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.

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