A NEW book looking at old shops, pubs and businesses in Bishophill and Skeldergate will be published next week to mark local history month.

‘Bishophill and Skeldergate: exploring old shops, pubs and industries in York’ takes a close look at some of the businesses which were once so common in the area.

They include a pub with the tantalising name ‘The Putrid Arms’ – and another that once housed wild animals and also acted as a temporary stud for horse breeders.

The book includes a ‘surprising number of intriguing details about Bishophill during the 19th and 20th centuries’, says Susan Major of the award-winning Clements Hall Local History Group, which has produced the new book.

“Some Bishophill buildings involved famous figures, such as an important arts supporter with links to Charlie Chaplin,” Susan said.

“Skeldergate was the setting for a Wilkie Collins novel, as he visited regularly, and another popular Victorian novelist was born locally. There’s also a fascinating tale about a personal encounter with Napoleon.”

Local people have also contributed memories of working at Cooke’s, the world-famous optical firm in Bishophill, which surprisingly made use of spiders’ webs in its industrial processes.

“The area also housed a famous record label warehouse in Fetter Lane for Indie music records in the 1980s, Red Rhino Records, promoting music icons such as Jarvis Cocker,” Susan said.

‘Bishophill and Skeldergate: exploring old shops, pubs and industries in York’, which includes 136 pages and 124 photographs and maps, will be launched at the Golden Ball in Cromwell Road on Wednesday May 22 at 6pm.

It will be available to buy on launch evening, and from local shops the following day, priced £10.