Home » Yorkshire » Knaresborough » A change of direction – part two

A change of direction – part two

With mum improving daily, we decided Thursday would be a day in York.

The Leeds/York train calls at the station in the area of Harrogate where my mum lives, so a five minute walk and we are standing, rail passes in hand, waiting for the train.

The next stop is Knaresborough, the train trundled across the high rail bridge (photo in part one), I tried to capture a photo of where I’d been standing to take the bridge photo……..sorry, I wasn’t quick enough 😦

It wasn’t long before we were pulling into York station.

Where shall we go? what shall we do?

When we’d been chatting to the landlady of  the Dropping Well Inn, she’d mentioned an excellent real ale pub in the city, so that was on T’s priority list. I was just happy to wander around the streets with my camera.

We headed towards the famous walls, that surround the city. A walk of over two miles completely round, we’ve done it before (well I’ve done it several times), so we didn’t plan on doing it this time, but hopping onto them gives easy access to all parts of the city. There is an interesting PDF file on the walls.

The Ouse from Lendal bridge

Jumping off the walls (well not literally, as they are rather high), near Lendal bridge, we crossed the river Ouse and headed into the centre.

We located the pub, but decided we’d call back later for refreshments, so continued to wander around the narrow streets.

They were bustling with people shopping, buskers on street corners and sightseers with cameras (ooops, that was me :eek:)

The Shambles

One of the famous streets is The Shambles, where in parts the building are so close at the top you’d be able to shake hands with the neighbours opposite.

I wanted to take a photograph of Cliffords Tower, that my uncle Gerald had painted, see here so we headed back onto the walls again.

Cliffords Tower

The sky was becoming very dark, as rain threatened, so we dashed over to shelter in the nearby Castle museum. This was a regular school trip during my childhood, I remember being totally fascinated with the old Victorian street inside the building. The Olde Worlde sweet shoppe had a distinctive smell about it, and to this day I can still remember it.

More info on the street here

I’d fancied a walk along the river bank, but as the rain looked like it was in for the day, we headed back into the centre, past the queues waiting to view the Jorvik Centre. This is well worth a visit too!

With time to kill before our train back, we decided to have a look in the National Railway Museum. Again, this is an excellent museum, housing some of the famous stream engines of yesteryear. It is free to enter, all they ask for is a donation.

York big wheel

We didn’t get as far as the museum though, walking past this big wheel, we both decided it would be good fun to have a ride on it.

view across York from the wheel

So that is how I managed to get an aerial shot of the city, complete with raindrops.

When we got off the wheel, it was too late for our planned train back to Harrogate, so having well over half an hour to kill, T decided we’d have a drink in the pub we’d found earlier.

Sat there discussing the days events, we almost missed the next train too. Speed walking through a crowded city is not recommended, but we made it with seconds to spare, flopping into the train seats just as the whistle blew.

Visiting my mum later that evening I found even more improvement with her out of bed and sitting on the chair beside her bed.

Whenever I return to Yorkshire, I never seem to get chance to visit my home city of Leeds.

Friday I’d woken in the early hours with a flash of inspiration, I’ll catch the train going in the opposite direction, and I can spend the day there. I didn’t for one minute think T would be interested.

Waking in the morning, almost the first thing he said was “Shall we go into Leeds today”………….talk about reading my mind!!

So a similar pattern emerged to Thursday………walk the dogs………..grab a quick bite to eat…………then a five minute walk down to the station……….

…..and we find ourselves on the opposite platform waiting for the York/Leeds train.

A journey of a similar distance, I was getting quite excited at the prospect of reminiscing as the train pulled into the city station.

I don’t know what I expected, as time obviously doesn’t stand still, but I’d conjured up a romantic vision of the steam engines that used to whisk me off on holiday, the machines that my dad would stamp my name onto a metal strip, the ‘ladies waiting room’, the old guards in their smart uniforms, the trollies with the old leather cases on, but more than anything that nostalgic smell of the coal smoke………..this station we’d pulled into wasn’t the Leeds station I remembered from my childhood.

Walking out of the station, even that didn’t seem right, my memory had convinced me the first thing I’d see would be the statue of The Black Prince in city square, but all I could see were buses, even they were different……. blue buses…… purple buses……. white with flashes of colour buses…… where were the green buses? Leeds always had green buses!!  😦

I was starting to feel cheated, like a stranger in the place I’d grown up in.

