RECOGNISE this building, anyone?

No, it's not Our Lady Row in Goodramgate. Believe it or not, this is actually St William's College. If you could look left from here, you'd see the East Front of York Minster looming large at the head of the street.

The college building looks very different today, neatly blocked out in black and white. When this photograph was taken in the 1890s, it was more run down.

Originally built in about 1465 to provide accommodation for priests, by Victorian times the college had fallen on hard times, and had been been divided up into small tenements and shops - you can see the displays in the windows of this photo from the Explore York archives.

The college was bought in about 1900 by Frank Green, who owned the nearby Treasurer's House, and in 1902 he sold it to the church authorities. It was extensively restored by the architect Temple Moore in 1906.

The two gardeners in the photo - one pushing and the other apparently pulling a lawnmower - are standing on a piece of land which, according to the picture's caption, had only recently been cleared of houses.

We know that right at the end of the 1890s some buildings at the south west corner of College Street were demolished, both to open up the street itself and also to allow for the creation of Deangate. Before that, there had been only a narrow, tunnel like entrance leading from College Street onto Goodramgate. This photograph, therefore, was presumably taken not long after the houses had been demolished, but just before St William's College was bought by Frank Green.

Stephen Lewis