Clements Hall
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Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

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Celebrating our shopping history

Yet another new shop is opening up around Bishy Road this week, once again reflecting current trends. Our local businesses respond to many aspects of our changing community history.


This time it’s a new bakery shop, Flori, on the corner of Scarcroft Rd and Nunmill St. The shop is an offshoot from their Nunnery Lane shop, which Lottie Rodgers opened in 2021, and they've had a few test openings here already. Flori are a small-batch, organic, Scandinavian-style neighbourhood bakery, specialising in pastries. They'll be preparing the dough at their Nunnery Lane shop, but proving and baking it here, and serving coffee too. Flori will be open and serving their special treats from 7.30 am till mid-afternoon, Thursdays to Sundays. Lottie is pictured above, with Michaela and Jess.

Nunmill StreetThis tiny corner shop has seen many changes in the last 130 years. Back in 1895 it was a draper, George Newbald, who moved after ten years to the other end of the row, at no 1, where Sainsbury’s is now. He was replaced here by a tailor, William Bell, whose shop is on this old image from around 1910, with his name on the door.

Scarcroft Road shops in 1984, where the Private shop later became the Hospice charity shop.From the mid-1930s the shop was a fruiterer’s, first Bellamy’s, then Carr’s, then Baker’s. By the 1980s it was Gordon and Jane David, who many people will remember, especially with their greengrocer’s stall in the Shambles Market. In more recent times it has housed the Good Food Shop deli, with Caroline Lewis, who moved over to Bishopthorpe Road in 2005. 

There were a few shorter term shops here, including Matthew Quinn, an off-licence selling wines, spirits and beers. This photo by Rob Stay from 1984 shows the sex shop further along, which used to be where the hospice shop is now. Vigorous campaigning by women in the 1980s at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders led to its closure.

The Corner Gallery under previous ownershipKay Dower outside her new gallery (courtesy of York Press) 20201128_144043

Verdigris HouseAround 2010, artist Andreas Jaroslavsky moved in, with his Corner Gallery, followed by Kay Dower in 2017, with her working art studio and shop. From 2018 it was Walter and May, selling gifts and home ware, and then more recently The Verdigris House selling antiques, who closed last year.

Evolve 30

In 2024, Linzi Gill, the owner of one of our hairdressing businesses, is celebrating 30 years in business locally. Evolve Hairdressing has been at no.16 Bishopthorpe Rd since 2014, but they were previously at 4 Scarcroft Road from 1994, in the shop originally called Origins Hair & Beauty Studio.

Evolve old shop croppedWhen Evolve crossed over the road, the premises at no.4 became Olive's Nest, run by Gaynor Parr-Manley, and it’s now Helston Street, a mother and daughter partnership, with Vanessa and Lucy. They specialise in rustic interior items, sourced from flea markets.

Olive's Nest shop 20240208_100822

Novak watchmakerPeople may remember an older shop, Novak’s Watch Repairs here from the late 1940’s until around the 1970s. Apparently if you only had one watch then Jan Novak, who was Polish, would lend you one while yours was being fixed, like a ‘courtesy’ car!

Evolve’s current shop was originally a chemist and druggist, John Sherwin, between 1891 and 1901, when he took over next door at no.18. By 1911 it had become Charlie Bailey, ‘shoeing smith and cycle agent’. Intriguingly this means Charlie was working on shoeing horses as well as dealing in bicycles, demonstrating the changes in transport needs locally.

YORCM_2009_911clements hall 005 - CopyThe chemist is of course still there next door, as Bishopthorpe Rd Pharmacy, and the Sherwin’s name remains in the decorative tiles at the front door. Another reminder is at the Castle Museum, where the old drawers from Sherwin's chemist have been installed at Saville's Chemist on Kirkgate.

By 1921 no.16 was a confectioner, then became a very early café, the Dainty Cafe, run by Alfred Hawkshaw until 1935. Next came the Park Bakery until 1961, known as a high-class baker and confectioner, makers of ‘malt, wheatmeal, Hovis and Turog’ (the latter was a distinctive flour milled by Spillers), and advertising ‘Silver Cup VitBe Bread’. From the 1960s until the 1980s there were drapers here, Gelder’s followed by Mrs Piggin. In another change of direction, once again reflecting consumer trends, it was briefly Eastwood’s Frozen Foods, before they moved over the road for around ten years.

 Bishy Rd inc Costcutter May 1999

Woodhead’s bakers then moved in here in 1990 for around twenty years. Woodhead’s was a family business, founded in the 1930s with a factory in Scarborough. It went into administration in 2011, finished by the impact of global wheat prices, with its shops passing to other companies. This photo is from 1999.

Our books about the history of our local shops have proved very popular over the last six years, details are here. Sadly our book about Bishy Road is sold out. Our next book, due out this year, is about the old shops, pubs and industries of Bishophill, so watch out for news.