Civic Archive

The York civic archive is one of several collections of unique archive material held at the City of York Council Libraries and Archives. It is the archive of the secular city administration dating back to 1155, and continues to grow to this day as new records are created by the City of York Council.Archives on shelves

From 1476 to the present the civic archive holds an unbroken record of how York’s people have governed their City.  A wealth of information – from national taxes to street lighting; from raising a militia to ward off a siege to charity for the homeless; from maintaining bridges to establishing public libraries – is contained in 210 cubic metres of volumes, documents, plans and photographs.

It tells the complex story of a city making its own history and preserves the voices of thousands of citizens.

Whilst some parts of the archive have been catalogued before, large sections of material from the 17th-20th centuries have never been systematically explored, so there are new and exciting discoveries waiting to be found.

The records themselves have had a dramatic journey, and have been stored in a variety of flood-prone locations in York. In October 1892, following a particularly thorough soaking in the Guildhall cellar, the deputy town clerk William Giles took it upon himself to rescue the documents, have them repaired and write the first ever catalogue – a task which he completed in 1909.

His catalogue is still in use today, but only covers a portion of the collection, as do all later lists. The City Making History project aims to supplement traditional finding aids with modern methods in order to understand the collection as a whole and make it more accessible than ever before.

3 thoughts on “Civic Archive

  1. Pingback: A warm welcome to York Press readers! | York: A City Making History

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  3. York has so many old streets with properties that have survived from
    Georgian days and longer. I remember living in the Groves on Brook st. as a newly wed and was moved out when they decided to demolish it.
    I was born in Cole street, three rooms one on top of the other. no sanitation my mother told me you had to go half way down the street and up an alley to find the communal loo.
    I remember my grandmother in Scarborough Tce, having a loo in the backyard which had a bucket under a long wooden seat, a night soil man came along the backlaine and emptied the buckets which were left there for him. that was in the 1920s and 1930s. I remember my granny having only candleligtht and then gas lighting also in Scarborough Tce.
    York made much progress during my early years.
    We went from coal fires and fire ovens to electric cookers and in later years central heating.
    I loved to sit and make toast in front of our fire as a child. Roast chestnuts too. My granny had a lovely copper kettle on a trivet which kept water hot for tea or washing up the pots.
    Life was simpler then. no frozen foods in stores, small shops and bakers were on many streets. the green grocers, the sweet and tobacconist and butchers shops. Small furniture stores, the local pub used by older people usually virtually no teenagers then, just men after work having a quiet pint.
    I lived in Blossom Street and worked there later it was a friendly place then.
    There was everything from hairdressers to bakeries. pubs to a club
    newsagents, sweetshops, garages, bike shop, a doctors and later a dentist.
    A couple of schools, a Chinese laundry, even a cinema, a small hotel and a guest house too. I loved our time there. Our home became a fire station in the war years and saw much action. with the army vehicles and marching troops. foreign troops too such as the free French and Polish and French Canadiians. Plus airforce men stationed in the area.
    It was a wonderful place to live in it.
    Ive lived in different areas from the Groves to Blossom St. Scarcroft Rd,
    Fulford,, Tanghall area, Moss Street, Grosvenor Tce, Acomb,
    Moss Street, Out at Deighton Grove and , Hayton,.
    there are so many nice places to live.
    Now I live in the USA which is a wonderful place to be also. But I look back with nostalgia to my home country.

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