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Friday, 4 August 2017

Another day in York.

Wednesday was Helen's birthday and we had decided to stay in York to celebrate. Helen had wanted to see the interior of Fairfax House so that was to be our first stop. It is always a pleasure to walk through York and it is always good, where ever you are, to look up to see the more original sites of the city.

Just of Coney Street is St. Marin's. This was one of the reputedly 365 churches that were within the city walls. There was probably a church here before William the Conqueror, but the remains here are from the 15th Century and it was then one of the main parish churches. It was destroyed by enemy action in 1942. Fortunately the stained glass window from 1447 was removed at the start of the war. After the Victory it was decided to use the remaining walls in a new building that would be smaller. The use of the mixing the ancient with modern has resulted in a special place. Outside is the Clock that is driven by rods from the interior. The clock dates from before 1730. The first mention of the nautical figure at the top comes in 1779. On top of the clock is a naval officer in a tricorn hat holding some sort of a nautical instrument. It was said to have been a quadrant but the present instrument is not really anything known. He actually follows the sun round. He was badly burned in the fire following the bombing in 1942 and he was repaired and the clock restored in the 1960's.

Further down Coney Street is this lovely building that housed Woolworth's, then Boots and now TK Maxx, but look above and it transcends all that goes on below.

Clifford's Tower is built on the motte of a Norman castle from 1068. The original wooden building burned down in 1190 following the mass suicide of 150 jews that were seeking safety in the tower. The tower was rebuilt in stone during the 13th Century. It was a Kings, Castle but was never really used as a residence. It was burned down once again in the Civil War but by the 1820's it had been used as a prison and courthouse etc. It was called Clifford's Tower after around 1590. It was either after the Clifford family who thought they should be hereditary Constables to the castle, or Roger de Clifford who was executed here following the Battle of Boroughbridge.

Opposite the motte of Clifford's Tower in the 1820's and 30's a new court was built in the bailey yard and it is still there today.

 Fairfax House is on Castlegate and is a magnificent Georgian building. Above is the house next door that was converted to a cinema in the 1920's. It is now used as the visitor entrance to the house and is a lovely facade on its own. Next door was probably built in the 1740 and a few years later was bought by Viscount Fairfax a local merchant in 1759. He had it remodeled as a dowry for his only surviving daughter. It has superb ceilings and other features that have somehow survived the conversion of the next door to a cinema and being knocked through to Fairfax house to make a ball room upstairs. It was finally bought by the York Civic Trust in 1980 and completely restored. The beautiful Georgian furniture displayed in the room settings was the collection of Noel Terry, of the chocolate family, who left it to the Civic Trust to keep it together. The whole house is beautiful with beautiful stuff in it and a great way to spend a couple of hours.

We went in search of something to eat and headed down Fossegate. This is the Fosse and really reminds me of Brugge.

We found our lunch at the tiny Hairy Fig cafe that is by the street entrance to the 660 year old Merchant Adventurers' Hall. An Adventure was somebody who risked, or ventured, his own money in overseas trade in order to bring goods and wealth back to York. There is a Great Hall where they worked and rested, and undercroft that was used as alms housing and a chapel. Above the door is their crest.

This was the very first purpose built cinema in York when opened in 1911 and called the Electric Cinema. It later became the Scala and was closed in 1951.

This is the detail of the head at the top. I want to know what the pipe in the mouth is for.

This is now the Hop Pizzeria that is owned bu Ossett Brewery. The detail at the apex of the front shows it was built in 1898 and it seems that it was actually built for W.H. Waudby, fishmongers. The interior still has large amounts of glazed bricks that were to assist in keeping the shop hygienically clean. Another great building on the this short street of Fossegate.

Down the famous Shambles, or the street of butchers, there were loads of people queuing to get in a shop. It was newly opened the 'Shop that Must not be Named', and is full of Harry Potter stuff. Apparently J.K. Rowling thought of The Shambles when she was thinking of Diagon Alley. No further reason is needed to open such a shop and people were desperate to give them their money, just like at Kings Cross Station. It is a mad world!!

Above the shop windows, on the corner of Petergate and Minster Gates is this sculpture that is dated 1801 John Wolstenholme. The iscription also tells us that the figure is of Minerva who was the Goddess of wisdom and drama. Hence the pile of books and the owl owl. It is probable that when the figure was installed there was a book shop below.

The Minster is a magnificent building from the outside as well as the inside. The rose window at the top of the south transept was a miracle of survival as following the fire of 1984 much of the pieces of glass cracked but did not fall out and the window was restored and back in place by 1987. The stone work was completed by 1250 but the glass is dated from the 16th, 18th and 20th Centuries.

This is a very elaborate Boer War Memorial that was unveiled in 1905. It was desigened by George Bodley RA and erected by Bridgeman and Co of Lichfield. It records the 1490 who lost their lives during this conflict. Most how ever were lost due to disease rather than in action. The names include two women nurses who also died.

On the way back to the boat Helen took this photo of a squirrel that was nibbling away at a strawberry that a tourist had given it.

Later that night we went back out for a pizza before attending an immersive theatre evening! Rather than one of the many Ghost Walks that are guided around the City every night I had booked us for a play that took place around the streets. It was very good, and unusual as it was a Sherlock Holmes story A study in Scarlet.

There is a trail around York where you go looking for cats. It is a good way to get to see the city. It started in the 1920's when an man started putting cats on buildings he owned. It was then taken up in the late 1970's by Tom Adams who used a black cat for his 'signature'. They are found all round and in unusual places. Whilst on the walk Helen spotted this 'cat' stalking a pidgeon. The leaflet can be picked up at the Tourist Information Office.

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