Uncovering York’s Football Heritage: A Look through the Archive

Today, Francesca discusses the work we’ve recently been doing on our Uncovering York’s Sporting Heritage project…

For many of York’s residents, men and women, young and old, the thrill of being in the crowd at Bootham Crescent and cheering on York City’s ‘Minstermen’ has been one of the defining experiences of York life. From the building of Bootham Crescent Stadium in 1923, through the ‘Happy Wanderers’ reaching the FA Cup semi-final in 1955, to the team’s record-breaking 100-point season in 1984, and the historic campaign by the Supporter’s Trust to save the club from financial troubles in 2002, York City’s history is one of highs and lows. It is a story that we have been lucky enough to be able to preserve and help to tell at York Explore, the new home of York City’s archive.

The club’s programme archive, once held at York City Football Club Foundation, has been deposited at York Explore as part of the Uncovering York’s Sporting Heritage project. The project, a collaborative effort between Explore York Libraries and Archives, York City FC Foundation and York City Knights Foundation, is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and aims to preserve and share the stories of how sport has shaped York’s communities over the past decades. In addition to hosting a range of activities and working with various community groups to share Explore’s archives with residents, as part of the project we hope to engage local sports teams with the opportunities of managing their own archive, and to expand our own sporting collections by working with local teams who wish to deposit their archives with us; York City FC was the first to do so.

York City’s archive is a rich trove for uncovering the proud history of the club. The collection contains over 2,500 match-day programmes collected by fans over the decades, from single sheets noting team lists and advertising local tea houses, to the glossier modern programmes covering youth teams and charity work undertaken by the club. It also includes an extensive collection of press cuttings, fanzines, tickets and other items that tell the rich story of York City’s players and fans over the twentieth century. In this post we will have a glimpse into just a few of the treasures of the York City FC archive…

The image above is one of the oldest of the archived programmes, for an FA Cup match against Huddersfield Town in 1938. This match is still the most highly-attended game in Bootham Crescent’s history, with over 28,000 spectators. In those days there was neither seating nor covered stands at the stadium, and all viewers watched the match from banked stands behind a memorable white picket fence. The York City collection also includes this picture, reprinted later in the York Press, showing the crowd at the 1938 Huddersfield match.

One of York City’s proudest moments was undoubtedly its historic cup run in the 1954-55 season, when the plucky Minstermen reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. The squad were quickly dubbed the ‘Happy Wanderers’, after the popular 1954 song by The Stargazers, which gave the souvenir booklet below its name.


Another curious commemorative object in the collection is this first-day cover from 1974. First-day covers were special envelopes or postcards, issued by the Royal Mail in very limited runs, to commemorate significant occasions. Fans would send off for the cover and receive it in the post on issue. This cover commemorates York City’s first match in Division Two, having been promoted in 1974, and is signed by the club captain Barry Swallow.

One of the more memorable chapters in York City’s recent history was its financial troubles, and the determined efforts of the Supporters’ Trust to save the club in 2002. The Trust campaigned and raised funds to support the club through a range of endeavours – many of them recorded in the programmes and ephemera in the York City archive – even including walking over hot coals! This poster was one of many carried and waved by Supporters’ Trust members at matches and on marches through the city.

The project to sort, box, catalogue and partially digitise the York City archive has been carried out by Explore staff together with an enthusiastic body of volunteers, made up of York City fans with an interest in the history of the club. Collecting and sorting the material has provided us with a fascinating glimpse into the club’s history: one of highs and lows on and off the pitch, but telling the story of a devoted fanbase. When it is safe for us to reopen our archives service, this collection will be available for public consultation.

Do you belong to a sports club that might be interested in preserving and sharing its own archive? Explore is developing some ‘Managing Your Sporting Archive’ sessions especially for sports teams, giving you all the necessary know-how to start sorting, storing and sharing your archive – see our Events page for more details as they are confirmed, or contact us at archives@exploreyork.org.uk to be kept informed of when they are likely to be. In the meantime, why not check out our Keeping Your Archives page for advice and information on how to get started with managing your archives?

Uncovering York’s Sporting Heritage

Meet Francesca, Archives Intern on our current project, Uncovering York’s Sporting Heritage project. Today she talks you through what we have been up to so far, what’s still to come, and how you can get involved…

For many of us, sports provide some of our fondest memories. Playing games with friends and family as a child, training with local teams, or attending a match on the weekend: sports help us keep healthy, make friends and define our communities. Likewise, looking back at York’s sporting history helps us to uncover the story of how ordinary people in the city had fun, bonded and formed communities over the decades and even centuries.

