ONE thing about being in lockdown is that it can make it more difficult to find old photographs with which to fill the pages of Yesterday Once More.

Thank goodness at least for The Press's (very limited) digital archive of old photographs. Searching through that from home, we stumbled across a series of old photos of Parliament Street that we hadn't seen for a while (in fact, for about 20 years). There were some crackers in there, ranging in date from an 1872 view of the Parliament Street market to a 2000 shot of the Parliament street fountain - in the days when it actually had water...

There were so many photos, in fact, that we decided to do a two-part look back at the street's history, starting with the older photos and finishing next week with a look at the street's makeover when the city centre was pedestrianised in 1991 - and how it has changed further since then. Just to tempt you, there's even a photo of the 'splash palace' being built...

But that's for next week. Today we begin with the street's earlier history. Not that it is one of York's truly ancient streets. It was laid out between 1834 and 1836, running across the site of older houses and shops which had to be demolished, as well as the original Jubbergate (what is now Jubbergate was once High Jubbergate, according to the York History website). The street was specifically designed as the site of the city's market, which had previously been split between two sites, one in Pavement and the other at Thursday Market (today's St Sampson's Square). The new street was designed to be wide enough so that market stalls could be placed down the middle. And it was named after the 1833 Act of Parliament that was required before it could be built.

The 'History of the County of York', edited by PM Tillott and published in 1961, gives a much more detailed account of Parliament Street's origins.

"By 1830 the restricted space of Pavement was being increasingly used for stalls of city shopkeepers, and by hawkers and pedlars, to the exclusion of legitimate stall-holders from the country; the corporation had neglected to enforce its regulations, and the offenders were well entrenched," the History records.

"In Thursday Market and Pavement alike the (York) Corporation's negligence in collecting market tolls had encouraged the illegal erection of stalls, and occupiers of houses and shops around Thursday Market were themselves letting the ground in front of their windows to stall-holders who did not pay tolls.

"By way of remedy an Inspector of Markets was appointed in December 1829 to have control over all stall-holders; at the same time, different sections of Pavement were assigned to different commodities, and the sale of haberdashery, hardware, and other 'ordinary shop goods' in the market was prohibited."

Even these new regulations were flouted, however: and the corporation began to think about how to move the markets to create more space.

Several plans were put forward: one even envisaged a new market on the site of the 'Water Lanes' near King's Staith. But eventually the Corporation settled on a plan to link the Pavement and Thursday Market markets by a broad new street. The 1833 Act of Parliament gave permission not only for demolition of old buildings, but also strengthened the Corporation's control of the markets. "The new street was to be used only by the Corporation which was to retain its powers of regulating all markets and fairs in York," the History notes. The work of demolishing old property and building the new street began in 1834, and the new market was opened in July 1836. Thursday Market, which was at about this time renamed St. Sampson's Square, remained in use but there were no longer stalls in Pavement.

And that's the way it remained until the York Market was moved again, this time to Newgate. But that's a story for next week

Stephen Lewis