The Mystery Man outside the Palace

D.Smith, Cart&man, 300dpi

We are puzzled by this intriguing photograph and hope that someone can identify the man sitting in his ‘cart’ outside the gateway to the Archbishop’s Palace.  Who is he and what can he be delivering – if anything – in this unusual vehicle? The Strawberry Gothick front of the Palace, seen through the gateway, is almost covered in ivy which helps date the image to the mid-to-late 1930s.

The photograph came from David Smith who found it in his great aunt’s belongings after she died in 1995.  David does not think that his great aunt, MISS VIOLET AIR, had any connection with Bishopthorpe.  She was a member of the well-known Air family of York.  Violet’s father owned a coal business in Cherry Street, off Bishopthorpe Road.  One of her brothers brought coal by barge from the West Riding and another brother was landlord of The Globe Inn, situated in the Shambles.  The family also operated the rowing boats from King’s Staithe and New Walk.  Violet came from an interesting family but does it have any connection with this photograph?

Please get in touch by adding a comment above, or email us at if you can throw any light on the man or his cart.

Terry’s Head Quarters Open Day

Many local people will have passed by the former Terry’s factory and headquarters buildings in recent months and been intrigued by what’s been happening on the site. For a good few years the factory buildings had been allowed to deteriorate and many were worried for the long term future of what is a beautiful example of early 20th Century Art Deco style industrial and commercial architecture, including the iconic clock tower.
We are never likely to see a return of the industry and the type of employment that Terry’s generated here, but we can at least hope that this glimpse of our more recent past should be preserved and given a new lease of life.

So it’s good to see the quality of refurbishment that now seems to be taking place on the site, albeit just glimpsed through the old factory gates, and if the projections can be believed it seems that the total development could generate even more jobs than the old factory itself provided. But rather than just sneaking a look through the gates there’s now an opportunity for local residents to get inside and have a proper look round.

Springfield Healthcare and SIMPSON (York) Limited are the organisations working together on the sensitive restoration of the former Head Quarters, turning this listed building originally built in 1926 into 82 care suites and eight luxury apartments.
On the 10th of May they are holding an “Open Doors” evening between 4pm – 7pm, offering the local community the chance of a full tour of the building before any major construction works take place.  Included in the tour will be a chance to find out more about the history of the Head Quarters along with the proposed plans for the site. There will also be another tour arranged in the future to look around again once the work has been completed.

So take the opportunity on the evening of the 10th to drop in and see for yourself what’s really happening in this special part of the local neighbourhood.