In 2019 Explore York Archives, York City FC Foundation and York City Knights Rugby League Foundation were awarded £57,500 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support ‘Uncovering York’s Sporting Heritage’, a project exploring the importance of sport to York’s residents both past and present. Whilst we are currently having a bit of a project hiatus with the lockdown, we thought we should bring you up to speed with where we are so far!

Burton Stone Lane Adult School football team, c.1919

We have uncovered many interesting facts about York’s sporting heritage: for instance, the city was the location of England’s first recorded football riot in 1660, and the sport was banned entirely in York in 1726! The story of sport in York is also the story of the lives of its residents, from the eighteenth-century high society élite who visited York to attend the races at Clifton Ings or the Knavesmire, and the gentlemen who initially established York’s cricket and rugby clubs, to the railwaymen and Terry’s and Rowntree’s factory workers whose facilities, provided by their socially-conscious Quaker employers, were the first public gyms, public parks and swimming pools in the city.

Horse racing in York, c.1900

As part of this project, we hope to tell the story of this sporting heritage by engaging our communities in the work of the archives. As soon as we are able to, we will be running a number of family sessions and Community Engagement Days to give you a glimpse into the city’s rich sporting history uncovered during the project, and to engage children with this heritage through fun activities. We are also currently producing a reminiscence resource centred on sporting memories for use by dementia groups, helping attendees to reminisce about their own memories of sport in York. Once the Community Stadium opens in the city, we will engage fans with a new artwork in the stadium, and launch a digital installation showcasing some of our amazing sporting archives. It’s bought and ready to go!

Sporting Memories reminiscence session at Bootham Crescent

Of course, this heritage continues to grow, and we hope that going forward our archives can reflect York’s current vibrant sporting life as well. Already as part of the project, with several volunteers, we have collected, sorted and catalogued York City FC’s extensive archives (keep an eye on the blog for our future post on that), including many historic match-day programmes, press cuttings and other memorabilia, which will be accessible at York Explore as soon as we can reopen. When the Community Stadium opens, we hope to gather oral histories from match-day visitors to the stadium, to record their valuable memories of York’s sporting heritage for the future. The first phase of our schools programme was successfully completed before lockdown, and we’re busy working on the content for the second and third phases so that we can continue our work as soon as it is safe to do so.

Archives collated by York City Knights Foundation, 2019

One of the big aims of the project is to help local sports teams and interested individuals to take care of their own archives better, and to help us preserve the story of York’s sporting heritage for the future. This is where you come in! If you are involved in a club and would like to donate your archives to us once we reopen (or in the future) then get in touch with us at archives@exploreyork.org.uk and we’ll register your interest ready for when we can restart the project. There is absolutely no obligation to do so, and if you would prefer to get some advice on how to keep your sporting archives better in-house, keep an eye out for our half-day Managing Your Sporting Archives workshops later in the year, or have a look at our general advice and guidance on the Keeping Your Archive pages on our website.

We are really excited by this project, and are really looking forward to being able to deliver the rest of our objectives as soon as we can! In the meantime, why not have a look at some of our sporting photographs available on Explore York Images, our new image portal?

A great start to 2016!

I know I’ve been really quiet on the blog recently, but rest assured I have been working away behind the scenes. One of my big pieces of work at the end of last year was the creation of our 2016 Access Plan. The Access Plan will become an annual piece of work, letting you know what we are planning to do over the course of each calendar year. It includes details about our overall strategy, as well as information about partnership projects, funding bids and our cataloguing priorities. The plan will be published annually on our website (you can find the 2016 plan here), and we will update you quarterly on how things are progressing.

Which leads me on nicely to the fact that I’ve just published the first of our 2016 quarterly Access Plan updates (available on our website here). We’ve had a brilliant start to the year, with an increase in both the number of researchers we are hosting and the quantity of documents we are producing in the archives reading room. The plan contains details of a new partnership project we have formed with History and English students at York St John’s University, who have been helping us with some of our collections processing work. You can also find out more about our current projects – including some digitisation work and our Wellcome Trust bid – and some of the outreach events that we have hosted. I honestly can’t believe how much work we have achieved over the last three months. We really couldn’t have done this without the hard work and dedication of all the staff and volunteers at York Explore.

