Open a form to report problems or contribute information

1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted
Page 1 of 4

Help and advice for YORK HISTORY CONTENTS:

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it. We have a number of people each maintaining different sections of the web site, so it is important to submit information via a link on the relevant page otherwise it is likely to go to the wrong person and may not be acted upon.



A History of York
from Baine's Gazetteer (1823)

Part 9

Trade, commerce and newpapers

The commercial and trading establishments of York are numerous, amongst which the Banks naturally take the precedency: There are here three banking establishments exclusive of the Savings Bank, namely,

Messrs. Raper, Swann, Clough, Swann, Bland, and Raper, Coney street, who draw on Sir R. C. Glyn, Bart. Mills, Halifax, Glyn, and Co. No. 12, Birchin lane, London.

Messrs. Wilson, Tweedy, and Wilson, High Ousegate, who draw on Sir William Curtis, Bart. Robarts, and Curtis, 15, Lombard street, London.

Messrs. Wentworth, Chaloner, Rishworth, and Co. Low Ousegate, who draw on Messrs. Wentworth, and Co. No. 25, Threadneedle street, London.

All the York Banks open at nine and close at four o'clock.

The Savings Bank, established in 1816, in New street, is in a flourishing situation, and has investments to the amount of £70,923. 0s. 1d. made by 1854 depositors, consisting chiefly of servants and labouring persons. Mr. Francis Carbutt is the secretary, and the hours of business are from 12 to 1 on Tuesdays, and from 11 to 1 on Saturdays.

There are four newspapers published in York:-

The Courant, published in Coney street, on Tuesday, by Mr. Henry Cobb.

This is the senior paper in York, and being established in 1720, is of course upwards of a century old. Its present politics are favourable to the whig principles.

The Chronicle, published on Thursday, in Coppergate, by Mr. Wm. Blanshard, was established by Mr. Christopher Etherington, on the 18th of December, 1772. The polities of this paper are Tory, but not ultra.

The Herald, published in the Pavement, on Saturday, by Messrs. Hargrove, Gawthorp, and Hargrove. This paper was established on the 1st of January, 1790, by Messrs Wilson, Spence, and Mawman; it was afterwards published by Mr. Alexander Bartholomon, (who had been many years the overseer of their printing offire,) and has always been a decidedly Whig publication.

The Yorkshire Gazette, published in the Minster yard, on Saturday, by Messrs. Wolstenholme and Co. This paper was established on the 24th of April, 1819, and is a decided Tory publication.

Pick's Racing Calendar was begun in 1786, and has been yearly continued to the present time. Mr. Thomas Sotheran, bookseller, is the proprietor and publisher. He also produces annually, in March, the Turf Companion.

A new Racing Calendar was commenced in 1821, by Mr. Robert Johnson, and will continue to be issued from his press, generally early in March.

Market days and fairs

In this city there are nominally three market days, namely, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but the principal market is on Saturday. There is also a market for Swine, held every Wednesday, near Fossbridge.

The merchants of the staple having long since ceased to reside in York, the trade in wool in this city was for some ages discontinued; but on the 6th of May, in the year 1708, the wool market was revived, and there is now a wool fair, as it is called, held in Peaseholme green, every Thursday, from Lady-day to Michaelmas, which is well attended, and at which the growers from the North and from the East, meet the consumers from the West to sell their fleeces. There is also a leather fair, held in this street, on the first Wednesday in March, June, September and December, which, though so recently established as 1815, is become a mart of considerable consequence.

These flourishing branches of trade serve to compensate for the declension of business at the "Butter Stand" in Mickle-gate. Formerly great quantities of this article was brought to York, and after being weighed here by officers appointed for the purpose, was purchased by contractors, and shipped to London. Thirty years ago 80,000 firkins of butter were annually received at this office; now the quantity does not exceed one-sixth part of that amount.

The Fairs held in this city are numerous: In Peaseholme green there is a Line Fair on the Saturdays before Michaelmas day, Martinmas day, Christmas Day, Lady Day, St. Peter's Day, and Lammas Day. (all old style) as well as on Whit Monday. The line or flax is brought from the neighbourhood for sale, and the fair, which commences about nine o'clock in the morning, is over by eleven. The three great Cattle and Horse fairs of York are held on the grounds out of Bootham Bar, called the Horse Fair, on Whit Monday, St. Peter's Day, and Lammas Day. Besides these, there are several minor fairs, for horses, horned cattle, &c. held in Walmgate, Fossgate, the Pavement, and Petergate.

