OH, the Sixties - they've got a lot to answer for.

Yes, we know it was the decade of free love, fashion and flower power - the era of the Beatles, pop art and psychedelia, in which the shackles of post-war austerity were finally shaken off and a new post-war generation finally found its mojo.

But architecturally it was pretty - well, dismal. Look at what it produced in York: Stonebow House - and the Viking Hotel.

That hotel, under a different name, still stands proudly on the banks of the River Ouse, gazing across at the graceful Guildhall. And what a monument to block-headed, blocky design it is: the ultimate square of a building put up in a decade that was supposed to be anything but.

We've been trawling through the electronic archives at The Press, and we came across a fascinating selection of photos from the 1960s.

They include our first three photographs today, which show the Viking Hotel in various stages of construction.

There's no date on the photos, but since the hotel opened in 1969 it is safe to say they must have been taken in the late Sixties. One photo shows the hotel, still shrouded by scaffolding, standing on what has almost become an island, sandwiched between the Ouse and a flooded North Street.

Speaking of floods, there's also a fantastic photograph from 1969 (maybe taken at the same time as the Viking Hotel picture) showing the Ouse Bridge Hotel with water lapping at the door.

The Ouse Bridge Hotel, we hear you ask? Well, yes, that's what the pub now known as the King's Arms was then called. It was a Sam Smiths/ Taddy Ales establishment - and it was clearly every bit as used to being flooded as the King's Arms is today. The barge moored in the river nearby looks like a relic of the lost age - it makes the photograph look much older than its 50 years, somehow.

Other Sixties photos on these pages today include a busy 1963 photo of Bootham (it is captioned Bootham Bridge: do any readers know what the refers to?) and a 1963 photograph showing construction work under way on Clifton Bridge.

There's also a lovely photograph dated 1960 showing pleasure boats on the Ouse, with Skeldergate Bridge visible in the distance. Beyond the the tree-lined bank to the left of the photograph is New Walk.

Stephen Lewis