Bygone Bishopthorpe, Acaster Malbis & Naburn

Bishopthorpe abounds with many unusual and curious stories.  Did you know, for example, that after the Second World War, Bishopthorpe used to organise large ‘Open Shows’ which attracted great numbers of exhibitors and thousands of spectators?  The coconut-shy was a huge attraction as coconuts were a treat rarely seen since before the war.  Did you also know that, following the snow storms of 1947, the great thaw caused a house boat to be stranded in the middle of a field?  This left Bishopthorpe Parish Council with a headache which lasted for several years! Finally, did you also know that, in 1842, numerous people crossed the river by the Bishopthorpe ferry to reach a prize fight on the Fulford shore?  The vicar’s curate helped to get two policemen across the river from the vicarage lawn.  Unfortunately, the constables were then assaulted while trying to break up the crowd.

All kinds of stories were discovered while researching the late Robin Hill’s Bishopthorpe photographs which were taken during the 1940s and early 1950s.  Robin ventured into Acaster Malbis and captured a few scenes there as well as aiming his lens across the river towards Naburn.  He also enjoyed collecting old postcards of the area.

Robin (1924 – 2004) lived in Myrtle Avenue, Bishopthorpe, and attended the local school.  He married in 1956 and, four years later, left with his wife Barbara to work at the Edinburgh City Museums.  Scottish publisher Richard Stenlake unearthed Robin’s two albums of photographs and postcards and asked members of Bishopthorpe Local History Group to research some of them and write up the many intriguing stories which lay behind the images.  The resulting book, Bygone Bishopthorpe, Acaster Malbis & Naburn, has recently been published and is available at York bookshops.

Available in Bishopthorpe at Bishopthorpe Library or Bishopthorpe Community Archive (on Monday afternoons, upstairs at the Village Hall, 2.30 – 5.00pm).  Price £10.95.

Also available in York bookshops: Waterstones in Coney Street; the little apple bookshop in Petergate; Fossgate Books in Fossgate.

If you are not local, copies can be bought by post from Linda Haywood, 39 Acaster Lane, Bishopthorpe, York YO23 2SA.  Cheques made payable to Bishopthorpe Local History Group.  Price £10.95.  Please add £2.00 post & packing.

See Stephen Lewis’s article about the book in The York Press: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/16592124.bygone-bishopthorpe-5-surprising-photos-of-village-life-70-years-ago/

Linda Haywood

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