Clementhorpe has a fascinating history of social and economic development. In many ways its story of industrialisation and de-industrialisation, which was all crammed into a short period of some 200 years, mirrors that of York as a whole and, indeed, that of the whole country.
Local entrepreneurs manufactured confectionery, boats, textiles and leather products, ironwork, food and drink – an astonishingly wide range of activities. Some of these men and women were noted local characters, playing a wider part in the social and cultural development of their community.
Studying the changes that have taken place in Clementhorpe reminds us just how ephemeral many of these activities have been. Glass making, for example, lasted less than 25 years. Within the lifetime of the older members of our community employment in manufacturing has declined from around half of all jobs to well under a tenth today. As we write, the retail sector is undergoing huge change and restructuring too.
The rate of change inevitably means that any research that we publish today will soon be out of date. However, it is important that we document the current situation, and that we support appropriate steps to preserve the local industrial legacy.