Clements Hall
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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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Twentieth Century Industrialisation of Clementhorpe

Cook’s Directory of York, published in 1900, provides a list of occupations of people living in the Clementhorpe area, i.e. Clementhorpe [the road] and Cherry Hill, as follows:

George Paley

Miller

Mrs Mary Gill

-

Mrs Mary Allison

-

Harry Kendall

Wood turner

George Green

Labourer

Thomas Smith

Labourer

William Denkin

Postman

Richard Malsbury

Porter

Mrs E. Wright

-

Herbert Fred Smithson

Fitter

James Martin

Fitter

William Kendall

Labourer

Thomas Pearson

Slater

C. Horseman

Slip Inn

H. Backhouse & Co

Cocoa and chocolate factory

George Snowden

Groom

John Humblo

Labourer

George Addy

Labourer

John George Helstrip

-

William John Pervis

Engine tenter[1]

Mrs Elizabeth Stogden

-

George Birch

Labourer

Thomas Birch

Labourer

James Birch

Labourer

William Butler

Labourer

Fred Birch

-

Mrs Harriet Ewing

-

Thomas Bonnard

Labourer

Harry Siddall

Police constable

John Clayaby

Fireman

Joseph Parker

Labourer

Christopher Thompson

Shop keeper

William Hillyard

Painter

William Herring

Tailor

Apart from a few public servants and tradesmen, the general picture is of a population of low-skilled, relatively low paid workers.

Seebohm Rowntree’s Poverty A Study of Town Life, published in 1901, describes Clementhorpe on his general map of York as an area “inhabited by the working classes, but comprising a few houses where servants are kept.” It also features on his map of licensed premises, with four such outlets in Clementhorpe. However, the map omits The Slip and The Swan. The report makes no specific mention of conditions in Clementhorpe, though the adjoining area of Skeldergate is noted as having the highest density of population in the City. However, the Yorkshire Gazette of 13 November 1884 reported that the City Council’s Medical Officer of Health had described the insanitary conditions in the Clementhorpe and Bishopthorpe Road areas that had led to recent outbreaks of typhoid fever. Suggestions were put forward for their improvement.

Wandering round Clementhorpe in 1909[2], we would have seen the familiar buildings of the Chemical Manure Works, Terry’s Confectionery Works and the Boat Yard. The Slipway Bridge was still in place. South of Clementhorpe [the road] the new Co-operative Society buildings were in evidence, with a wharf along the River front. Further south the Rope Walk was still visible, and so was the expanded Timber Yard, with a number of new buildings. The site which once housed the Dye Works was now clearly in use as allotments. A number of other industrial/commercial premises were visible on Lower Ebor Street, Vine Street and the eastern end of Anne Street.

The map below shows the Clementhorpe area as it was in 1910.

CLEM - Map 1910 new version

 (Source: Library of Scotland, Yorkshire CLXXIV.SW Published: 1910)

 What were people doing for a living around 100 years ago? Kelly’s Directory of 1913 gives us some idea: 

Trade/Profession

Name

Address

Coal merchant

Thomas Clark

Anne Street

Builder

Richard Hetherington

Anne Street

Cartage contractor

Henry Howard

Bewlay Street

Joiner

Fraser Sanderson

Bewlay Street

Builder/bricklayer

Thomas Clark

Bishopgate Street

Cowkeeper

George James

Charlton Street

Cowkeeper

John Torr

Charlton Street

Joiner

George Leaf

Cherry Hill Lane

Baker

Jane Long

Cherry Street

Boot maker

Ernest Brook

Cherry Street

Botanical brewer[3]

John Sinkinson

Cherry Street

Boot maker

Thomas Smith

Clementhorpe

Corn and seed merchant

John Garrett

Clementhorpe

Chocolate manufacturer

H. Backhouse & Co. Ltd.

Clementhorpe

Cowkeeper

Henry Stead

Ebor Street

Joiner’s yard

J. G. Humphrey

Fenwick Street

Cowkeeper

William Thompson

Lower Darnborough Street

Dairyman

T. Harper

Lower Darnborough Street

Chemical fertilisers

Henry Richardson & Co.

Terry Avenue

Confectionery

Joseph Terry & Sons

Terry Avenue

Shipbuilding

Hirst & Escreet

Terry Avenue

Wholesalers

York Equitable Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd

Terry Avenue

Boat builder

Edward Hetherington

Terry Avenue

Boat builder

John Stockdale

Vine Street

Dressmaker

Maggie Scawby

Vine Street

Coal merchant

Thomas Clark

Vine Street

Printer

DeLittle

Vine Street

Cab proprietor

George Collins

Vine Street

Cab proprietor

Frederick Dodd

William Street

 (NB. This listing excludes the many shop and pub keepers).

