Thirsk in old picture postcards

Thirsk in old picture postcards

:   Peter Wyon
:   Yorkshire, North
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2315-0
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Thirsk in old picture postcards'

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Thirsk has been the Market Town of the Vale of Mowbray for nine centuries. In early times the role was defensive and territorial, but in later centuries the services and rural industries developed. William I gave Thirsk to Baron Robert de Mowbray in 1086, and he enlarged the earthworks to form a Castle of Pallisades above the moat, Robert and his successors joined forces with other Barons to repel the invading Scots, who ravaged Northumbria at interva1s. When a later Baron, Roger de Mowbray, took part in a rebellion against Henry H, he was unsuccessful, and Thirsk Castle was dismantled in 1174. The grassy banks and moat can still be seen in 'Castle Garth'.

The little town was by then established and it was recorded in 1145 that Market Day was to be Monday, and that the Lord of the Manor could charge tolls on stalls, also ensure quality of goods through his Bailiff. This official was elected annually by the burghers of the town, most of whom lived east of the Cod Beck, in the Old Town. These men also elected the Member of Parliament from 1294. Thirsk was one of the earliest towns to send a representative. It seems that the Markets were held on St. James' Green at that time. Why the present Market Place developed west of the river is conjeetural, possibly because it was higher ground and near the Castle. The Market Place was not always so spaeious for there used to be a large Toll Booth and Court House in the centre, and a double row of low-roofed Shambles at the east end, beside the road. The last of these buildings were demolished in 1857, and the area neatly cobbled over.

For centuries Thirsk has manufactured the needs of the Vale of Mowbray and beyend. Linen weaving continued until 1840, and milling of corn until 1950. Tanning and currying were important industries to supply the leather for boots, shoes, breeches, saddles and harness of high quality, much sought after by the army, Stirrups and bridles were made in mediaeval times in Lorrimer's Lane, now disappeared. Gilling's Curriers, who started business in Kirkgate, are still

operating in Sowerby. Malting and brewing continued into this century, and the manufacture of slippers, hats, coaches, threshing machines, ropes and twines, tallow candles, and tin plate were all common until the turn of the century. The Dyeworks at Millgate closed in 1850. The Market has always supplied poultry and dairy produce to West Yorkshire dealers, who resold their wares in the large towns.

The stage-eoach era, from 1783 until the railway arrived in 1844, was an age of growth and full employment. Every Inn had stabling in use and the coaching inns kept up to sixty horses, while the smaller inns despatched the village carriers. The leather trade provided the necessary harness and sadlery, and the farmers supplied the hay and oats for the horses, as weU as goed food for the travellers. The Race Course was completed in 1854 on Station Road, close to the railway.

For a hundred years during the railway age Thirsk changed surprisingly slowly, until the increase in the number of motor cars, trunk roads and huge lorries brought much trade, exhaust fumes and chaos into the Market Place. Relief came in 1973 with the completion of the fme bye-pass to the town. Only one building was demolished in the Market Place since the Hitler War - the Crown Hotel, to make way for a supermarket.

The formation of the Civic Society in 1967 ensured the preservation of the best characteristics of the town. Thirsk Market Place and all the old parts of the town, as well as Sowerby Village, were designated a Conservation Area in 1970. Thirsk developed as a market town for a large area of North Yorkshire, situated on the junction of the main road from West Yorkshire to the coast, and the York to Teeside road, and in addition, the Great North Road is only five miles to the west. It is therefore a popular centre for the tourist, with many places of interest such as Fountains Abbey, Rievaulx Abbey and Helmsley Castle, all within fifteen miles. The eities of York, Harrogate and Darlington are all twentythree miles distant from Thirsk,

1. The Parish Church of Thirsk, as seen from the Holmes, prior to 1904, shows the mill dam alongside the Northallerton Road. The water flowed here until1957 to drive the two large waterwheels of the mill in Millgate. On the right of the picture is the Norby Foundry, which was in business from the early nineteenth century until the First World War, making faire grates and ovens, drain tops, door stops and tools, The boxes which held the sand-moulds are piled up in front of the foundry. The Church has a fine appearance from the north and helps to give a graceful entrance to the town. On the left of the picture can be glimpsed the lovely Holmes footpath. This stretch of water was filled in with rubble from the old Norby houses to make way for a large council estate. The railings have gone and where there was water there is green grass and trees forming a play area, donated to the town by the present Squire, Major Peter Bell.

