Where Do You Think You Are? A Community Collections Tour of York – Part 3

This is the final part of my series of three posts about my ‘Community Collections Tour of York’.

So far I’ve talked about families and individuals from York who, in various ways, played an important role in the life of the city.

This week’s post focuses on one of York’s most well-known historical figures, a famous artist, whose statue stands in Exhibition Square in front of the Art Gallery – William Etty, R.A.

Many residents of and visitors to York will be familiar with this statue of artist William Etty which stands outside the Art Gallery in Exhibition Square.

Many residents of and visitors to York will be familiar with this statue of artist William Etty which stands outside the Art Gallery in Exhibition Square.

Etty was born on 10th March 1787 at 20 Feasegate. This is commemorated on a plaque on the site where the house once stood, now occupied by modern businesses.

This plaque marks the site of the house on Feasegate where William Etty was born. It is located on the wall between the rear entrance of BHS and Viewpoint Opticians.

This plaque marks the site of the house on Feasegate where William Etty was born. It is located on the wall between the rear entrance of BHS and Viewpoint Opticians.

Etty spent much of his life in London, but he established the York School of Design (later the York School of Art) in 1842. After his retirement in 1848, he returned to York and lived in a house on Coney Street.

He died in York in 1849, and was buried in St Olave’s churchyard.

One of the collections I’m working with is another plaque, this one a memorial stone from Etty’s tomb, which was discovered in the garden of St William’s College by a builder.

St William’s College. A memorial plaque to William Etty was discovered in the garden by a builder.

St William’s College. A memorial plaque to William Etty was discovered in the garden by a builder.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, our Community Collections will be made gradually available to the public throughout 2015. At the moment we are still working on checking and processing them.

I really enjoyed my tour of York, tracing locations connected to some of the collections I’m working with. There are many other locations – most are now simply residential houses or businesses – around the city centre which link to other families, individuals, and businesses  that created the records which now form our Community Collections. I hope this whistle-stop tour of some of them has given you a flavour of our Community Collections Archives.

Where Do You Think You Are? A Community Collections Tour of York – Part 2

Last week I posted Part 1 of a series of 3 posts about my ‘Community Collections Tour’ of York. I talked about John Goodricke, the Morrell family, and the Gray family, most well known for their role as prominent solicitors. This week, I’ll be looking at another long-standing family legal firm, and about a York businessman and politician whose name is probably familiar to many York residents, visitors, and anyone interested in the city’s history and the history of the railways.

Munby & Scott:

Just around the corner from the offices of Gray’s Solicitors on Duncombe Place are the old offices of another long-established law firm, Munby and Scott.

The Munby family were solicitors in York from as early as 1665. In 1878, Henry Venn Scott became a partner in the firm. From 1838, their offices were located at No. 18 Blake Street (which was actually No. 3 Blake Street up until the mid-1950s when the street was renumbered). The house in which their offices were located was originally built in 1789 for a member of the Woodhouse family, who were connected to the Munbys by marriage.

No. 18 Blake Street housed the offices of Munby & Scott from 1838 - 2007.

No. 18 Blake Street housed the offices of Munby & Scott from 1838 – 2007.

George Leeman:

The statue of George Leeman stands just outside the city walls as you walk from the station.

Statue of George Leeman, located just outside the walls of the City as you walk from the Station

Statue of George Leeman, located just outside the walls of the City as you walk from the Station

Inscription on the statue of George Leeman.

Inscription on the statue of George Leeman.

Leeman is most well-known for his connection to the railways and his opposition to George Hudson, the ‘Railway King’. In 1849 he was Chairman of York, Newcastle, and Berwick Railway. He promoted mergers which led to the creation of North Eastern Rail (N.E.R.) in 1854, and from 1874 – 1880 he served as Chairman of N.E.R.

However, Leeman was also a successful lawyer and politician. He was Lord Mayor of York three times – 1853-1854, 1860-1861, and 1870-1871. He was also elected as an M.P. for the city in 1865, 1871 and 1874.

As I mentioned last week, these collections will be made gradually available to the public throughout 2015 as we are still busy processing everything.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading a little more about my walk around York. Thank you to everyone who read and/or commented on my post last week. Next week, in the final post in this series, I’ll be talking about one of York’s most well-known artists.

Where Do You Think You Are? A Community Collections Tour of York Part 1

Hello, I’m Georgie. I’m a Reading and Learning Advisor, usually based at York Explore Library. Since August, I’ve been seconded to our Archives & Local History department working on the Community Collections Project, alongside Sarah Tester and Francesca Taylor.

Community collections consist of non-civic records belonging to individuals, families, businesses and community groups. I was assigned 40 collections of Family and Personal Papers to research and begin to list on CALM, which is the archives management system we use.

I’ve come across some really fascinating stories in the past three months. I was familiar with some of the names – such as the Morrell family and William Etty, but others were new to me. Many of the people who created these collections (which include letters, personal financial records, and diaries) were not particularly famous, but the papers they left behind offer a fascinating insight into not only their personal, family, and professional lives, but also into life in York and Yorkshire from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.

While walking in York one day, I spotted a plaque near Treasurer’s House, commemorating York astronomer, John Goodricke.

