Northallerton in old picture postcards volume 2

Northallerton in old picture postcards volume 2

:   Michael Riordan
:   Yorkshire, North
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-5648-6
:   96
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Northallerton through the ages

Northallerton, the county town of North Yorkshire, is an ancient town af compelling history , marked individuality and great buoyancy.

Roger Gale of Scruton, Northallerton's first historian wrote in 1739 that the town arose out af the ashes of some forgotten Roman signal station on Castle HilIs and this theory has since been validated by several discoveries of Roman relics and coins on Castle HilI, especially when the railway line was constructed in 1838.

Northallerton's name, however, is of Saxon origin deriving from 'Aelfere tun' meaning Alfred's farm with the North added later to distinguish it from the other eight Allertons in Yorkshire. lts whole history has hinged around its central position in a rich agricultural area, as a route centre astride the eastern route - south to north, England to Scatland and London to Edinburgh.

There was much Viking activity in the ninth and tenth centuries with Danes settling at Brompton and Romanby but before the Norman Conquest in 1066, Northallerton was a flourishing and important

Saxon borough with sixty-six viII eins (freemen) and twenty-four surrounding places held in 'sake' including Romundebi (Romanby) and Brunton (Brompton). By 1086, however, Northallerton was stated as 'waste' in the Domesday Book ('modo wastum est') because it had been ravaged by William the Conqueror alang with all the land between York and Durham in his infamous 'Harrying of the North' in 1069 when he encamped at Northallerton.

The oldest part of the present All Saints Parish Church of Northallerton is Norman (the north west portion) but there is a possibility of a Saxon wooden church and definite evidence of a stone Saxon church afforded by many Saxon stone fragments found during various restorations. The present church is the only medieval building which now exists the others having disappeared: the castle founded in 1130, Bishop's Palace (1200), Austin Friary (1340), Carmelite Friary (1356), St. James' Hospital (1100) and Maison Dieu (1476). This is a great loss and their absence is reflected in the photographic studies in this volume.

Northallerton was in the direct firing line in the

Anglo-Scottish wars which lasted for almost three centuries from around 1100 which saw many unsettled times. The most famous encounter was the Battle of the Standard on 22nd August 1138 fought three miles north of Northallerton and the most trauma tic occasion was the sacking of the town and burning of Northallerton Parish Church in 1318 after the Scots' victory at Bannockburn.

As the Scottish wars subsided so was there an upturn in prosperity and trade, the permanent settlement and the urban development of the town. Northallerton had traditionally a market every Wednesday and Four Fairs annually granted by royal charter for which it had a national reputation. Matthew Rawdon visiting in 1664 said: 'For oxen, kine and sheep, it is the greatest (fair) in England. ' It also had a name for spurs, leather and ale and an attorney Giles Morrington (or Meriton) wrote a poem 'In Praise of Yorkshire Ale' in 1697 saying: 'Northallerton, in Yorkshire does excel.'

All England, nay all Europe, for strong ale' with Mrs. Bradiey's 'humming stuff' particularly potent! Some notoriety was gained by Northallerton as the

place where King Charles was sold to the Scats in 1647 - he stayed at Porch House th en as the prisoner of the Parliamentary Commissioners and had previously been entertained there in 1641 as a guest of the Metcalfe family.

During the 'Stage-Coach' era (1770-1841) Northallerton, which was on the 'Great North Raad', was a veritable hive of tra velling activity - the main coaching inn was the 'Golden Lion' followed by the 'King's Head', 'Black Bull' and 'Old Golden Lion'. In th is period the foundations of Northallerton's importance as alocal government centre were laid by the building of the North Riding Registry of Deeds Office in Zetland Street (1736 and 1785), the House of Correction and Court House (1785) where thenceforth all the North Riding Quarter Sessions were held.