2. The interior of Thirsk Church is as magnificent as the exterior. It is clear to see that it has been built all in the same style, which is quite unusual in Churches as old as this one, which was built over a period of eighty years. Nicholas Pevsner describes it in his book as 'the most spectacular perpendicular Church in the North Riding', The building of the Church was started in 1430 with the tower. The nave was built next and f"mally the chancel, with the crypt below. There are eight bells in the tower and one of them, the tenor bell, is inscribed with the name 'Jesus' and the date 1410. Thus the bell is older than the Church! There is a tradition that it was originally brought from Fountains Abbey, which is about fifteen miles to the south west of Thirsk. Over the south porch of Thirsk Church is a room or parvise, where Thomas Parkinson, a recluse, lived for two years from 1513, entirely dependent on the charity of parishioners.

3. This view from the south end of the Holms footpath shows the East end of the Church with the window of the crypt below. Between the trees can be seen the fine old Georgian building of Thirsk Hall. The bridge on the left led to St. James' Green, and to the Millgate Mill. In the foreground are seen two lamp-posts close together. One is lit by gas and the newer one is ready to be Ut by electricity. This is clearly the change-over year, 1908, when the electric Power Station was built and started supplying Direct Current to the town. Among the trees on the left there was, until recently, a, narrow stretch of water known locally as 'The Marriage'. According to Edmund Turton of Upsall, writing in 1889, the word was originally 'Mirage', as the view from any mansion was thought to be incomplete without a lake, and where there was not enough space for one they used to make the beginnings of one, with a sharp turn, to look like part of a large lake.

4. The west front of Thirsk Hall is not often seen as it overlooks the private gardens and parkland. This postcard shows the very beautiful, early nineteenth century cast iron verandah and the masses of ivy, which covered the walls at that time. The house, as originally built, about 1720, was of two storeys. In 1773 the famous architect, John Carr of Vork, was asked to design an elegant enlargement and he suggested a third floor and two wings of two storeys each. The great dining room, with Adam style fireplace, was built in the north wing and the kitchens in the south wing. The fully grown trees shown on this side of the house, and those between the Hall and the Church, have long since been swept away by time and decay.

5. This view of Thirsk Market Plaee is taken from the east end about 1895 and shows the enormous expanse of cobbled area, whieh is a unique feature of this town and is still retained to this day. With so few people about at 9.40 a.m. one can presurne it was a Sunday morning. The Station Coach is standing in front of the Fleeee Hotel with two horses ready to take travellers on the mile long journey to the Railway Station. If one examines the eobb1es earefully on a wet day, one ean see that eaeh stone is of a different texture, some are Iimestone, some are sandstone and some are hard granite. They were all brought to this area by the huge glaciers of the last lee Age, about twelve thousand years ago,

6. Hall's Fleece Hotel in 1890 was looking very smart and much as it is today, although dense creepers now cover all the walls, and it is a Trust House called The Golden Fleece Hotel. Post horses can no longer be hired there! William Hall became the landlord in 1839 when his mother died and he was barely twenty-one years of age. This was the day of the stage coach when the 'High Flyer', the 'Royal Mail' and the 'Expedition' coaches would ratt1e over the cobbles to change horses and travellers, and speed away towards London, Edinburgh, Leeds or Newcastle. Mr. Hall could tell many a tale of stormy journeys and fast rides by daring post-boys. The leather industry, inc1uding saddlery and boot making, has been important in Thirsk for centuries, but never more so than in the coaching era. Every one of the sixteen Public Houses in the Market Place had extensive stables in those days,

7. The north west corner of Thirsk Market Place in the year 1900 shows the extensive cobbled area, and to the right of the doek tower can be seen the fine range of old shops, with red pantiles on the roof. Behind the large building in the centre of the picture runs Baker's Alley, so named after the Baker family who lived there, above their own shop. They had been a Quaker family for generations and their most famous son was Gilbert, who wrote a book on the Botany, Geology, Climate and Physical Geography of North Yorkshire in 1863. Soon after this time their house in Baker's Alley was bumt down and many precious copies of his book were destroyed, He had also written a chapter on the Physical Hlstory of the area for William Grainge's well known book 'The Vale of Mowbray'. Later he joined the staff of the Botanica! Gardens at Kew, in London, where he remained for forty years and became the Curator there,

8. These shops in the centre of Thirsk Market Place were photographed in 1905, a few years before they were pulled down to make way for the new Post Office bleek. An old engraving of 1830, which ean be seen in Thirsk Museum, shows the same buildings with a lower roof line and ancient thatehing. The shop fronts were very crude at that time, whereas these shown in the picture were considered good enough to be re-used at a new site. This was certainly the case for 'Vi. Scott, Saddler', seen at the nearest end of the block, whose shop and workroom are still in business on the north side of the Market Plaee. In this picture one ean just see the 'Bull Ring' outlined in cobbles, behind the new electric and old gas lamp-posts, Within this thirty feet diameter ring all bulls and bullocks had to be baited by dogs before they eould be slaughtered or the butcher would risk a punishrnent, The last time this happened was recorded in 1754.

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