Plaque commemorating John Goodricke, near Treasurer's House

Plaque commemorating John Goodricke, near Treasurer’s House

This spawned the idea to look around York for other plaques, statues, and buildings connected with the people behind the collections I’m working on. I did a little research online, and then spent the afternoon of Tuesday 7th October walking around the city, locating sites connected with the people behind some of our Community Collections.

I have divided my tour into three segments which I will share on this blog over the next few weeks.

This week’s post focuses on two York families whose legacy can still be seen around the city today.

The Morrell Family:

One of the collections I’m working on  consists of the personal and household accounts of the Morrell family of York. These papers mostly relate to Robert Morrell and his wife Anna Morrell (nee Wilson). Robert and Anna had a son, William Wilberforce Morrell, who married Lydia Hutchinson in 1869 and had two sons – Cuthbert, born in 1872 and John Bowes, born in 1873.

Cuthbert and John were co-founders of the York Conservation Trust which still cares for several of York’s oldest buildings. John played a key role in the movement to establish a university in York, and the ‘JBM’ Library at York University is named after him. He also served as Lord Mayor of York. He became Director of Rowntrees when he was only 25 years old.

Apart from the JBM Library, there are two other locations in York commemorating the Morrell brothers and their importance to the city.

One is this beautiful timber-framed 14th century house located at the bottom of Walmgate, the Bowes Morrell House.

Plaque from Bowes Morrell House

Plaque from Bowes Morrell House

 Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate

Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate

 

There is also the Cuthbert Morrell House, at 47 Aldwark, which was formerly part of the Blue Coat School

Plaque outside Cuthbert Morrell House, 47 Aldwark.

Plaque outside Cuthbert Morrell House, 47 Aldwark.

The Gray Family:

Another family whose name is still recognized in York today is the Gray family, who were solicitors in York from at least 1695. Several of the collections I’m working on relate to either Gray’s Solicitors or to the family’s personal life. William Gray was born in Hull in 1751. In 1777 he married Faith Hopwood. In 1788, he bought the property that became known as ‘Gray’s Court’, near Treasurer’s House. The Gray family lived there until 1945. Today, it is a luxury hotel, located between Chapter House Street and Ogleforth:

Gray;s Court Hotel, formerly the residence of the Gray family (1788-1945)

Gray’s Court Hotel, formerly the residence of the Gray family (1788-1945)

Gray's Court

Gray’s Court

William became a solicitor, and was a partner in the firm of Graves & Gray. By 1843, the firm had become simply ‘Gray’s Solicitors’ and successive generations of the family were partners. The firm was later joined by partners William Henry Cobb and Ernest Ralph Dodsworth.

In 1897, Gray’s  moved  from their offices at 75 Low Petergate to Duncombe Place.

Gray's Solicitors. The firm moved to this premises on Duncombe Place in 1897.

Gray’s Solicitors. The firm moved to this premises on Duncombe Place in 1897.

These collections won’t be available when we open in January as there is  still need to do some processing work we need to do. We can’t get started on this until we have the new archive open, but we’ll be gradually making collections available throughout 2015 and will let you all know as soon as they are ready.

Next week, I’ll share some images relating to another well-established York legal firm, and to one of York’s most influential businessmen and politicians.

Can You See in 3D? Stereographic Images of York

Remember those Magic Eye pictures that were all the rage in the 90s? They were patterned images, that when stared at for long enough, revealed a hidden 3D shape. What about View-Masters where you looked through a pair of binocular like lenses at a reel of 3D images?

Sawyer Model View-Master

Sawyer Model G View-Master. Photo credit: Wikipedia

1024px-Holmes_stereoscope

Holmes Stereoscope. Photo credit: Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although a seemingly recent invention, both had their origins in the late 19th and early 20th century, where stereographic images of scenery were a popular means of entertainment. Magic Eyes, View-Masters and stereographic images all rely upon the same principles to create the illusion of a 3D image.

After a nosy around our digitised archives last week I stumbled across a collection of stereographic images of places in York like Micklegate and Bootham Bar (see below). These images formed part of a series of “Stereoscopic views of English and Foreign Scenery” which would have been viewed using a stereoscope. Much like View-Masters they allow each eye to see a slightly different angle of the same image, producing a 3D effect. This is exactly how we see in three dimensions (or stereo) every day. Here is an explanation of how it works from the Getty Museum.

Micklegate Bar

Bootham Bar

Above stereographic images of Micklegate Bar (top) and Bootham Bar (bottom) from our Imagine York collection

But… it is possible to train your eyes to see stereoscopic images without a stereoscope! Have a go by staring at the images above and allowing your eyes to relax and cross over – can you see our York images in 3D?

If you need some help doing this, have a look at this guide.

Still finding it tricky? Here is what they should look like when you view them in 3D (without the movement), courtesy of the New York Public Library’s Stereogranimator Project. These are flashing images.

To see more, explore our Flickr album of Stereoscopic Images of York from our Imagine York collection.

More stereographic images can be found via the NYPL’s Stereogranimator Project website by browsing the New York and Boston Public Libraries’ Collections in the drop down list. You can even create your own – share these with us on twitter @YorkArchivesUK or on Facebook!