Clements Hall
Nunnery Lane book cover

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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Our shopping history

Bishopthorpe RoadUsing a mixture of old photographs, the census and trade directories, and talking to people, we’ve been able to find out more about how our shops developed over the last 100 years or so. but there is still much more to explore, so do get in touch if you are interested to help.

We're delighted to say that our new book is now out, available to buy in local shops and from Clements Hall, at a cost of £5. Entitled Bishy Road: a York shopping street in time, it shows how some of our shops have accommodated the same trades for over a hundred years, while some reflect shopping trends as they changed over the twentieth century. We do know that people have very fond memories of the street.

We were very grateful to be supported in this venture by Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association, by the Micklegate Ward Fund, by the Noel Goddard Terry Charitable Trust, and the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS). The proceeds from sales will enable us to develop our researches into the history of shops along Nunnery Lane, in Clementhorpe, and in South Bank. Our aim is to produce further publications focusing on those areas.

The book includes a brief history of each of the premises along Bishy Road and the businesses trading from them, with stories from customers and newspaper reports. There are over 60 photographs and some maps, together with excerpts from interviews with traders and from our memory wall. (Follow this link for updates since publication).

Stockists: Clements Hall in Nunthorpe Road, Pextons, Frankie and Johnny's Cookshop, Trinacria, Cameron Beaumont Opticians, Olive's Nest, Walter and May and Cycle Heaven at the Angel on the Green. Price £5. 

If you are unable to get to York, we can supply by post, email us at for details.

Follow the links to the left to explore our shopping history by area.

See also our blog posts here for articles about the shops:

1st July 2017

Where did those grapes come from?

We’re pleased to see that the decorative carvings on the Angel on the Green have now been embellished with gold paint. Read more  

10th June 2017

Pawnbrokers: the poor man’s banker

Pauline Alden has been looking at local pawnbrokers, after finding a local man appealing against conscription in 1916. Read more  

20th March 2017

28 Nunnery Lane – an off licence for over seventy years

Martin Reagan is a follower of our website and contacted us with some information about his family. Read more  

20th February 2017

Bernard Kirby

Bishy Road is an important community space for us, with many local characters featuring there over many years. Read more  

5th February 2017

Welcome to the new Corner Gallery

The Corner Gallery, on the corner of Scarcroft Road and Nunmill St, has recently had a facelift and changed hands. Read more  

30th January 2017

Farewell to Charles McBride

Sadly our local independent optician, Charles McBride, has just retired, to spend more time with his family, after over twenty years in Bishy Road. Read more  

9th December 2016

Welcome to the Angel on the Green

The exciting new community cafe/bar/bike repair shop on Bishy Road is open at last, on the corner of Darnborough St. Read more  

18th July 2016

Shadows in the Bricks

Our next event is on Sunday 31 July, at the Winning Post pub. From 12 noon onwards we’ll be exhibiting images and memories about South Bank – the corner shops in the terraced streets, the clubs and community life. Read more  

10th May 2016

Footprints from the past

Pauline Alden writes about her researches into the shops on Nunnery Lane. Read more  

18th April 2016

Robinsons: a warm welcome to our latest cafe

This week we welcome Robinsons, a new cafe just opened on Bishy Road, taking over the premises vacated by the popular Puddin’ and Pie. Read more  

9th March 2016

Teddy Boy attraction on Bishy Road

During much of the last century, one half of the premises now occupied by Trinacria on Bishopthorpe Road was a gentleman’s outfitters. Read more  

18th November 2015

New traders celebrate historic traditions

It’s good to see two newcomers complementing our range of independent traders on Bishy Road. This gives us a chance to look back at the previous history of these two particular shops. We’re thrilled to see that both are reflecting some old traditions. Read more  

21st October 2015

It’s Back to the Future Day for Bishy Road

It’s Back to the Future Day today, celebrating the day which Michael J Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown travelled to, in Back to the Future 2 in 1989. So we thought we’d use Rob Stay’s fascinating photos of Bishy Road in the mid- 1980s to see how we’ve changed: Read more  

11th September 2015

Pickled tongues and York Cream Sherry: looking back at our food shopping

This year at the Bishy Road Food Festival we’re celebrating our wonderful shops, cafes and restaurants. But we’ve had many such shops serving local residents in the past. Looking back you can see how we’ve changed our eating habits and how our local streets have reflected food shopping trends over the last 150 years. Read more  

18th May 2015

Joseph Sherwood: the birth of a shop in Bishopthorpe Road

The Borthwick Archive at the University of York holds a wonderful treasure for those interested in Bishopthorpe Road in the late nineteenth century. It also describes how one of our shops was born. Read more  

27th October 2014

The rise and fall of shopping at multiple groceries

Although the great majority of our Bishy Road traders are independents, there are a few shops and services which are part of multiple chains, such as Swinton Insurance, Johnsons dry cleaners, Churchills estate agents, Thomas the Baker, Domino’s Pizza, Sainsburys Local and Costcutter. Read more  

20th October 2014

Decorating the Street

Our Bishy Road traders have worked hard to raise funds in the local community to enhance their Christmas display. But you might be intrigued to hear of something similar over 120 years ago, in a tale which includes the opening of a new library and even bridge tolls. Some things never change. Read more  

16th October 2014

The corner of Scarcroft Road: From butchers and drapers to hairdressers and grocers

Hairdressers Glen and Julio tell us that the terrace to the south of their hair salon, known as Avondale Crescent, was built in the early 1880’s by a brother of the Hawkswell family who subsequently owned all the properties. The salon, now 47 Bishopthorpe Road, but then no 1 Avondale Crescent, was originally built as a butcher’s shop and a private five-bedroom house. Read more  

15th August 2014

A narrow escape

We all value our local shopping street on Bishy Road with its independent traders but did you know that even up to the 1970s there were plans to change the neighbourhood completely? Read more  

16th July 2014

A shoemaking family

Terry Woodward's father Harold and grandfather Charles Hartley Woodward had the boot repairer's shop on the corner of Bishopthorpe Road and Vine Street, known as the City Boot Repairing Co. Ltd. They traded here from the 1920s and part of their business involved making boots for the army. Read more  

14th July 2014

Our Memory Wall about Bishy Road shops

These are some of the things people told us about the shops when we talked to them at the street party, which we’ve added to other memories. Read more  

18th November 2013

The Dairy Guest House at 3 Scarcroft Road

Anne Houson writes: Maybe some readers will remember when the Dairy Guest House was actually a dairy. Read more  

24th August 2013

Was there life before Sainsbury’s?

Yes, there was life before Sainsbury’s and it was Jacksons – very blue – nearly as blue as its 1980’s neighbour at no 5 – The Private Shop, which shut in 1988 when it was refused a licence to trade. Read more  

17th July 2013

Shops research

Material about the history of our local shops, which Susan Major and Carol Warren presented at our last meeting, is now on this website. Read more  

5th June 2013


Our local shops are very important to us and play a major role in the local community. Read more