Northallerton had previously been politically important with its own two Members of Parliament being sent to Parliament in 1298 and th en continually from 1640 until1832 when it lost a member. In 1885 their remaining member was removed and Northallerton was merged into the Richmondshire constituency.

lndeed great changes we re being wrought around th is time approximately when this photographie series starts as Northallerton moved towards the modern era. A crucial innovation was the 'Iron Horse' which arrived in Northallerton on 30th March 1841 with the opening of the Great North of England railway from Darlington to York. The immediate demise of the stage-coach brought a temporary decline in the town's population but with over one hundred trains stopping daily at Northallerton in the 1880s Northallerton was an important railway junction on the main London to Edinburgh line, and the population had increased by nearly a third to 3,692 in 1881.

The transformation of the High Street occurred in 1872173 when the old ToU Booth and ugly butcher's shambles were demolished and replaced by a resplendent new Town Hall, which, whatever its architectural demerits, has given over a century of functional usefulness to the townsfolk. 1889 saw the creation of the North Riding County Council with its headquarters at Northallerton wh ere a cluster of county buildings already stood in Zetland Street and

East Road. A new purpose built North Riding County Hall, splendidly designed by Walter Brierley, was erected in 1903-1905 and officiaUy opened in 1906 on the old NorthaUerton Racecourse site at Broomfield, adjacent to which a new North Riding County Police Headquarters was built in 1909.

From a social and medical viewpoint massively important developments we re effected. Vital sanitisation commenced in 1894 when piped water was supplied to replace the drinking wells which of ten existed side by side with cess and 'ash' pits. Soon after a sewage system was insta lied and in 1899 electric power and light were introduced.

An urban movement away from the High Street started with South Parade being developed - the first house in 1860 with al most the whole road built up by 1890 - followed by other roads such as Thirsk and Brompton Roads and lvy Cottages. lt should be stressed, however, that one third of the population lived in the 'yards' off the High Street and the effective clearing and rehousing programme did not take place until after the Second World War.

A 'Cottage Hospital' was opened in 1877 later to be called the 'Rutson' after its benefactor Henry Rutson. Education had a renaissance when a new infants' school was opened at the Applegarth in 1908 followed the next year by the re-opening of the newly built and revitalised Northallerton Grammar School on its present site.

The motor vehicle made its first unobtrusive appearance in Northallerton in 1896 - 'it turned neatly and made off down the road'. This was surely a historic moment because it has effected such a change in the social habits and environmental existence of the soon horseless and car-parked Northallerton. Since the end of this photographic sequence in 1930 great progress has taken place. The 'yards' have been completely swept away and council and private housing has mushroomed to the east and south; the Friarage Hospital has been developed to become a very fine General Hospital whilst retaining the 'human touch'; the County Hall became the headquarters of the North Yorkshire County Council (1974) and expanded greatly; local government has extended in the town by the centring of Hambleton

District Council at Northallerton with its new headquarters at Stone Cross (1987); educationally Northallerton Grammar School has grown fourfold with an accompanying accommodation increase, the highly successful Allertonshire County Modern School was opened in 1940 and there are now six primary schools in the Northallerton/Romanby catchment area; professions, businesses and shops have expanded and been improved to meet modern demands; and light industries of a varied nature have proliferated on the northern and western edges of the town.

Underlining all these changes Northallerton's population has increased from4,616 in 1901 to 9,700 (official estimate) in 1990, Romanby 474 to 5,190 and Brompton 1,352 to 2,110. Yet despite the progress and development the hub of the town as in John Leland's day five centuries ago remains the High Street, 'one fair long streate'. And this sense of permanence seems accentuated by the towering pile of the All Saints Parish Church. Long may it so remain.

1. Castle Hills on the western edge of Northallerton is delineated in this print of 1838, just as the workers were about to construct the Great North of England Railway running from Darlington to York. To build the massive embankment which carried the railway by the town, they used nearly a quarter of a million tons of soil from CastIe Hills, leaving only the present scarp. A major happening during the dismantling of CastIe Hills was the discovery of Roman remains - including a votive altar, a weil and coins - at what is now Zetland Bridge thus substantially endorsing the view of Roger Gale, Northallerton's first historian who wrote in 1739 that there was some sort of Roman station on CastIe Hills.

