THE Clements Hall Local History Group's last book, about Nunnery Lane, is still warm off the press. Yet already the award-winning group has started its next project - exploring the history of Bishophill.

It's a part of York that boasts a wealth of history dating back to Roman times. “You could say it reflects some of the most distinctive historical periods in the country," says history group chair Anne Houson.

There are plenty of notable historical figures associated with the area, too. The Roman emperor Severus - the first black emperor - was based in York in about 210AD, and his HQ may well have been in Bishophill. George Villiers, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham and a powerful 17th century courtier and politician, spent time at the Fairfax house in Bishophill, now demolished.

York Press:

George Villiers, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham

John Snow, regarded as the father of modern epidemiology for recognising that cholera was carried in water, was born in North Street - there's a monument to him in North Street Gardens. Thomas Cooke, meanwhile, opened the Buckingham Works in Bishophill in 1855 - it became the world’s first industrial producer of optical instruments.

There are literary connections: Anne Lister, the lesbian diarist who features in Gentleman Jack, stayed frequently at 58 Micklegate; while Richard Chicken was a local eccentric who is regarded by many as the model for Charles Dickens' Mr Micawber. And there's tragedy: Private George Ellison was the last British soldier killed in World War I. The Last Post was played in his memory at his birthplace in Skeldergate in 2018.

So the group has plenty of history to work on. It is also researching the more recent history of the area's corner shops and pubs.

York Press:

Jackson’s hot pie shop at the corner of Buckingham Street and Skeldergate

To get things started, the group will be holding a free exhibition on Saturday December 4 from 11am - 2pm, at Jacobs Well in Trinity Lane: a chance to see some interesting displays - and to chat to group members about the area's history. One for the diary...