If you haven’t been into the Archives and Local History Service recently, then you won’t yet have had a chance to look at our new signage. We’ve improved our shelf signage, created some new banners for the stairwell and improved the appearance of the staff desk. We really hope you like the new look as much as we enjoyed creating it.


Next time you are in York Explore also keep an eye out for our new archives display case in the foyer. Over the coming months we will be creating a number of mini-exhibitions to coincide with local events and to promote the archive collections. Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to see!

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The 2015 series of Mint Yard lectures is here!

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who attended the Mint Yard Lecture Richard III weekend at York Explore – it was great to see so many people there! Whilst that was going on, I have been putting together the new series of lectures for this autumn. My ultimate aim is to produce an annual brochure for the lectures but I have to admit I’m not completely there yet! The big news is that now the York Explore refurbishment is complete, the lectures will be returning to the city centre on a permanent basis from September. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any Mint Yard Lectures in branch libraries any more – we will continue to host extra lectures in venues around the city. More information on those lectures will follow in due course.

Mint Yard map

The Mint Yard Lectures were named after the Mint Yard, on which York Explore now stands.

I am now very happy to say that tickets for the new series of lectures are now on sale from Explore libraries, or by calling Archives and Local History on 01904 552800. Tickets for the September lecture are also available on the Inspire website (www.feelinginspired.co.uk) and if you prefer to book online tickets for the others will also be on there shortly.

The first lecture in this year’s series takes place on 30th September and features a screening of local films from the Yorkshire Film Archive (YFA) collections. This is a great opportunity to join us as YFA bring past events and experiences back to life, and to enjoy reliving shared memories of childhood, home and working life in Yorkshire as captured on film throughout the decades. Who knows, you may even spot yourself or a family member in the clips!

Yorkshire Film Archive image

The Yorkshire Film Archive features lots of images of families and local businesses.

 

The Yorkshire Film Archive also has film relating to Rowntrees.

The archive also holds films relating to Rowntrees.

On 28 October Dr Peter Addyman will speak about the forthcoming York volume of the British Atlas of Historic Towns (due to be published this autumn). Work started on the volume, part of a pan-European scheme for atlases of all Europe’s historic towns and cities, 43 years ago. Since then a team of archaeologists, historians, cartographers and editors have assembled data on all York’s important historic buildings and sites, shown on a base map of 1852 and in 10 development maps showing the city from AD200 to 1836. If you have an interest in historic maps, this is the lecture for you!

 

Historic Towns map

The new York volume of the British Atlas of Historic Towns shows historic features on modern maps.

In November Dr Kaley Kramer will be uncovering York’s printing heritage into the 18th century. York’s history of printing began with the arrival of migrant Dutch printers in the late 15th century and continued right up to the present day. The city hosted King Charles I’s printer during the turbulent summer of 1642; became a northern hub of Puritan and Quaker printing during the Commonwealth and was home to one of the earliest regional newspapers – the York Mercury – founded in 1718. Join Kaley as she takes the story into the 18th century and beyond.

Our last lecture of 2015 will be held on 9th December and is unlike anything I have certainly seen before. Dr Sarah Fiddyment of University of York will be discussing her role in a pioneering study of medieval parchment DNA. Parchment (made from animal skins) was the medium of writing in medieval Europe and thousands of these skins still survive today in our libraries and archives, holding an untapped reservoir of evidence. Underneath the pictures and words lies a hidden layer of biomolecular information waiting to be read. In this fusion of history and science, the University of York project has been able to uncover what animals were used to make parchment, where they might come from and much more. Get your tickets now for what should be a very enlightening lecture about how 21st century science is retelling the story of medieval history.

I am so pleased to have such a varied programme of interesting topics, with such good speakers and featuring a wide variety of types of archives. All lectures start at 7pm at York Explore and tickets are £6 each (£5 for Yorkcard holders and all including tea and coffee) so why not pop down to your local library and get yours now? We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

 

We’re #imaginingyork for Local History Month!

I realise I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently, so apologies for that. I’ve been continuing to work on the new archives service at York Explore, and I’m pleased to report that the intrepid band of Archives & Local History volunteers have now completed the cataloguing of all our open access book stock! Given that we have only been open for four months that’s an amazing achievement, so a massive thank you goes to all of them from me. There’s still a lot to do, though, including the cataloguing of our special collections books and pamphlets, so keep an eye out for more updates over the coming months.