We started to walk to the left away from this alien place, when suddenly I saw him.

The Black Prince

The Black Prince, still on his horse, with the Queens Hotel in the background.

I left Leeds just before I was eighteen, I guess at that age, architecture was the last thing on my mind, but I do remember the very imposing Town Hall situated on The Headrow, so we set off up Park Row in search of it.

Leeds Town Hall

Wow, it was even more imposing than I remember, I’m so pleased we had blue sky for that photo, a grey sky wouldn’t have done it justice.

Continuing along The Headrow, I went in search of the old department store Schofields, my best friend used to work there on the perfume counter, and I’d often go in for a free squirt of the latest smelly during my lunch break. I didn’t really expect to find it, but I didn’t even see any buildings that looked familiar.

Back down into Briggate, the main shopping area, which is now pedestrianised, losing all the hustle, bustle and old charm, that the city had.

I was extremely pleased to see the arcades were still there, totally restored to their former glory.

County Arcade

Above is County Arcade

Thorntons Arcade?

I may be wrong, but I think this is Thorntons Arcade.

Walking down through Briggate, and turning left, I spotted the building on the corner of Call Lane where I used to work, now divided into what looks like several small premises, it once housed W.H.Smith (Wholesale).

Tetley’s Brewery is just down that road, and I remember the dray horses clattering down the side street.

Past the impressive Corn Exchange building, which was impossible to get a photo of, due to all the traffic,  we made our way to the Market Hall, now this is some building for a market hall though I can’t say I ever took much notice of it in my youth.

Leeds City Market Hall

Leeds City Market. I’ve spent many a shilling in there, but one memory that really sticks in my mind, was going there with my mum, she used to buy all her material for making clothes from a stall in there, and just opposite the material stall was a pet stall, selling puppies and kittens 😦 😦 where I’d spend ages looking and longing.

Time was getting on, so after a quick coffee and a bite to eat, we made our way back to the station for the train back to Harrogate.

We hadn’t been in long, when the phone rang, it was my mum, they’re were discharging her at 6pm and could we pick her up.

We stayed in all day Saturday to keep my mum company.

On the Sunday her friend paid her a visit, so I joined T in Knaresborough at a pub called Blind Jacks.

Blind Jacks pub in Knaresborough market square

Blind Jack  was a civil engineer who lost his sight at the age of six, an amazing character, the wiki link is well worth a read.

statue of Blind Jack in Knaresborough

T sat with Blind Jack…….a little too much ale there T 😉

The oldest chemist shop in Britain

Finally another bit of history, the small building in the middle is the oldest chemist shop in Britain, dating from around 1720, it can be found in Knaresborough market square.

Monday afternoon, after making sure everything was sorted for my mums continued care, we set off back to the midlands.

A strange, unexpected but still enjoyable break……was it fate that the campsite was full on the Sunday? I think so, as the hospital would not have been able to contact me if we’d been on a campsite down south.


12 thoughts on “A change of direction – part two

  1. I was thinking, that shot of the river reminds me of my rowing days on the Ouse. Then I noticed the steps we carried the boats down, and just on the left, the boat house 🙂

    It was wonderful rowing down the river early on Sunday mornings. It wasn’t so wonderful doing the training sessions during the week, which was the reason I quit in the end. You couldn’t do one or the other, you had to do both.

    Nice pic of Clifford’s tower. I shall be thinking of it as Gerald’s tower in future though. I loved the street inside the museum too. It seemed so lifelike to me. Neat website about it.

    That big wheel is horrible!! What is that doing in York? You wouldn’t have got me up there. It’s only saving grace is your rainy aerial photo 😀

    I’d forgotten the buses were green in Leeds. Probably because I never used them within the city and the central bus station (down by Appleyards) was miles out of my route.

    Doesn’t the Black Prince against the Queen’s look impressive? They must have cleaned up the Queen’s it doesn’t look too dirty.

    It probably is Thornton’s – especially if there was a Thornton’s shop in there. Aren’t both those arcades beautiful?

    Didn’t the Corn Exchange become home to some small trendy shops or something at some point?