2. In the Northallerton collection this photograph is unique. It features the old Workhouse demolished in 1863 and replaced by Northallerton Savings Bank - therefore the photograph predates this. The old Workhouse was a very historie building as it had previously been the Guild Hall erected by Archbishop Kemp in 1444 - the centre of Northallerton's affairs and the venue of the North Riding Quarter Sessions from 1558 to 1720. Jefferson and Willan, solicitors, now oceupy the site. The other outstanding feature is the bridge seen going over the stream Sun Beek which for centuries had run on the surfaee over the High Streel. There was a similar bridge on the east side of the High Street and the bridges were for horses and pedestrians. Later Sun Beek was made to run under the High Street and now having been culverted it flows underground via Bullamoor Road, Friarage Street and the High Street and then reappears on the surface skirting the Applegarth Car Park.

3. The old Workhouse interior was captured in this painting of 1832 which hung in the Poor Law Board of Guardians room at the new Workhouse - Sun Beek House - until the 1940s. The artist was alocal called Wheldon and some of the characters were: smoking a pipe Fally Flower an lrish woman; Rachel Bussey who had once lived in a little house in 'Tickle Toby' yard is extreme right; Robin Simpson a real 'character' and fishmonger is on the extreme left. But don't be misled by this cosy representation because the old Workhouse had a very poor reputation, was referred to popularly as the 'Bastille' and when it was finally vacated in 1858 it took a workman three days to clear the accumulated rubbish out of the back-yard.

4. In eonjunetion with the old Workhouse posteard this photograph depiets 'olde' Northallerton. The ugly set ofbutehers' shambles was immediately south of Sun Beek where swarms of rats of ten repaired one to the other. The Market Cross had been ereeted by the Bishop of Ripon in 1843 sueeeeding several down the ages. Finally, the Toll Booth was where Northallerton's affairs had been attended to for many years with the eivic rooms above six shops. In 1872 the shambles and Toll Booth were demolished the Town Hall being erected in 1873 and the Market Cross was moved to the private garden ofStandard House belonging to W. T. Jefferson (Graee Gardner's maternal great grand-father). The placement of "The Oak Tree' sign outside the public house was in common with many at the time and the abundant cobblestones typified the town in 1870. This photograph dates to the 1860s.

5. This print of the newly built railway, station house and station dates to the 184üs. The railway line at Northallerton was opened on 30th March 1841 by the Great North of England Railway Company as part ofthe York to Darlington line. On the 19th May 1840 the 'York Heraid' had advertised for the GNER Company for 'Masons, Bricklayers and Joiners' for 'The Building of Workshops, Coach Stations and Merchandise Warehouses on the line of this Railway at Darlington, East Cowton, Northallerton, Otterington, Thirsk, Sessay, Raskelf, Alne, Tollerton and Skipten' . Thus Northallerton became one of the first market towns in the country to possess a railway and station.



6. An important photograph of 1874 shows Atkinson's Station Mart, the 'Railway Hotel' and the Northallerton Racecourse and grandstand. This was the first Northallerton Mart (opened in 1873), followed by the Malpas Mart in 1882 and John Todd's Applegarth Mart in 1907. Before the marts all the animal stock was sold in the High Street. The 'Railway Hotel' had previously been called the 'Horse and Jockey' (when the racecourse was at its height) and it is now the 'Station Hotel'. It can be seen that the racecourse grandstand is exactly where the County Hall now stands. The racecourse flourished from 1765 to 1880: it regularly staged Silver Cup and f50 races and earlyin the 1800s had Golden Cup and!100 races. The Northallerton meeting was usually three days, early in October but it was largely put paid to by the railway which greatly reduced the racecourse circuit.

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