Merchant companies, stamp and post offices

The Merchant Tailors' Company, assemble quarterly in their hall, in Aldwark, to transact their business; but the concerns of the fraternity not requiring much room, they have very laudably awarded a considerable part of their premises to the use of charitable institutions. The master of this guild is Mr. Wm. Whitehead; and the wardens are Messrs. H. Stephenson, J. Wade, George Knowles, and John Hollins; the searchers are Messrs. John Nicholson and Geo. Vause.

The MERCHANTS COMPANY of York, for the encouragement of trade, is of considerable antiquity, and has outlived the commerce of the city. Their hall is situated in Fossgate; and the old stone archway by which it is entered is surmounted by the arms of the Merchants of the Staple. The officers are chosen triennially, and consist at present of Mr. J. Hodgson, governor; Mr. Seth Agar, deputy-governor; Messrs. C. J. Hanson and H. Stead, wardens; and Mr. Thos. Ward, secretary. On the ground floor of the hall there is a chapel, and a hospital called "Trinity Hospital," endowed by the Company, in which five aged men and five aged women live, and are allowed each £5. annually.

The offices for the distribution of stamps for the West and North Ridings are held in this city; that for the West-Riding in Petergate, of which Wm. Gray, Esq. is distributor; and the North-Riding office is in New street, of which Wm. Hale, Esq. is distributor. The East-Riding stamp office is at Hull.

The Post-Office is in Lendal, near the Mansion-house and the York Tavern, close to St. Helen's square. William Oldfield, Esq. Is the post-master; and a comprehensive scale, communicating a considerable body of information relating to that establishment, will be found at page 107, in the present volume; after which will also be found copious details relating to the carriers and coaches to and from this city.


The commerce and traffic carried on upon and through the medium of the Ouse, though now much less than in remote times is still very considerable. Regular trading vessels between London and York, of the burden of from 110 to 150 tons, navigate its waters, and vessels of about half that burden are constantly passing between Hull and this city, from which goods are conveyed by water into the interior of the county as far as Boroughbridge and Ripon. There is also a packet boat from Newton-on-Ouse, and another from Selby and Cawood, which arrive and return every Saturday, as well as a steam-packet from thence to Gainsbro'. York is amply supplied with coal, brought up the Ouse in barges from Flockton, Haigh Moor, and Silkstone, all in the West-Riding; and the inhabitants are supplied with water by the Water Works Company, from the works in Lendal, of which Mr. Ransley is the managing clerk, under the direction of a committee. On the Foss there is a navigable communication from the junction of that river with the Ouse, to the parish of Stillington, in the North-Riding.

Hawkers' and Pedlars' office and Excise office

The Hawkers' and Pedlars' Office is situated in the Mint-yard, and is kept by Mr. George Burnell. From this office licences are issued yearly, on the 1st of August.

The Excise-Office is in Spurriergate, and is open from 8 o'clock in the morning to 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Thos. Hall, Esq. of Bishop-hill, is the collector; Mr. Wm. Simpson, of Fowler's court, Spurriergate, is clerk; and Mr. Thos. Bushby, of Spurriergate, the supervisor. There are also attached to this establishment eight officers of division, and three for the different rides, exclusive of two permit writers, & an office keeper.


The manufactories of York are neither numerous nor upon a large scale; there are, however, some establishments of this nature which claim attention. The white and red lead manufactory of Messrs. Charles Liddell and Co. in Newtgate lane, is an extensive concern in that line, and the process attracts a good deal of notice in York. The glass manufactory of Messrs. Prince and Prest, in the Suburbs near Fishergate Bar, was established in 1797, and is chiefly employed in the fabrication of Flint glass vessels and glass phials. The wholesale book concern of Messrs. Wilson and Sons, in High Ousegate, ranks among the first establishments of the kind out of the metropolis. This city has also manufactures of carpets, linen, stuffs, flax, cordage, agricultural implements, combs, gloves, paper hangings, articles in chemistry, musical instruments, and jewellery, and the art of sculpture is practised with considerable success. In this, as in the other principal cities of England, there is an incorporated Goldsmiths' Company, which is authorised and directed by act of Parliament to elect two wardens yearly, and to appoint an assay master or assayer. The Assay Office in York is situated in Feasegate, and the assay days are Tuesday and Friday in every week. Mr. William Greaves North is the present assayer. The persons forming the goldsmiths' company are those who have served a regular apprenticeship to the trade, are free of, and inhabitants of the city, and by them all elections and appointments relating to their corporation are made.