Today marks the start of Local and Community History Month, which aims to increase awareness of local history and promote history in general to local communities. This year we will be tweeting some of the amazing images from our Imagine York collection throughout this month, so make sure you are following @YorkArchivesUK to see them all (they all have the hashtag #imagineyork). I’ve only selected a handful of the thousands of historic images we have in the collection, so if you are inspired to look for more you can do so through the Imagine York website. There’s something in there for everyone, from transport to historic buildings, community events and leisure pursuits, so tell us what you think of the images and which ones are your favourites. You can also directly participate in improving our knowledge of the collections – if you have information about a photograph or notice an error, use the ‘Tell us about this image’ button to let us know. I get weekly reports of all the updates so I can make the necessary changes.

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897

York’s residents gather to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 1897

Don’t forget, if you like any of the images on the site we can supply high-resolution digital copies for you to print at home for £7 per image (plus £5 handling fee). There are additional charges for publishing them in books and on websites, but with reproduction charges starting at just £13 it’s worth taking a look. We can take payment over the phone or by cheque (payable to ‘Explore York Libraries and Archives’), so just drop us an email at archives@exploreyork.org.uk with details of the images you would like and we’ll be happy to sort everything out for you.

In other news, we still have two Mint Yard lectures to come in our summer programme – former City Archivist Richard Taylor will be speaking about his new role at Transport for London at Acomb Explore on 27th May, and you can find out ‘what’s new with the Vikings’ from University of York’s Dr Steve Ashby at York Explore on 16th June. Tickets for both events are on sale now, priced £5 each, and are available from any Explore library or from www.feelinginspired.co.uk. I’m currently finalising the autumn Mint Yard Lectures programme and the details for a very special summer weekend at the moment (more information will follow shortly).

Johnson typeface

Richard Taylor will be discussing ‘London’s Handwriting’ at Acomb Explore on 27th May

In the meantime, enjoy #imagineyork and remember to let us know your thoughts on the images we have chosen.

It’s time to Explore Your Archive!

This week the Explore Your Archive campaign is running across the UK and Ireland. This annual campaign was launched last year by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) to ‘raise awareness of archives, their value to society and the impact they have on individual lives.’ Its aim is to promote archives to people who have previously never interacted with them, through a week-long programme of events and activities. Click on the video below to watch the advertisement for this year’s campaign:

Obviously we would have wanted to take part in Explore Your Archive this year, but as the building phase of the York: Gateway to History project hasn’t quite finished yet we are not able to offer tours of the new service or any exhibitions at the moment. Never fear, though, as yesterday I put on my hard hat and high vis jacket and took my camera to York Explore to give you a virtual tour of the new public spaces instead…

You are now entering the world of Archives and Local History…
When you arrive on the first floor landing at York Explore, you’ll see we’ve cleaned and re-grouted the floor tiles, and installed a new SmartTV screen next to the entrance to Archives and Local History, which we will use to provide useful information about our services and to advertise events. We have a similar screen on the other side of the landing for people using the lift.

First floor landing

We have cleaned the landing and installed new benches to make it a more welcoming space.

Stop 1…Local History
This is the first room you come to in the new service, and as well as housing our Local History collections it is also the Quiet Study space for the library. We’ve installed a new staff desk, refurbished the bookcases, the parquet floor and some of the existing tables and chairs and laid a new carpet. There’s also new lighting, and behind the scenes we have installed a new ventilation system to regulate the temperature better. We are currently awaiting the delivery of six new height-adjustable desks, chairs and some additional bookcases, so when it’s finished the room will have space for 32 people, including four using public network PCs. The room will also be equipped with two computers for searching the library and archives catalogues, a SmartTV screen and a walk-up book scanner. The bookcases are currently empty, but I promise we will have the books on the shelves by 5th January!

Reception desk

The new staff reception desk in Local History

Local History

Not all the furniture has arrived yet but it is already looking great!


…and on your left
The new Archives Reading Room is located to the left of the staff desk as you enter Archives and Local History, and is now complete with a stunning glass door for security. The room will accommodate 12 archives users at once, and also has a new staff desk. By the time we open it will also have a SmartTV screen, book scanner and a height-adjustable digitisation table with a tripod for people wanting to photograph archives. We have managed to get the periodicals back on the shelves in this space already, and we will also have some council minutes, accounts and early electoral registers on open access for the first time.

Reading Room Door

Entry to the Archives Reading Room is through our new glass door.

Archives Reading Room

Part of the Archives Reading Room.