    The Blind Jack story is amazing. I knew the name but had no idea of his history. It is just incredible. Worth a blog post on its own. I wonder if Blind Jack drank? He wouldn’t have had time I would have thought. And building the road of Stanedge Edge?!! that is one serious achievement even with eyesight. I didn’t know smallpox could make you blind either.

  2. 🙂 I’m sure Gerald would have been highly impressed to know of your name for Clifford’s Tower 🙂

    We were quite shocked to see the big wheel too, though its not in an obtrusive place. I’d always fancied a ride on the London Eye, although this one wasn’t as big, it was good to see York. Pity about the rain though 😦

    I think you’re right about the Corn Exchange, though we didn’t go inside.

    I’ve been Googling to find out if Blind Jack ever drank in his namesake pub, and found this article, though I haven’t read it yet.

  3. I enjoyed this journey too – it’s funny how somethings are exactly the same as you remember and others not, when you physically revisit the past. I think I would feel at home in Leeds as we have in Sydney & Melbourne numerous buildings reminiscent of the old architectural styles. I’m happy to hear your mum is on the mend, and although it wasn’t quite as planned your break gave you the opportunity to explore places you hadn’t been to for a while 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂
      It’s quite odd when somewhere that was so familiar and part of everyday life becomes totally alien to what my mind had remembered. 😦

  4. The arcades are the best bit. My son is at Uni in Leeds so it’s become a little too familiar.
    Loved your uncle’s paintings. I didn’t have time for Clifford’s Tower and the Castle Museum last time I was there, though I’ve been before. I think the museum’s been revamped so is probably worth another look?

    • Thank you, yes, he was an extremely talented man. I only wish I could have inherited some of his talent, I’d love to be able to paint like that 🙂

  5. I loved reading about York and Knaresborough – it is ages since I last was in York and it is time I had a visit – so I may just get out there in a week or two. I work in Leeds so see the sights you photographed almost every day – excellent pictures though. Leeds is changing daily. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed this and I am pleased your mum is getting better.

    • Thank you.
      I can’t get over the fact of how our paths have crossed so much…..the lead mines, the reservoirs, Leeds etc. I really am re-living my childhood through your blog posts 🙂

      I look forward to a blog post from you on York then? 😀

      Obviously as a teenager in Leeds, I didn’t take much interest in the the city itself. I really wish I’d taken an interest in photography then, and captured what is now just a memory. 😦

      Oddly, even now though, I don’t seem to capture my immediate everyday life, I think I have a lesson to be learned there.

      • Ah, thanks…I am glad you are reliving your childhood through my posts…what a lovely thing to say! I think teenagers are too busy with themselves to really take an interest in things that don’t involve the other sex (my daughter still does…). I was lucky – at school our one of our teachers used to take a handful of us for weekends away Youth Hostelling (it wouldn’t happen now), but we had a great time – we went to Malham, Dacre Banks, Settle and all over and through this I got a love of the Dales, and through caving I got a love of the wild places. My mum was an amateur historian and through her I got a love of history and Yorkshire and the ‘odd things’ which reside here. As you get older I believe your life takes on more substance, and things that weren’t important to you once suddenly play a big part of your life – priorities shift. I started this blog really to write about the walks I have done over the last 40 odd years, but I have no doubt it will include cities and other historical buildings as time goes on. I am looking forward to writing the post on York! It is nice to share a post with someone who has a genuine interest in the same things as I do!.

        • Your teachers sounds amazing. I was in the guides, and did similar things, though I’m sure my love of Yorkshire came from my dad who was always happy to venture into wild places.

          You’re right about the shift in priorities, I’m far more aware of the simple things in life than I was 40-50 years ago.

          Even blog priorities shift too 😉 my main reason to start one was to record my days of retirement, but I’ve digressed onto other subject too, often fuelled by other blogs I’ve read. 🙂

          • haha – interesting exchange between you both. I suppose I should finish my Yorkshire series that I started on Clouds, or to be more precise, do the second post in the series … I guess I won’t do York just yet 😀 too much photographic competition!

  6. Lovely, interesting post! The pictures are awesome — that tower reminds me of Martello tower here, but the first of the arcade photos is a winner! I totally fell in love with it.

    Towns and cities change constantly and nothing is ever the same, even if only a few years have passed. Sometimes we romanticize or glorify the places so that we get almost disappointed when we see them today.

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