About this site

In the summer of 2015 a page about ‘Lost Layerthorpe’ on the York Stories website began to collect many comments, memories of the area from people who had lived there from the 1930s until the demolition of the terraced streets later in the 20th century. The comments brought back to life an area that is now, in the early 21st century, completely changed, with very few visible reminders of the community that once lived and worked on those streets. Many of the streets off Layerthorpe have disappeared completely.

The interest in that page led me to set up this separate website where I thought I’d gather together some of the available photos, maps and information.

Our area of interest is not just the road called Layerthorpe but the area around it, which developed around Foss Islands/Layerthorpe/Hallfield Road during the 19th century.

These pages include photos from the city archives of long-demolished streets, aerial photos from Britain from Above, and more recent photos of the area taken for the York Stories site.

There’s also a map. We attempted to record, from memories of the people who lived in the area, a part of York where whole streets were demolished in the 20th century, where very little remains to remind us of the terraced houses and many shops. While compiling the map we visited the area and took photographs, and tried to get our bearings on where the demolished streets had been before the industrial units and car showrooms.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Lost Layerthorpe page on York Stories. I hope you’ve found your way here, and if you’ve information to add, please add your comments.

Lisa @YorkStories

October 2015

6 comments

  1. ‘Wow’ Great new site and one shock for me in the doorway of the co-op store the woman on her own I believe it is my sister I have tried to enlarge the photo; I can get so far to enlarge then it gets blurred just to make sure it is her does anyone know where this photo;is?.

  2. Lisa @YorkStories

    Hi Trev

    The photo is from the City of York Council archives, you can access the collection of images via the link posted under each image from the collection, but this link should be more helpful: https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/client/en_GB/yorkimages/search/results?qu=co-operative+layerthorpe&te=ASSET
    and this is the link to the image from that:
    https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/client/en_GB/search/asset/1016398

    The images on here are at the size recorded there in that collection, I don’t have access to higher resolution versions but you may be able to buy a larger version of it by emailing archives@exploreyork.org.uk

    • Trevor Keeler

      I remember that doorway as much bigger. The shop was the biggest in the area. I still remember the share number after all these years.

      • So do I 13737 why after all these years I still remember the number is a mystery to me.

  3. Mike Kettlewell

    If you can still get hold of the book, LOOKING BACK AT LAYERTHORPE: A YORK SUBURB by Avril E. Webster (ISBN 1 85853 022 9 published 1996 QED BOOKS) there’s a wealth of information about people, streets, events and lifestyles: with a brief history up to the early C19, then continuing until just after the clearances. Of special interest to myself is the 1913 strike at the York County Hygiene Laundry, on the corner of Layerthorpe and Foss Islands Road, in which 200 un-unionised girls walked out when one of their number was sacked for joining a Trade Union: I have two ancestors who were involved in this.

    My main interest comes from my great grandparents George and Mary Casper who lived at 10 Portland Place: their yard was next to Chickory Yard to the east. It was built in 1849 and was on the bottom right of the small street/yard, barely 20 yards from the Foss. Their living conditions must have been atrocious as they were surrounded by; the river, which would completely flood their street, right up to the main road; the Chickory works, who’s fumes would cling to them and their clothes, on a damp, foggy day; the coal yards, close by near the bridge, which would have generated noxious fumes when coal was being unloaded from the coal barges, then loaded onto carts. There was also the noise from the railway and the proximity of the gasometers to contend with.

    A person who may be of interest to others with memories of, or ancestors from Layerthorpe is the Reverend Andrew Robert Fausset, who was the Rector of St. Cuthbert’s Church. Between 1907 and 1909, he visted many families in his parish, regardless of denomination, and made notes in a small notebook. These are available to view at the Borthwick Institute (catalogued under, St. Cuthbert’s Parish visiting books) and there are some examples in the Layerthorpe book. Here’s a couple of examples from 1908/1909:

    ‘Downhill Street. No. 33.
    Mr. & Mrs. Stranger with five children. They have no Sunday clothes to go to Sunday School. Husband out of work. My wife gave them tea and sugar. Some of the children have chicken pox.’

    ‘Layerthorpe. No. 15.
    Mrs. Walkington, widow, has the grocers shop. Has lived in Layerthorpe all her life. Her husband died forty years ago and left her with seven children to bring up. Lives in the house over the archway.’

    Note to Lisa. If you haven’t got a copy of this book, or can’t get hold of one, then let me know and I can send you mine on a long term loan.

  4. Thanks for this excellent and interesting info Mike. Yes, I do have a copy of the book and it has been very helpful. Just used some of its information to add this page: http://layerthorpe-project.yorkstories.co.uk/layerthorpe-working-mens-club/ and the street directory page I included earlier was taken from there.

    I remembered seeing the book years ago, have the library copy at present. There is a phone number for enquiries in the book, may follow up on that and see if I can buy a copy. Thanks for your kind offer to lend it to me.

    I’m particularly interested in the period recalled in the comments on the York Stories ‘Lost Layerthorpe’ page, mid 20th century, the demolitions of whole streets, and the developments since.

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