Friday, March 25, 2005

100 years ago: An "interesting and remarkable" change in the position of the queen-oyster beds off the Yorkshire coast was, wrote a correspondent, made apparent by the dredging of trawlers fishing out of Scarborough and Hull. Less than thirty years previously this pink-coloured, fluted and fan-shaped shell-fish was found only on a bed about 70 miles north-east of the port. Recent reports put it as being found anywhere from 20 miles in the same direction, and within that distance due east. Strangely enough, though more common, the price of a box was ten times what it was 20 years previously. This was due to the fact of the queen-oyster having been found to be a most tempting bait for cod, and so long-liners who never paid more than 9d a box for the bait are now content to pay 6s or 7s, and frequently the price runs to 8s or 9s.

50 years ago: When York's Parliament House was demolished in Pavement in 1910, meticulous care was taken to ensure that it could easily be rebuilt, but for more than 40 years its skeleton had been stacked near the East End of York Minster, and it had come to light that it may not now be possible to re-erect the original building. The fate of "this unsightly stack" of oak timbers at the junction of Deangate and Goodramgate was still in the balance, but it was expected that the timbers could be better used to renovate existing ancient buildings than to re-erect Parliament House. The late Frank Green had each timber numbered and a zinc label bearing that number nailed to each beam, however they had been left so long that many of the labels were no longer attached as the nails had rusted, and the plans were believed to have been destroyed during the war.

25 years ago: York Minster's famous chiming clock, set on the eastern wall of the North Transept was given a face-lift by the Minster painter. The 18th century clock, with its distinctive figures of Gog and Magog, was built by Hindley of York in 1750, he custodial figures striking their chimes every quarter hour. It was originally over the south door of the cathedral, but was later moved to its present location, where it was now receiving its spring clean, the painting being the final stage of it.

Updated: 16:15 Thursday, March 24, 2005