January 15 - 18, 2001

Photos & Text 2001 by
Len Schwer
Revised 11 March 2001

Alcuin Lodge
  Arriving in York we took a taxi from the York Train Station to our second B&B - Alcuin Lodge. Although it is a short 5-10 minute walk from the station to Alcuin Lodge, I thought it well worth the £5 fare to arrive promptly at the Lodge without a bit of a 'wander' through parts of York unknown.
  The room at the Alcuin Lodge was quite small compared to the room we had just left in Bath.
But it was fine for the two of us. The owners, Susan & Peter Taylor, were very nice hosts, although we never did meet Susan. The included breakfast was a full English breakfast that 'changed up' each day with a variation on the eggs and potatoes; we had potato served in the form of a waffle one morning.
  On the morning we left York & the Alcuin Lodge, there was a light dusting of snow, a preview of weather to come.
Alcuin Lodge
Alcuin Lodge
Alcuin Lodge Departure Day

City Sights
City of York Tourist Information
Your Tourist Guide
View Street Map of York
  The York Minster, or simply Minster, is visible from most of York, as a look down Station Road that runs in front of the York Station illustrates.
  Our first full day in York started with a guided 2 hour walking tour, conducted by local volunteers; our's was a very nice man name John. The tours start at 10:15 in front of the Exhibition Square. Our group had about 10 tourists from Australia, Spain, and the States.
  The tour starts with the Roman history of the city and an explanation that the wall that still encircles the city is (mostly) not Roman, but Medieval. The present wall was built on top of the old Roman wall; see the photo where the Medieval wall, with arches, is on top of the Roman wall.
  The St. Leonard's plaque gives an illustration of the (recent) history you'll find in York:
the fellow that funded the hospital died in 1255, the hospital was refounded in 1540, not too old compared to the Roman stuff circa 800AD!
  The City's walls have four 'bars' (gates) and we started our walking tour near Boothham Bar. In York, bars are gates, gates are streets, and pubs are bars.
  The famous Shambles area of York used to be the meat selling area of the City in Elizabethan times, and still provides the visitor with some sense of how things were back then. The street is very narrow and the buildings slightly overhang the street; taxes were based on the amount of land occupied, so people built inverted pyramid dwellings. The narrow street and crowed effect is enhanced by the shoppers moving along the street and stopping at the numerous eateries and tourist shops along the Shambles.
Station Road View
Station Road View of the Minster
Exhibition Square
Walking Tour Group
Roman Wall
St Leonard's Plaque
Outside Bootham Bar
Inside Bootham Bar
on High Petergate inside Bootham Bar
The Shambles

York Minster
  The Minster is the largest medieval structure in the United Kingdom. The present building started construction in about 1220 and was completed in 1472. Perhaps the greatest treasure of the Minster is its 128 strained glass windows, dating from the 12th century to the present. A fulltime staff maintains both the stained glass windows and the building's stone work.
  The best overviews of the Minster are from the third floor of the M&S Department Store. This is no real secret as they have a coin operated telescope mounted near the store window with the best view.
  After our walking tour, and a much needed warm-up coffee and hot chocolate, we visited the Minster and took the free guided tour from
a nice man named George. It was too bad it wasn't a nice sunny day so that the interior views of the strained glass windows would be more vibrant.
  The Rose Window commemorates the ending of the War of the Roses in 1486. The Chapter House was particularly interesting because of its arched domed roof and surrounding strained glass windows. The leaders of the church continue to meet in this room and each benched seat has a plaque with the name of the person to whom the seat belongs.
  The Minster is a marvel and deserves time to appreciate all it has to offer. It certainly helped to establish York as the Northern Capital of England.
York Minster from M&S
York Minster from M&S
York Minster Towers
York Minster West Entrance
Sacred Heart Eight Lancet Window
Chapter House
Sacred Heart
Rose Window
Chapter Windows
Chapel Ceiling
Model of Chapter Roof Structure
Chapter Benched Seats
Night View York Minster North Side
Night View York Minster North Side

Castle Museum & Clifford's Tower
  Our second day in York started with a bus tour of York using the services of Guide Friday. The tour itself isn't all that interesting, but it provides a view of parts of York beyond an easy walking distance and we used it as hop-on-hop-off transportation to the southern end of the city to visit the Castle Museum.
  The Castle Museum is a great place to visit because it is so strange. Most of the exhibit items are from a private collection of a country doctor, who collected everyday items and was often paid with the possessions of his patients. Because the items are everyday things, e.g. locks, milking accessories, clocks & watches, they are more interesting than collections of royal jewels and such.
The other oddity about the Castle Museum, is it is housed in what used to be a debtor's prison; in the basement of the museum you can visit the cells. The large grassy court in front of the museum once served as the exercise yard for the prisoners.
  The museum had a special collection on the history of chocolate in England, with an emphasis on how the chocolate trade benefited the English at the expense of the cacao producing colonies. Augie found this replica of a cacao plant interesting.
  Adjacent to the Castle Museum is Clifford's Tower, an old defensive position. The current stone tower was completed in 1270. But its predecessor, a wooden structure, is most infamous as the site of a anti-Jewish riot in 1190 when 150 Jews died.
Court & Castle Museum
Castle Museum
Cocao Plant ( AES)
Cliffords Tower
Cliffords Tower Len ( AES)
Cliffords Tower Augie

National Railway Museum
  Our final York site visit was The National Railway Museum, which is billed as the largest in England, and at nearly 2 acres, probably has some claim on the world's largest railway museum. It is a very new facility and the exhibits are all well done. The specialty for British visitors is the large collection of Royal Coaches that served as the primary cross country transport for the Royals until recent times.
  For me the most interesting display was the Mallard steam locomotive which holds the world's speed record for steam powered railed vehicles of 126 MPH in 1938.
They also have a model of the Chunnel Train and a cross section
of the Chunnel Tube with an associated video on the construction and transit of the Chunnel that is very interesting.
  However, the most interesting part of the museum, for Augie and me, is what they termed the 'working museum' which means they are working on the exhibits in that section. It was more like a warehouse of odds and ends all related to rail transport and visitors are allowed to walk through this part of museum and poke and prod at items of interest and partially completed exhibits. It was kind of a 'backstage' museum experience.
Mallard Steam Locomotive
Mallard Controls
Chunnel Train

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Photos & Text 2001 by Len Schwer