A Snapshot of York Industry Through Time

A Snapshot of York Industry Through Time

York, because of its cloth trade and the ancillary industries associated with it in the 14th century, was described as ‘the foremost industrial town in the North of England.’

This prosperity was short-lived though, and the trade in cloth declined to such a degree that, as we have seen, a visitor to the city in the seventeenth century, Thomas Fuller, remarked: ‘the foreign trade is like their river…low and flat.’. The railway and confectionery industries were soon to change York’s industrial landscape.

This snapshot of images have all appeared in The Press, and Yorkshire Evening Press over the years, and now form part of our new book, York Through the Lens of The Press, by Paul Chrystal.


Eating the profits at Terry’s in 1970.
A solemn looking company meeting at Rowntree’s in the 1920s.

York Gas Light Company travelling showroom. Gas lighting, or ‘the lamp that wouldn’t blow out’, was introduced to York by the York Gas Light Company in 1823 on the banks of the River Foss near Monk Bridge.
Arthur Andersons (Southeran’s), Booksellers was in Coney Street in 1837, just one in a long line of York
booksellers stretching back to Francis Hildyard’s shop established ‘at the sign of The Bible, Stonegate’ in 1682.

John Glaisby’s bookshop and library, seen here, was in Coney Street, not far from where Waterstones is today.
Asbestos spraying in 1976 at York’s Carriage Works. In 1975 an inquest into the death of former railway worker Frank Summers recorded that he had died from an industrial disease; he had previously been employed in asbestos spraying.
The human sausage machine at one of the go-to pork butchers: Wrights of York, with numerous shops in the city and a factory in Skelton.
Vickers of York
Wartime work at Cooke, Troughton & Simms. Over 3000 men and women of York keep the war effort on target making gun sights, telescopes and tank periscopes. Some 3,300 employees poured into the factory every day, including 1,400 women.

York Through the Lens of The Press


This book is a unique compilation of around 350 photographs which have been published in the The Press (and before that The York Evening Press) over the last 80 or so years. Captions accompany each of the photographs telling the story behind the picture and placing it in historical context.

Many of the images have not been seen since they were first published in the paper, and for that reason they provide the reader with an opportunity to indulge in some unashamed and untrammelled nostalgia, whatever their age.

You can find the book in various bookstores and outlets in York, or order your copy securely and simply here: https://destinworld.com/product/york-through-the-lens-of-the-press/

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