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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Hidden histories in Bishophill

Our new Bishophill book has attracted the attention of Jim Addyman, a BBC Radio York reporter looking for material for a BBC local radio series Hidden Histories. Susan Major from our group took him on a history walkabout, to show him just a few of the intriguing features of Bishophill.

20240603_164839~2They were joined in Fetter Lane by Gerri Kostrzewa and Paul Ireson, to talk about Red Rhino Records, which had a distribution warehouse there in the 1980s. Red Rhino was an independent record label set up by Tony Kostrzewa and his wife Gerri, playing a really influential role in the independent music scene at the time.

Jim Addyman, Paul Ireson and Gerri Kostrzewa outside what used to be Red Rhino Records warehouse in Fetter Lane.

Red Rhino was an iconic phenomenon, highlighting new music and supporting recording artists such as Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, the Toy Dolls and Roland Gift. Paul Ireson worked there and they both had many stories to tell of this important time. It's intriguing that York played such a key role in music history, which people may not be aware of.

Skeldergate Middletons Chaplin House 300The walkabout continued along Skeldergate to the historic Grade II listed buildings which form Middleton’s Hotel. Jim was fascinated to hear that one of these, Chaplin House, was the home of Hans Hess, the York Art Gallery curator who played a significant role in the York Festival in the 1950s and 1960s. His family had been great supporters of the arts in Germany, friends with famous artists Kandinsky and Klee, but of course Hess had to leave in the 1930s as a Jewish Marxist. He ended up in York in the 1940s, and because of his artistic activity many famous people stayed at his house, such as composer Benjamin Britten, singer Peter Pears, jazz singer Cleo Laine and composer and musician Johnny Dankworth. As the film star Charlie Chaplin was also a visitor, this part of the hotel is named after him

20240603_173131The final stop was at the Golden Ball in Cromwell Road, for a welcome drink. Susan mentioned the many pubs which used to line Skeldergate, including the old inn on the corner of Fetter Lane, the Pewterers Arms, which in 1818 gained the unfortunate name of the Putrid Arms, because of its position at the bottom of the hill, where unhealthy drainage water tended to collect.

Jim Addyman and Nathan Riley at the Golden Ball

Jim interviewed the Golden Ball manager, Nathan Riley, about how this pub was the first city centre co-operative in Britain, and its role in supporting the local community.

You can catch this recording in the BBC Secret North Yorkshire series here.