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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Scarcroft Road area shops

Scarcroft Road shops in 1984, where the Private shop later became the Hospice charity shop.

We've been researching the history of the shops near the junction of Scarcroft Road and Bishopthorpe Road.


Novak watchmakerNumber 4 Scarcroft Road, where Olive's Nest is now, was a clock maker and watch repairer, run by Patricia and Jan Nowak in 1959. They had run the business there since 1948. Patricia, formerly Patricia Carolan, had been a police officer until her marriage to Jan Nowak in 1947.  Jan was Polish. The shop made front-page headlines in the Yorkshire Evening Press on 18 January 1959.  A youth, precisely described as ‘about 5 foot 4 to 5 foot 5 in height in a dark blue suit with no hat’, smashed the display window to the shop and ran off with two wrist watches, valued at £6 (1959 prices).  Mr Nowak tried to catch the thief, but was unsuccessful.

The description of the thief throws a light on men’s fashion’s of the day – maybe it was usual for a 1959 thief to wear a hat ? – or certainly a possibility. It was still listed as a clock and watch repairers in the 1976 Yellow Pages, but seems to have become a domestic residence after 1976 and and then Evolve Hairdressing, until they moved across the road.

Nunmill Street

In 1911 William Bell was running a business as a tailor at 9 Scarcroft Road (now the Corner Gallery). He was a newly wed man, at 42, having been married to his wife Nellie only four years. He also occupied 2 Nunmill Street, round the corner.

The tailor and costumier on the corner of Nunmill St is now an Art Gallery. The surname ‘Bell’ is just about discernible on the door on this photo.

Next door at no. 7, Emily Elders was running her confectionery business (now Melton’s restaurant).

Elders at Scarcroft Road

She had previously lived with her husband John Elders at 50 Thorpe Street, but started to run the business at 7 Scarcroft Road after John died in 1897, aged only 43.  John had been a master mariner from the Whitby area. It is interesting to speculate how the two of them got together and wound up in York – so far from the sea.

It looks as though Emily had her hands full in 1911. She was 52 and running the confectionary business with her three of her five daughters, Gertrude, Bertha and Lilian. She also had her widowed 86-year-old mother, Ann Watson living with her.Her son John Francis, who had been brought up at 50 Thorpe Street, was away in Hammersmith, in what they then called ‘diggings’, learning to be a Civil Service Clerk.

John Francis was 18 years old. We don’t know how far he progressed up the civil service ladder but by 1917 he was a Second Lieutenant in the 16th London Regiment and fighting in France. Sadly, John Francis was killed in action in October 1917 and buried in Buissy in France.Emily Elders subsequently moved to 3 Southlands Road and died in 1944, aged 85.

Follow the links to find out more. You can also check out the blog posts at Our Shopping History.

Time flies on Scarcroft Road

A tailor, a soldier and a sailor on Scarcroft Road

Was there life before Sainsbury’s?

Welcome to the new Corner Gallery

The Dairy Guest House at 3 Scarcroft Road

Decorating the Street

A narrow escape