. The wall to the right is the graveyard of St Denys' church. The view is looking towards the old York Prison walls (just visible to the left). The terraced houses in the centre of the photograph, which were just to the south west of St Denys' Church, were known as the Plow’s Rectory Buildings. According to F Finnegan's 1979 book 'Poverty and Prostitution: A Study of Victorian Prostitutes in York' these buildings constituted an 'unwholesome terrace amongst which there were a small number of ‘houses of ill fame’ such as ‘Todds’ and ‘Mrs Varley’s’. Several diseased and destitute prostitutes entered the workhouse from this address."

3. The spire of All Saints' Church on North Street in the 1920s. There appears to be some demolition work going on in the foreground, on George Hudson Street, with workmen apparently shovelling brick and stone onto horse-drawn carts. We're not sure what this work was all about - do any readers know. All Saints' is first mentioned in documents between 1166 and 1179 but the style of the church is mainly15th century.

4&5. A group of medieval buildings at Precentor's Court, in the shadow of York Minster, were demolished in the early 20th century. These two photographs, taken on May 7, 1913, show the demolition work just beginning. Today, a much more modern, square-built block stands on this site.

6. A man standing outside No 18 Garden Place in Hungate. The photograph was taken just before the building was demolished, and probably dates from the early 1930s. The silos of Leetham's Mill can be seen in the background.

7. These cyclists are in front of Fred Wood's grocer's shop on Goodramgate some time in the 1890s. The demolition work was being undertaken to create space for the opening of Deangate.

Stephen Lewis

  • All the photos on these pages, and thousands more like them, are held on Explore York’s Imagine York archive. You can browse this yourself by visiting imagineyork.co.uk/