CLEM - Map 1932 New version

(Source: Library of Scotland, Yorkshire CLXXIV.SW; Revised: 1929; Published: 1932)

By 1931[4] our perambulations would suggest that little had changed, and that industrial Clementhorpe was still thriving. The Chemical Manure Works has a travelling crane on the waterfront. Terry’s has expanded to fill almost the entire site, a factor which had been instrumental in their move to new premises off Bishopthorpe Road between 1926 and 1930. The Boat Yard and the Slip Bridge were still there (the latter described on the contemporary map as a  ‘drawbridge’). The various parts of the Co-operative Society works comprised – a warehouse at the front, a bakery at the rear, and a coal depot facing the River at the southern end. Interestingly, the whole works was fronted by a wharf with a travelling crane. Two new warehouses had been constructed east of Carl Street. The old Nunthorpe Peel Works was now the Clementhorpe Warehouse.

 By 1937-38[5] the Chemical Manure Works and Confectionery Works remain, but the Boat Yard has gone. There is no clue as to its contemporary use. However, the Co-op is still in full swing and the two newer warehouses east of Carl Street are clearly visible 

CLEM - Map 1952 New version

(Source: Library of Scotland; Yorkshire CLXXIV.SW; Revised: 1950; Published: 1952)

What was going on around 1950?

We have now really entered the modern era, and things are more familiar to those of us who are senior citizens. WW2 was over, but the Korean and Cold Wars had begun. Britain’s manufacturing sector was booming. The electricity, gas and water transport industries had been nationalised, and the NHS was in its infancy.

 In York, war damage was still evident. The construction of Castle Mills Bridge was under way, The Stonebow was soon to open, and traffic still flowed through Coney Street. Yearsley open-air baths were proving popular. The old station was still in use for railway operations, and steam engines continued in widespread use.

By 1962-63[6] the Boat Yard has been converted into a Coal Yard. Immediately to the west is Shipyard Cottage and the adjoining Slip Inn. The Chemical Manure Works is still there with expanded buildings, as is Terry’s Confectionery Works. A large new warehouse has been developed behind the Chemical Works just off Bishopgate Street. South of Clementhorpe the Co-op Works can be seen, with Co-op Cottage facing the old Boat Yard. The Maltings are clearly visible, and there are a number of other ‘works’ and ‘depots’ – mainly round Anne Street and Vine Street. The southern end of the area contains a number of other small workshops and depots. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-18 at 16.53.40

(Source: Ordnance Survey 1963; Crown Copyright Reserved).

On the 1972/86 map[7] the Chemical Manure Works is now labelled with the more contemporary description of ‘Fertiliser Works’. With the exception of a few houses at the western end, the whole area north of Clementhorpe [the road] is still industrial. Part of the old Boat Yard is still a Coal Yard, but a new Food Processing Factory covers the western end next to the Slip Inn.

The view across the Ouse towards Clementhorpe, shown in the photo below[8], could hardly be more different from the present-day one. In the immediate foreground, right, are the Fertiliser Works of Richardson’s. To the left foreground are the original buildings of Terry’s Confectionery Works with one of the furnace chimneys towering skywards. Richardsons also has a modern steel chimney, supported by a lattice of struts. Behind this, the modern rectangular block is part of the Terry’s factory. A boat is tied up at Richardson’s wharf, alongside the loading and unloading crane.

Terry Av Richardsons 1967

By 1985[9] the Co-op is still in existence, as are the Food Processing Works and Coal Yard opposite. Part of the Terry’s factory is identified as a warehouse, but it is not clear what state the remaining buildings are in.

Many industrial buildings go through a clear life cycle. They start small and then expand and adapt to meet demand or the requirements of new production methods. When their day is done, often because they have become out-dated in products or processes, the buildings remain in use for storage or similar uses. Finally, sometimes after many years of disuse, they are demolished and replaced by new industries or other uses such as housing. These days, some of the more attractive industrial buildings are adapted for modern living, community or commercial purposes.

Our contents page provides a list of the main industries in Clementhorpe at various points in history. It is quite a complicated story. Some businesses were long-lasting, for example DeLittle’s wooden printing works lasted for 100 years. Other industries were quickly overtaken by changes in technology or put out of business by growing competition or amalgamation.

[1] An engine tenter oversaw the operation of an engine driving machinery in a factory.

[2] 1909 1:2,500 and 1910 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey Maps.

[3] Botanic brews were popular from the second half of the nineteenth century well into the twentieth. We still enjoy ginger and root beers today. Beers having a strength of 3% alcohol or less could be brewed without license and were tax-free.

[4] 1937 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey Map.

[5] 1937-1938 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey Map.

[6] 1962-1963 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey Map.

[7] 1972-1986 1:1,250 Ordnance Survey Map.

[8] Photo Hugh Murray 1967.

[9] 1985 1:1,250 Ordnance Survey Map.