THIS is a corner of York that has changed a lot down the years. Our brilliant photo, which comes from Explore York Libraries and Archives, shows the junction of Tanner Moat, Rougier Street and Museum Street in about 1955.

And what’s that tall building which dominates the photo? A multi-storey parking space, that’s what... for horses.

Originally known as Walker’s horse repository (though the name changed down the years) it was built in 1884 - before the coming of the car changed everything - as accommodation for horses and carriages.

Last year, reader John Shaw brought us a brilliant cutting from the Yorkshire Gazette of June 28, 1884, which gave a wonderful description of the ‘recently erected’ repository.

“One of the most commodious horse and carriage repositories in the North of England has recently been erected, from the designs of Mr WG Penty, architect, York, for Mr Thomas Walker, the well-known auctioneer, of York,” the newspaper reported.

“The sale-yard is faced with buff bricks, but red bricks are introduced in a decorative sense. Round the upper portion of the interior premises there is an arcading of horse-shoe arches, which impart a very picturesque effect. Ample room is afforded for each animal, whilst a special feature in regard to the stalls is the application of the most approved hygiene principles. The facade of the repository, which is now in progress, is in the same style of architecture as the interior, and when finished will be very imposing.”

Indeed it was imposing. There’s no accounting for taste, however. According to Mr Shaw, in later years the repository was sniffily dismissed as “the ugliest building in York”. The upper storeys were demolished in the early 1960s, leaving just a couple of the distinctive Moorish archways behind.

Now this corner of York is about to change again. The whole north-west side of Rougier Street is to undergo a £150 million redevelopment. Three buildings are to be demolished: Northern House, which now stands on the corner seen in this photo: plus Rougier House and the Society Bar. The York Archaeological Trust wants to build a new ‘Roman attraction’ - a Roman version of Jorvik, if you like - where Rougier House and the Society Bar now is.

And the area where the horse repository once stood? That is likely to be occupied by some of the 228 new flats, plus cafés, shops and restaurants, proposed under the scheme. Or else for a new, 145-bed hotel. If the hotel is built here, how nice it would be if it could be called Walker’s...

Stephen Lewis