ANYONE who lived in York in the 1970s and 1980s will remember 'Mad' Albert - a colourful character who loved to shout "move it" to passersby.

Albert - whose surname was Nicholson - was often seen wearing a black and yellow sports scarf and sporting a military beret.

He was affectionately known as 'Mad' Albert because of his flamboyant antics which included blocking buses by standing in front of them in the street and bellowing at tourists.

Many people recall how he bought raffle tickets and stood by the Bar Walls near Station Rise and charged gullible tourists for access to the city landmark.

Albert, who died aged 80 in 1993, is so fondly remembered by people in York that a Facebook group demanding a memorial in his honour has 1,700 followers.

Phil Coxon is one of the founders of the group which would like to see a memorial plaque placed on a bench in York in Albert's memory.

Phil, 56, who went to Nunthorpe Boys Grammar School, said: "We would like to have a plaque, maybe at the end of Parliament Street, which said: ''Mad' Albert Nicholson, a character of York'. Just to recognise him as one of York's characters."

York Press:

'Can you move!' was one of Albert's catchphrases

He admits they have had some "grief" over the title of their Facebook group (titled The Mad Albert Memorial Campaign) for the use of the word 'mad'. Phil said: "That was his nickname. Nobody thought he had problems. He was a character. A drinker - but perhaps not as much as others."

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So what do we know about Albert? Thanks to the Facebook group, quite a lot.

His full name was Albert Edward Nicholson and he was from Hull. He was born in on July 18, 1913 and died in York on August 13, 1993 having just reached his 80th birthday.

His death notice in The Yorkshire Evening Press reveals he died in Willow House, Walmgate, but had previously lived in Groves House.

York Press:

Albert's death notice in The Yorkshire Evening Press in 1993

Unsurprisingly, many recollections - and photos - of Albert are of him in York pubs, often with a pint in his hand and surrounded by revellers.

There are several photos of him with York punk band Cyanide.

York Press:

Albert in the pub with York band Cyanide

According to Facebook posts, he often collected glasses in local pubs in return for a few pints.

Darryl Watkinson shared this memory: "My mum used to work behind the bar in The Stonebow (The Terrace nowadays) when Albert came in. 'I can't serve you Albert you know you're barred!'. He apparently accepted this and walked out and five seconds later walked in the other door. 'Albert I've just told you you're barred!'."

And his reply? "How many buckin' pubs do you work in?"

York Press:

Albert on a night out in York

Dave Crossfield has a more poignant tale. He recalled: "I worked in the Corner House from 84 to 89. Albert would come and collect glasses and we would give him a couple of drinks.

"In 88 we hadn't seen him for a few weeks so we went to the flat he lived in down the road.

"He was half starved and cold. He had pulled most of the floorboards up to burn in the fireplace.

"My mate got in touch with the council and got him a place in a care home in the Groves.

"They clothed him and fed him but he had to stop all his drinking. He still came into the Corner and used to thank us, but always complained about the matron at the home. We even got some of his family come from Hull to thank us. He was a really really nice bloke."

York Press:

Albert in the pub and at York station

Albert worked at Birch's Builders and as an odd-job gardener.

Barry Lawn recalls: "He was a lovely guy. I worked with him in the building trade in the 60s - a good grafter, bless him. When peeps refer to him as Mad Albert I cringe. Respect."

Albert is thought to have been a war veteran. Phil Coxon says Albert told many people he had served during the Second World War. Phil Coxon believes Albert may have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

Phil recounts a story that Albert told about being trapped under rubble during the war and hearing his rescuers approach. Apparently they said: "Can you move?".

'Can you move?' was one of Albert's many catchphrases, along with "Move it" - although Phil says it sounded more like "Moob it" because Albert may have had some missing teeth.

York Press:

Albert was known for wearing a hat and his yellow and black sports scarf

Darren Ellerby recalls Albert standing on Rowntree Bridge shouting at cars "Can you move?". He adds: "He was a great guy and a great character."

Malcolm Patterson has another memory from Rowntree's. "Albert used to walk past Rowntree's factory regularly. Remember the front of the factory on Haxby Road has five floors; we would open a window or, if we were on the roof, we would shout: 'Move it, move it, move it'. It would drive him mad - but we all loved him and thought he was a wonderful character."

Jed Jones captured a photo of Albert bellowing at passersby in Coppergate in 1981.

He said: "I was wandering aimlessly around York with a camera for a college photography assignment and happened to stumble on Albert, mid-bellow."

York Press:

Jed's photo of Albert by All Saints church, with a close-up inset

He said he took the photo from a safe distance. " I didn't dare make it obvious in case he turned on me!"

In the photo, you can make out an animated Albert in front of All Saints church - with people turning to look at him.

Jed said: "The reactions of everyone around are great and it's a good view of Coppergate pre-Jorvik Viking Centre days - the photo was taken in 1981."

Here are some more colourful memories of Albert from The Mad Albert Memorial Campaign Facebook group:

Jane Hamilton: "I’ve never forgotten being on a bus when Mad Albert got on and he hit me on the head with his newspaper during one of his full on rants! What a character."

Carol Dixon: "I cannot walk down Coney Street without thinking about him. I used to meet my pals outside Woolworths and Albert used to entertain me whilst I waited."

Karen Burrows: "I liked him best when he had a plant in a pot and was shaking it at all the taxi drivers - mud going all over the bonnets; 'Can you puck in move!'."

Mark Speck: "I can remember Albert in the Winning Post with round cushion cover on his head each time Yellow Submarine was played on jukebox - shouting 'Move it!"

Rob Oldfield: "I used to be a signwriter in the 80s and always kept a look out for Albert, who would shake my ladder and shout 'Get some work done!'."

Simon Weeds: "I have many fond memories of Albert, but my fave is when I was on the way home from Huntington school on the 22 bus. Albert got on the bus carrying a garden fork and a spade. He was wearing wellie boots and over the top off his left boot he also had a big bandage. When I asked him what had happened, he said that he had stepped on a nail so he had put on the bandage. Then he banged the spade on the floor of the bus, said to the driver: 'Can you move'?, then we all shouted: 'Move it!'. Ah York in the early 80s - it was a real town then."

Steven Horwell: "I remember old Albert when I was a teen. I would see him all over town on nights out. I remember him in the middle of Gillygate shouting 'Moob it!' and trying to headbutt everything in sight. Good old days. And I remember we talked to him sober and he was fine, so I think the drink made him like that."