Through to…Family History
Our new Family History room is at the other end of Local History, in a space which was previously closed to the public. It’s also the room that has undergone the biggest transformation, as we have removed the old shelving and installed a mezzanine level which will hold a large table and chairs. It’s not the easiest space to photograph given its height, so rather than relying on my photography you might need to visit it for yourselves to see what a great room it is! The Family History room will also have three public network PCs, three new digital microfilm readers and a SmartTV, plus some comfortable chairs and tables for anyone wanting to use their own laptop or tablet to access the library Wifi.

Mezzanine

The new mezzanine structure – it’s a feat of engineering!

PC tables

Our new desks awaiting their PC’s and microfilm readers

…and finally…
Our final port of call on this whistle-stop tour is most likely the one you have all been waiting for…the inside of the ‘gold box’. I can confirm that the new mobile shelving has been installed and we are waiting for our first batch of archives to come back (which we are very excited about!).

Shelving

One of our new runs of shelving – it won’t be this empty for long!

And that concludes our virtual tour of the new service! I hope that it gives you an idea of some of the work we have done over the summer, and I look forward to seeing you all in the new service January! As I mentioned earlier this year’s Explore Your Archive campaign is running at the moment, so if you want to find out more about events in your area visit their website.

If you do have any first impressions on the new service, please let us know, either by commenting here or by emailing me direct (laura.yeoman@exploreyork.org.uk).

The new series of Mint Yard lectures is finally announced!

I realise I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently, but don’t worry – I’ve been working away behind the scenes. Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of my time pulling together the new autumn programme for the Mint Yard Lectures. The lectures offer members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the history of Yorkshire from nationally-recognised experts, and form part of our contribution to the council’s Inspire programme.

Mint Yard map

The lectures are named after the old Mint Yard, which stood on the land now occupied by York Explore.

There has been a lot to do – I’ve had to track down speakers, write the content for a leaflet and poster and have them designed, write a press release and put together the content for the council’s Inspire website (as well as writing this blog!). I’ve also had to work out the logistics of how to get the right numbers of chairs, tea and coffee to the right places in time, so it’s been all go!

 

Mint Yard lecture leaflets and posters

The new Mint Yard lecture leaflets and posters arrive on my desk.

I’m pleased to say that my hard work has just about paid off, and tickets for the new series of lectures are now on sale from Explore libraries. The first lecture takes place at Haxby Explore Library next Wednesday (3rd September) and will be by Professor Mark Ormrod from the University of York, so book now to avoid disappointment! Mark’s lecture is entitled Immigrant Communities in medieval Yorkshire, and in it he’ll consider attitudes towards the many thousands of people from continental Europe who made their lives and livelihoods in Yorkshire during the period of the Hundred Years War and the Wars of the Roses. It sounds a brilliant subject so I’m really pleased that he has agreed to kick-start the new autumn programme.

On 9 October the series moves to Dunnington Reading Rooms, which will play host to an examination of the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, the final victory of Harold Godwinson, last Anglo-Saxon king of England. The speaker, Chris Rock, is co-founder and current Chairman of the Battle of Stamford Bridge Society and will discuss the reasons for the battle, its course, consequences and its wider role in history. Chris has previously spoken at Acomb Library, so I’m really happy he’s agreed to present another lecture for us.

Battle of Stamford Bridge poster

Chris Rock of the Battle of Stamford Bridge Society will lecture on the battle in October

In November it’s time to get on your bike with Jim McGurn, Chief Executive of Get Cycling, as he discusses the history and future of the bicycle. We know cycling is practical, sociable, egalitarian, ecological, healthy and fun, but why is it also so divisive? Join Jim at Rowntree Park Reading Cafe on 6 November to find out what the bicycle is: technically, intellectually and socially.

The final lecture for 2014 will be Esther Graham’s Remember Scarborough, which will be held at Acomb Explore on 3 December. As the centenary of the 1914 attack on Scarborough by the German navy approaches, Esther, who is Project Officer for Scarborough Museums Trust’s Remember Scarborough project, will discuss the impact of the bombardment on the town and the Museum Trust’s commemoration of the event.

Whilst it has been a lot of work pulling everything together for the programme, I’m happy we have a good range of subjects on offer and four fantastic speakers. All lectures start at 7pm and tickets are £5 each (including tea and coffee) so why not pop down to your local library and get yours now? Alternatively you will shortly also be able to purchase them through the Inspire website (www.feelinginspired.co.uk). I’m looking forward to seeing you there!