York Press:

Lendal c1883. Watercolour by Tom Dudley. Picture courtesy York Museums Trust. From: The Streets of York

HERE'S the Lendal Post Office as you have never seen it. The neo-classical building at the far right of Tom Dudley's 1883 watercolour was built in the 1840s. It was replaced in 1884, just a year after Dudley painted the scene, by the Victorian red brick building we're familiar with today.

That isn't the only way the scene has changed since Dudley's time. According to The Streets of York, in which this painting appears, the buildings in the centre of the picture were also removed, in 1883. We suspect the new red brick post office occupied much of the space where they had stood as well. The new post office was set further back, however, making the street wider and allowing the corner of the Mansion House - the chimneys of which are visible looming in the background of Dudley's watercolour - to be seen by anyone standing in the street at this point today.

The original of this painting is part of the collection held by York Art Gallery. We reproduce it today courtesy of the York Museums Trust.

The Streets of York was first published last year to coincide with an exhibition of the same name at St Williams College. After making £70,000 for local charities when first published, a new imprint of the book has been brought out this year in time for Christmas, with all proceeds going to York Against Cancer.

In addition to Dudley's watercolour of Lendal, we have three paired 'then and now' views from The Streets of York, showing just how much certain areas of the city have changed down the years.

First up, is St Maurice's Road with a view of Monk Bar in the background. In 1881 when Tom Dudley (again) painted this scene, what is now St Maurice's Road was distinctly rural.

York Press:

Monk Bar Without, 1881. Watercolour by Tom Dudley. From: The Streets of York

Dudley's painting shows rustic fencing, an unmade road and a group of agricultural workers. A farmhouse stood on the grassy slope below the walls. Chris Shepherd's contemporary photograph

shows just how much the scene has changed - a busy modern road has replaced the rural scene.

Even more changed, if anything, is the end of Peaseholm Green. An early 1800s sketch by George Nicholson shows a long-vanished postern gate. Nicholson has labelled it the 'Peaseholme Green Postern', although it was better known as the Layerthorpe Postern, says The Streets of York. The old Layerthorpe Bridge can be seen to the right of the sketch.

York Press:

Peaseholme Green Postern. Sketch by George Nicholson, early 1800s. Picture courtesy York Museums Trust. From: The Streets of York

The Layerthorpe Postern was taken down in 1829, according to Streets of York. That's decades before the first photographs were taken. So the only visual evidence we have to rely on these days is sketches and drawings by artists like Nicholson. The area itself has undergone numerous changes since Nicholson's day, and is very different to what it was like 200 years ago, as shown by Chris Shepherd's contemporary photograph, taken from roughly the same viewpoint as Nicholson's sketch.

And finally, we have a view along Lawrence Street with Walmgate Bar visible in the distance. Charles Dillon painted the scene in about 1830, and it has actually changed less than you might expect in the nearly 200 years since, except that there is now a very different kind of traffic in the road, and less smoke belching from the house chimneys. Smoke aside, the roofscape of a whole stretch of the street is pretty much the same as when Dillon painted it...

York Press:

Lawrence Street, with Walmgate Bar in the distance, c1830. Watercolour by Charles Dillon. Picture: York Merchant Adventurers Company. From: The Streets of York

  • The Streets of York: Four Centuries of Change by Darrell Buttery, Ron Cooke, Stephen Lewis and Chris Shepherd is printed by York Publishing Services, priced £30. All proceeds from sale of the book will go to York Against Cancer. The book is available online from www.ypdbooks.com, from Amazon, from the York Against Cancer shops in Huntington and at York Hospital, and from Waterstones and the Minster bookshop.