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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Bishophill and the riverside

The riverside in this area reflects a wide variety of topics, including much industrial activity. Themes date from Roman times

  • Roman Britain excavations at riverside. Early Roman Bridge across the Ouse from Tanner Row to the Guildhall and Stonegate Barbara Wilson and Frances Mee 'The Fairest Arch in England': Old Ouse Bridge, York and its Buildings, the Pictorial Evidence. YAT 2002. Roman Bridge over the Ouse would have been around 250 m upstream of the current bridge.

  • Skeldergate Postern 1315 - formerly Hingbridge Postern. Became Skeldergate Postern after 1500. Demolished 1807 and replaced by a polygonal tower 1878

  • Crane Tower at Skeldergate Postern from 1380, destroyed 1878. Cranegarth by 1417 at least. Storage for foreign goods, including wine, woad, madder, alum, spices, grain, salt, wax, steel , iron, sea-coal and lead. The Old Crane (owned by the Corporation) with associated warehouses from the 15c. The New Crane was erected in the 1770s, further north, by Mr Mills. Much later the site of Yorkshire Farmers Ltd. Goods steamers were advertised as sailing between Hull, Selby and York, and also London and Goole, from Albion Wharf (Wood & Co)

  • A lane which led from North St to the river was ‘Divlinstones’, from 13c, named after Dublin, and there are theories that this reflected 10c trade between Scandinavia and Dublin through York

  • Ouse Bridge. originally a wooden bridge then a stone bridge 1189-1200. In 1367 the first public toilets in Yorkshire, possibly in England, opened on this bridge. Present bridge 1810-20. Until 18c it was the only bridge across the river between York and the sea. It was also a centre of civic authority. Expensive shops on the bridge around 1300. Ouse Bridge Hospital prob by 13c. Later Maison Dieu till mid 16c. In 1724 the author Daniel Defoe described it: 'the bridge is vastly strong, and has one arch which, they tell me, was near 70 foot in diameter; it is, without exception, the greatest in England, some say it’s as large as the Rialto at Venice, though I think not.’

  • North St postern tower

  • Skeldergate Ferry, by 1541 at least. Skeldergate Landing by 1852

  • The Old Warehouse, Skeldergate dates from 17c demolished 20c

  • Topham’s Staith built 1660 for butter trade – York the centre of this Yorkshire trade to London, with a butter market in nearby St Martin’s Churchyard. See York Historian 1990 Vol 9 article by W B Taylor The rise and decline of the wholesale butter trade of York in the 18th century

  • Lendal Ferry from Barker Tower to Lendal Tower

  • Skeldergate and Queen’s Staith were regarded as a haunt of ‘wharfingers’ (the old equivalent of a harbourmaster. It was the main dockside street for medieval York, and the main area for sea-going vessels until the 19c..

Much activity in 19c

  • Queen’s Staith, the centre of the coal trade, constructed 1660

  • Woodsmill Quay

  • Emperor’s Wharf

  • Bonding Warehouse Late 19c

  • City Sawmill at 52 Skeldergate

  • Lendal Bridge 1861-3

  • Skeldergate Bridge 1878-81

  • Victoria Mill (corn) Queen’s Staith

See Broadhead, Portrait of the River Ouse (Hale, 1982)