Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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Early Nineteenth Century Industrial Development of Clementhorpe

The Directories covering nineteenth century Clementhorpe do show that a growing number of railway-related workers were living in the area. However, Clementhorpe developed piecemeal as the demand grew for new housing. It was not built to an overall plan, or to provide labour for one or two large employers, though the expansion of the railway and confectionery industries in the later nineteenth century were undoubtedly stimulants. The industrial growth and decline of Clementhorpe was largely confined to a 100 year period between 1850 and 1950, though there was some industrial activity at an earlier date, and some lingered on to the end of the twentieth century.

White’s Directory for 1840, for example, lists 17 manufacturers and traders in the Clementhorpe area, as follows:

Trade/Profession

Name

Address

Bone crusher

William Richardson

Not stated, but probably Skeldergate Postern

Boot & shoe maker

George Collyer

7 Bishopgate Street

Brewers & maltster

Christopher Scarr & Co.

Clementhorpe

Corn miller & flour dealer

William Fisher

St. Clement’s Place

Shoe thread manufacturer

Robert Henry Nodding

Clementhorpe

Flax spinners & shoe thread manufacturer

Christopher Scarr & Co.

Clementhorpe

Beer house

Francis Mountain

Clementhorpe

Beer house

James Rolling

St. Clement’s Place

Patent flour machine maker

William Richardson

Skeldergate Postern

Nail maker

James Rolling

Clementhorpe

Nail maker

John Wilkinson

White Swan Yard, St. Clement’s Place

Shopkeeper

George Chapman

St. Clement’s Place

Shopkeeper

Joseph Hume

Clementhorpe

Sloop & boat builder

Richard Wray

Clementhorpe

Timber merchant (English wood)

Thomas Birch

St. Clement’s Place

Timber merchant

Thomas Vinor

Clementhorpe

Timber merchant

Richard Wray

Clementhorpe

 In 1841, 71.7% of the 3,235 women in employment in York were employed in domestic service. A further 22.3% were employed in ‘handicraft’ industries and retailing. Alan Armstrong[1] describes the unusually high proportion of men employed in ‘handicraft’ industries (44.5% of the 7,774 in employment). “Here are included the bakers, booksellers, butchers, inn-keepers, grocers, tailors, jewellers, pipe-makers, saddlers, drapers, wine merchants, brush makers, clock makers, etc., who abounded in York. No less than 44% of the group (males) and 75% (females) were engaged in the preparation of articles of dress and apparel, and in the retailing of food and drink.” Only 8.9% of the male workforce was engaged in what could reasonably be described as ‘modern manufacturing’.

What was going on around 1850?

Charles Dickens had recently completed David Copperfield with its scenes of urban and rural squalor. The Royal Border Bridge, carrying the railway from York to Edinburgh, had just been opened by Queen Victoria,, and construction proceeded on the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace.

In York, the United Gas light Company had recently been established. The first detective was appointed to the local police force. The latest typhoid and cholera[2] epidemics had just occurred, reflecting the poverty, poor housing and sanitation. Employment in the railway industry was booming. The growth of the railway industry attracted migrants, often to live in quite squalid conditions, but it also encouraged the development of the tourist trade.

[1] Ibid

[2] The burial ground on Station Road reminds us of the 1832 cholera outbreak. In 1849 there were around 150 deaths from a further outbreak.