The population of York, within the last ten years, has increased about seventeen per cent. upon the population of 1811; in that year the return was 19,099, it is now 22,529, as appears from the following

THE 28TH OF MAY, 1821.
All Saints, North street...............910
All Saints, Pavement...................554
All Saints, Peaseholme.................223
Andrew St..............................185
Castle of York.........................152
Crux St................................827
Cuthbert St............................209
Dennis St.............................1093
Giles St...............................881
Helen St. Stonegate....................678
Helen St. on the Walls.................398
John St. Delpike.......................367
John St. Evangelist, Micklegate........938
Lawrence St............................799
Margaret St............................808
Martin St. Coney street................610
Martin St. Micklegate..................562
Mary St. Bishop hill, jun. ..........767
Mary St. Bishop hill, sen. ..........681
Mary St. Castlegate....................939
Maurice St.............................798
Michael St. le Belfrey................1343
Michael St. Spurriergate...............593
Mint yard .........................132
Olave St. Marygate ....................666
Peter St. Liberty .....................924
(That part within the City or Suburbs)
Peter St. the Little ..................660
Peter St. le Willows ..................418
Sampson St. Patrick Pool .............1041
Saviour St ............................987
Trinity, Goodramgate ..................527
Trinity, King's Court .................737
Trinity, Micklegate ...................845
Wilfred St .......................227
Total ....................22,529

Places of public amusement

The places of public amusement and relaxation in this city are the theatre, the assembly rooms, the concert rooms, the race course, the cock pit, and the bowling green; with the public baths, walks, club rooms, and other places of less importance.

The Theatre Royal is conveniently situated in the spacious opening at the upper part of Blake street. The present building was erected by Mr. Joseph Baker, in 1763, in the early part of the theatrical career of Tate Wilkinson, Esq. who, in 1769, became manager, under a patent from the crown. This edifice has just undergone very considerable improvements; the square form of the interior is changed for the semi-circular and instead of the row of boxes there are now two entire tiers, with very handsome lobbies; but the most material of the alterations consists in the improved entrance- formerly it was through a narrow tortuous passage, where the visitants to the boxes, pit, and gallery, indiscriminately pressed together. Now, on the contrary, the entrance to the gallery is through the Mint yard, and a spacious hall in front receives the frequenters of the boxes and pit upon their first entrance into the theatre, but they immediately separate; the former, turning to the left, ascend two capacious flights of stone steps, and the latter proceed straight forward through the hall of entrance to the pit. The whole of this part of the building is fire proof. Upon attaining the summit of the first lobby on the left, an elegant saloon presents itself, where confectionaries and other refreshments may be had by the company. The house is lighted with wax, supported by handsome glass chandeliers, and the embellishments in the pannels round the theatre, which are in basso relievo, reflect great credit upon Mr. Rhodes, of Leeds, the artist, by their chaste and classical effect. The cost of these improvements has been defrayed out of a fund raised for the purpose by voluntary contributions, towards which Mr. Mansel, the present spirited manager, was a large contributor, the corporation subscribing £200 and the city of York can now boast of as beautiful a theatre as any in the kingdom. The theatrical season here is from the beginning of March to the latter end of May, and during the assize and race weeks. The house is calculated, at the ordinary prices of 4s. boxes, 2s. pit, and 1s. gallery, to hold £200. It is only justice to the York stage to add, that it has had the honour to furnish more talent for the metropolitan boards than any other provincial establishment in these islands.

The Assembly Rooms are in Blake street, near the theatre. The edifice formed by this suite of gay apartments was erected by subscription, in shares of £25 and £50 each, in the year 1730, from a design by the celebrated Lord Burlington. The vestibule, or entrance room, is 32 feet long by 21 wide, and 21 feet high. The grand assembly room is an antique Egyptian hall, 112 feet long, 40 feet broad, and 40 feet high. This room consists of two orders, the lower part exhibiting forty-four columns, with rich capitals, on which the wall above is carried up, and an elegant cornice completes the Corinthian order; the upper part is after the composite, decorated with festoons, in imitation of acorns and oak leaves, surmounted with a beautiful cornice, enriched with curious ornaments. From the ceiling are suspended thirteen lustres of crown glass, each holding eighteen wax candles. On the right is the lesser assembly room, measuring 66 feet by 22, the ceiling of which is adorned with beautiful antique fret-work. In the assize and race weeks these rooms are open for concerts and assemblies, and at other times frequently display an assemblage of fashion and splendour, which serve to revive the recollection of the days when our Edwards and Henries held their courts in this our ancient city. During the winter there are five subscription concerts in these rooms, which usually commence in January; and four benefit concerts; with a separate subscription for quadrille dances and card parties, called 'the York winter assemblies." The managers of the concerts are Dr. Camidge and Mr. P. Knapton.

