16th June 2021
Soldiers and Zeppelins: our latest smartphone walk
Over the last year we've been creating history walks which you can follow, guided by an audio commentary on your smartphone (alternatively you can print out the details to follow).
Our latest walk invites you to think about how World War 1 impacted upon our area of York, South Bank. Heritage Lottery Funding in 2016/7 enabled us to explore this, and the results of our researches are available here on our website. Now our new walk covers some of the features of our findings.
The walk starts outside Clements Hall, looking at Scarcroft School, which was at the centre of much wartime activity. The military requisitioned the school twice, and later it was affected when Spanish flu swept through York in 1918. We then go on stop outside 13 Upper Price St, the site of a Zeppelin bomb raid, which tragically killed Mr and Mrs Avison in their beds. The airship was piloted by Max Dietrich, who incidentally was the nephew of Marlene Dietrich, the famous German actress and singer. The Zeppelin had also bombed nearby Nunthorpe Avenue, where 28-year-old Beatrice Chapman was killed and her mother and sister badly injured.
Southlands Chapel would have been a hive of activity, as soldiers billeted in York used it as a social centre. In the winter of 1914 the chapel hosted a social event for over 250 soldiers, with a sit-down meal and entertainment, including singing by Miss Blanche Humble and Mr T Wintersgill, impersonations by Private John Ball and Trooper Dowe’s sword-swinging display. Sadly we also hear about Albert Seal from Southlands Sunday School, who enlisted in September 1914, without his family’s knowledge. Albert’s father petitioned to have him sent home, as he was under the recruitment age of 18, but tragically, before he could be persuaded, he died in Belgium of a gunshot wound to the head, in the month after his 17th birthday.
Our beautiful Rowntree Park opened in 1921, donated to the people of York by Joseph Rowntree, as a tribute to the 200 workers of his chocolate factory who died or suffered in World War 1.
We take a look at ‘Holme House’ on Bishopthorpe Rd, from where we have an eyewitness account of the 1916 Zeppelin raid, written by an excited sixteen year old Jack Kirby, in a letter to his sister Dorothy.
We feature stories about the lives of soldiers, women, aliens and hospital workers. World War 1 was fought on a massive scale and affected everyone directly. We hope that the walk will give you an insight into its totality. But it is important to remember that, while millions of people lost their lives as a result of the war, the majority of the population lived through it. Many carried with them horrific memories, and the effects of each wartime tragedy affected many - friends, family and relatives in some way or another.
This is a linear walk, which finishes at Beresford Terrace, off Bishopthorpe Rd. It should take you around an hour to an hour and a half. There are benches at various places, and the walk is suitable for wheelchair users.
For details of how to access this free walk follow this link.