There were several small engineering companies in Clementhorpe.
I am indebted to Philip Crowder, engineer, of Haxby for the following stories:
“For many years I ran my engineering business out of the old bakery premises of the Coop building. My company, Crowder Engineering, was involved in general engineering and foundry work. We carried out repairs on the Skeldergate Bridge, and I was the last person to operate the machinery to raise the small opening span that used to let boats through.”
“I established Crowder Engineering as a registered company in 1977. I am still the Managing Director. When our premises at Clementhorpe became due for redevelopment, we relocated to the trading estate in Clifton”.
“I helped to bring The Barge up from Goole. It was a good idea, and sad day when it sank.”
“I remember the coal depot on the site of the old shipyard. Under the coal yard a number of small brick buildings were discovered during redevelopment. They were thought by some to belong to the old Nunnery possibly piggeries or similar agricultural buildings.”
Parkside Commercial Centre
Parkside Commercial Centre was the name given to a development of industrial and warehouse units on land adjoining the current caravan park.
The Parkside Centre was investigated by archaeologists in 2012 when HHB Investments (York) were interested in developing the site. It was reviewed in 2015 when the site passed to Parklane Properties. In the meantime the warehouses had been demolished. The site sits between the modern flats at Duke’s Wharf, the mainly nineteenth century terraces of Clementhorpe and the caravan park to the south.
Archaeologists found some Roman material, but the first signs of industry were the remains of two lime kilns of possible sixteenth century age, attached to the remains of the Nunnery. This was all pasture land up to the mid nineteenth century, though with a path running along the River Ouse bank. The only buildings found within the site at this time were those of the Clementhorpe Dye Works. To the immediate north of the site running up to Clementhorpe, were two ranges of buildings. The southern one contained an external saw pit and stove, of uncertain function.
By 1879 the St Clement’s Glass Works had opened to the north and west. It had gone by 1907. The presence of a Rope Walk may hint at the function of the ranges of buildings mentioned above. A rope walk was generally a long, thin plot of land on which ropes could be manufactured by twisting the groups of fibres round each other. Many of these would have been used on locally built ships. By 1931 the Co-op warehouses had been built to the north and Rowntree Park had been laid out to the south.
The Archaeological Report describes how two large warehouses had been built to the south and west by 1931. It describes the building as still extant in 2015, though the photos suggest that they were largely disused and vandalised by that date. The two large warehouse buildings were connected by an open-sided roof structure. They were single storey, of red brick, with a pitched roof of corrugated asbestos cement panels. They had no openings to the south. Dating from the early twentieth century, they had in more recent times housed a number of small businesses.
A City of York Council Report in September 2010 described the recent history of the site. It had been acquired by the Council in 1984 to provide low-cost accommodation for small businesses. However, the development had a number of drawbacks and, in 2006, it was agreed to sell the site to developers. The fabric was in poor condition and the site was liable to flood; there was no vehicular access into the buildings.
A land exchange with the adjoining Caravan Club made the sale a more attractive shape for redevelopment. The Caravan Club Ltd lease their site from the Council.
Small businesses occupying Parkside’s A, B and C Units have included:
Bradshaws of York – catering
Ian Clews – manufacture and repair of jewellery
Lightning Transport – a transport consultancy
Optimax – manufacturer of scientific instruments and apparatus
The Diesel Shop – repair garage
Wheel Alternatives – courier service
Bike Rescue Project CIC
A farewell to the Parkside Centre! The wall on the left is all that was left in June 2018. Note the attractive paviours in the alley. (Photo by John Stevens, June 2018)