The Yorkshire Amateur Concerts, established at Sheffield, in 1808, for the gratification of a musical taste and the promotion of social intercourse amongst the lovers of harmony in this county, is held at York triennially. The performance which is annual in succession at Sheffield, Leeds, and York, continues for two days, and affords one of the richest musical treats that is to be enjoyed in any part of the kingdom.

Race Course

Next to New Market, York Races bear the first rank upon the English turf - and if in England, then in the world. In Camden's time horse racing was a favourite amusement in the surrounding forest of Galtres, and as a golden bell, which was tied on the forehead of the winning horse, was the prize, hence the phrase arose of "bearing away the bell." In latter times Clifton's Ings were the scene of generous strife, but in the year 1709, Knavesmire, so called from being the swampy pasture of the poor householders' cattle, has been used for this purpose.

(Note: Knave, the Anglo Saxon term for a man of low condition. On the last day of the August meeting, in 1801, a four mile race was run upon this course, which will be long memorable in the annals of the turf. The match was between Mrs. Thornton, backed by the Colonel, and Mr. Flint; and the attractive novelty of the scene was so great that 50,000 spectators were that day drawn to Knavesmire. In the early part of the contest the fair jockey rode with great spirit and dexterity, but while running the third mile her horse, Vingarillo, broke down, and she of course lost the race. York has long been famous for its attachment to racing, both equestrian and pedestrian. In the winter of 1773, Powell, the pedestrian, undertook for a considerable wager to go from London to York and back again in six days. On Monday, the 29th of November, he commenced his task, early in the morning, and at half past two o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday he arrived in York, attended by a vast concourse of spectators. After an hour and a half's repose, he again resumed his labour, and arrived at Hicks' Hall, London, at half past six o'clock on Saturday night, amidst the gratulations of 500 horsemen, and an innumerable multitude of pedestrians, who had gone out to Barnet to meet him.- Fuller, in his " Worthies," mentions an equestrian feat of a Yorkshireman, not less extraordinary. John Lepton, Esq. of York, a gentleman in the service of James I. for a considerable wager, undertook to ride, on horseback, three times from London to York, and three times from York to London in six days, being a journey of upwards of two hundred miles each in six successive days. On Monday the 20th of May, 1606, he commenced his journey, from Aldersgate, and arrived in York before it was dark at night. The next day he travelled from York to London; and this he did successively every day in the week, "to the greater praise of his strength in acting," says our author, " than to his discretion in undertaking the task." William Nevison, the notorious highwayman, whom Charles II. used to call Swift Nick after commiting a robbery near London, about sun rise, rode his mare to York in the course of the day, and appeared upon the Bowling Green in that city, before sun-set. From this latter circumstance, when brought to trial for the offence, he established an alibi, to the satisfaction of the Jury, though he was in reality guilty - and thus was indebted for his life rather to the fleetness of his horse than to the integrity of his conduct. But a career of flagitious crime generally terminates in ignominious punishment: Nevison, though he escaped this time, was afterwards brought to trial for another robbery, of which he was found guilty, and executed for the offence.)

In 1713, the King's gold cup, for which one hundred guineas has since been substituted, was procured for these races, and has ever since been run for on the first day of the August meeting. The course is at a distance of about a mile from York, to the left of the London road, and the accommodation both for the company and the racers is of the first order. The meetings are in May and August, in each successive year. Mr. Robert Rhodes is the clerk of the course, and Mr. Parkinson the steward of the Grand Stand. "The Stand" and the "Round House," were both built by subscription, and are open to subscribers, and non-subscribers are admitted to them during each meeting on paying a guinea.

Public baths

The salubrious recreation of the Bath may be taken in York at any period of the year. Near the New walk there is a very eligibly situated cold bath, with two convenient dressing rooms, one for ladies and the other for gentlemen; and at Lendal Tower, adjoining to the water-works, there is a suite of baths, hot, tepid, and cold.

Previous part Previous
Next part Next

Data transcribed from:
Baines Gazetteer 1823
Scan, OCR and html software by Colin Hinson.
Checking and correction by Richard Tetley.