The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw the development of two main industries in York, railway engineering and confectionery. Come the twenty first century one of those industries, major construction for the railways, is no more and two of the three major confectionery producers, Cravens and Terry's, have disappeared. Confectionery manufacture, however, still represents a significant source of employment in the city. Rowntrees, now part of the Nestlé empire, continues, although much of that company's production has been reduced and exported elsewhere. Trebor Bassett, Monkhill Confectionery and the Blackpool based company Tangerine Confectionery have manufacturing operations in Lower Poppleton Lane area once the home of Cravens.
1960s saw the building of York University based on Heslington Hall. New and diverse businesses have been attracted to the city and of course the tourism industry flourishes as never before.
Below is a small selection of views of York in the 21st century.
Chocolate and confectionary
(Left) Dominating a large area to the north of the centre of York is one of the great confectionary and chocolate factories. Rowntrees (now Nestlé) has been in existence for over one hundred years before moving to this site.
Much of the Rowntrees factory has recently been sold to developers. The Terry's factory (above right) also stood forlorn and deserted before being bought by developers who have turned it into an apartment complex. Started as a confectionary and grocery business in 1767 Terry's of York was set up after a move to St Helen's Square in 1824. Cocoa and chocolate production was started in a factory in Clementhorpe in 1886 and was subsequently moved to a new factory (seen right) in the early 20th century.
The Carriage Works
As we have said in the Rail section railways have, since the mid 19th century, formed an important part of the development of the city. So much so that large railway engineering works were established building, in particular, wagons and carriages for the operating companies. At it's peek many thousands of men were employed at the Holgate Road site but now the Works are no more having closed in 1996, then given a brief respite before being closed for good in 2002. Modern offices now stand in it's place.
Despite the dying manufacturing sector the city continues to enjoy both a significant level of commercial business and of course the tourism industry continues to grow.
The Yorkshire Insurance Co which began life in the early 19th century with a head office in St Helen's Square was subsequently taken over by Norwich Union (Who themselves are now merged with Aviva). That company continued to expand it's presence in York and the imposing building to the left, on the banks of the Ouse at Lendal Bridge, stands testament to the city's commercial well being. The Maltings pub (above right) survives cheek by jowl with modern office blocks.
That the economy of York is thriving is clearly demonstrated by the growth of retailing. Out of town shopping can be found at Monks Cross (left) and Clifton Moor together with the newly developed Vanguard Centre (also at Monks Cross - right) Regrettably these centres of consumerism have a direct impact on the businesses in the centre of York many of which have been given over to cater for the tourist trade.
Many of the shops in the centre of the city which catered for the needs of the local population are no more. Names such as Cussins and Light and House and Son (brown and white electrical goods), Wrights (butchers), Whitby Oliver and Hunter and Smallpage (furniture), Leake and Thorpe (department store) and Newitts (sports goods) no longer have a presence on the high street.
One of the most important indications of the city coming of age was the establishment of the University. Built around Heslington Hall (far left) to the north east of the city, the University opened it's doors to the first students in 1963. Since that time it has expanded it's current site and has many additional locations across the city and beyond.
The photographs (below right) demonstrates the juxtaposition of the old and new buildings. The love of utilitarian concrete of the 1960s is clearly evident in the early buildings on the campus. Thankfully this has been overtaken in later constructions.
The University is currently home to over 10,000 students from the UK and across the world.
The tourism industry makes a significant contribution to the economy of York. However questions must be asked about how we cater for them. Parliament Street for instance (below left), once the home to a thriving market now regularly plays host to fun fairs, perhaps more at home in a seaside resort, although in fairness continental markets do regularly appear. To the right below a bus stands before the Castle Museum. A garish mixture of old and new.
York boasts a number of renowned museums. The most famous of which is probably the National Railway Museum one of the largest railway museums in the world. Photographs of a small section of the massive number of the exhibits to be found in the museum can be found in the Rail Section of the York History in Pictures.
The Railway Museum is a fantastic place to visit even if you have little interest in trains but as we have said elsewhere the city of York's later history is tightly bound up with the railways. Please do not be put off by one of the shabbiest exteriors of any national museum!
(Note also that the photo on the left was taken before the Wheel was removed.)
Horse racing remains very popular with regular meetings on the historic Knavesmire where once the town gallows stood. Founded in 1731 the Knavesmire hosts 15 meetings in the year.
The Ebor Festival takes place in August. The Ebor Handicap, one of the most famous races of the Festival, was first run in 1843 and is now the feature race on the Wednesday of the Ebor meeting.
The River Ouse
As can be seen in The Romans the city of York (as Eboracum) was established at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, the Ouse being the greater river. Until the coming of the railways the rivers provided significant trading routes but thereafter their commercial use declined. They nevertheless remain to provide attractive leisure facilities for residents and visitors alike.
Despite modern technology the Ouse is still subject to serious flooding as can be seen below left and right. However this does not detract from the attractive views of the river which is now crossed by a beautiful new footbridge built to mark the millennium.