Castle Area and Eye of York – a gathering of people and ideas

Castle Area and Eye of York – a gathering of people and ideas
2nd June, 9-3.30pm
Friends Meeting House, Friargate

One of the plaques made for the Write Your Own Plaque Day on 12th May -  focused on trial held of those arrested after 'The Peterloo Massacre' in Manchester.

One of the plaques made for the Write Your Own Plaque Day on 12th May – focused on trial held of those arrested after ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ in Manchester.

What are the histories of the Castle and Eye of York area? How is it used today? How might we like to use the area in the future?

In 2003 the Coppergate II Public Inquiry reported, rejecting a scheme for a second shopping centre in the area that would have including building close to bottom of the mound of Clifford’s Tower. The accompanying statement emphasized the historic environment: ‘The Secretary of State [John Prescott] is concerned that the siting of the development in relation to Clifford’s Tower fails to have sufficient regard to the desirability of preserving the listed building and its setting’.

Co-ordinated by York Civic Trust as part of the York: Living with History project, Peter Brown, Director, York Civic Trust believes 2nd June event offers an opportunity ‘for a community-led project to bring forward general proposals to redesign the spaces around Clifford’s Tower, and to create, at last, a world-class setting for the world-class monuments’.

On 2nd June the aim is to bring together interested people – organizations and members of the public – to explore the histories, uses and possible futures of the area and, by the end of the day, distil down the principles through which any development on the site could take place’.

In advance of the meeting, York: Living with History will be calling for key histories and uses of the site to contributed via an A-Z of the area and for people to share photographs of the area through the ages.

If you would like to attend the meeting, email If you can’t come to the whole day, we’ll have the results of the crowdsourced exhibition and the draft brief available for discussion at Friends Meeting House, 2nd June, 4-6pm and subsequently via this website.

Write Your Own York Plaque – 10th May

Blue plaque question mark

Write Your Own York Plaque
Meet at Friends Meeting House
10th May, 10.30am

What story, person or event in York’s history should be commemorated? What aspects of York’s history and culture are currently missing?

There are over 70 plaques around York commemorating famous people or events. Many have been put up through the citizen action of the York Civic Trust who, over the years, have been proactive in nominating and making the bronze plaques you see around town. And, as York Stories points out, plaques have also also been made by individual local people and families remembering loved ones. On 10th May we aim to share this process of public commemoration with everyone.

We will do this in a playful and do-it-ourselves way through our very smart (removable and safe) cardboard plaques. You could:
• nominate something you think is of enormous political importance currently not commemorated;
• create a plaque commemorating something about daily life of ordinary people in York;
• or write something personal to you or your loved ones.

There are two options for writing your plaque: pre-printed like this one for The Old George Hotel…or completely DIY!

Plaque made for the Stonebow Inquiry event and will be displayed on 10th May too

Plaque made for the Stonebow Inquiry event and will be displayed on 10th May too

Option 1: Write to by 6th May with proposed text for a plaque and we will get it printed up for you.

Option 2: Come along on 10th May and hand write your own plaque.

We will then go around town putting up each person’s plaque using very safe and easily removable adhesive and ceremoniously photographing it for posterity.

We’ll then post pictures of all the plaques on our website and via facebook and twitter. It might be some are so popular we get a campaign going to get them made for real!

York First World War Day-School: The Anti-War Perspective


Priory Street Centre, York YO1 6ET
10.00am to 4.30pm

The York First World War Day School will provide an alternative to Government plans for a ‘celebration of the national spirit’; and aims to counter romantic, populist, nationalist propaganda; oppose versions of history which serve to facilitate future wars; and offer explanation in place of commemoration. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions, to participate in discussion and to argue.


Lindsey German The Suffragettes and the War
John Rees Imperialism and the causes of WW1
Cyril Pearce The Anti-War Movement & the Great War
Donny Gluckstein Revolution and the End of the War
Charles McGuire Ireland & WW1
Chris Fuller Industrial Unrest, the Labour Movement the War
Steve Cox WW1 in the Middle East: The Legacy
Owen Clayton A Critical Assessment of the War Poets
Martin Bashforth Official Commemoration, War Memorial and Private Mourning

TICKETS: Solidarity £7.00 Austerity £4.00

Available from:

Organised by: York Against the War
York’s Alternative History

Sponsored by: History Workshop Journal, and York & District Trades Union Council

Next Open Meeting 23 April

The next open planning meeting will take place on Wednesday 23 April at 7.00 – 8.30 pm in the Bar Billiards Room at the Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, York.

We will be discussing arrangements for the Public Talk (see post below) at the Priority Street Centre on Wednesday 30 April. Help required please, so volunteer if you can’t be there this week.

There will be an update on plans for the First World War Day School in November and a catch-up on progress with the Living with History project and the successful enquiry day regarding Stonebow House.


History Talk 30 April


History Talk with York Alternative History & York Social

Date:               Wednesday, 30 April 2014, at 7.30 pm

Venue:            Denham Room, Priory Street Centre

Speakers:       Pat and Martin Bashforth

Title:               Diverse Evill-Disposed Persons

Behind the modern, comfortable presentation of Cannon Hall Country House Museum lie tales of war, revolution, murder, migration, poverty, theft, injustice and the role of women in the social turbulence of 17th century Yorkshire. A04 - Title Page

Can we combine history research with contemporary art practice to represent the past in today’s landscape?

Do these ignored stories surrounding Cannon Hall have any relevance to life in the 21st century?

What chance does such an ‘alternative history’ have of being seen and heard?

Pat and Martin Bashforth will use a variety of media to explore and present their research into the past and present of Cannon Hall and its surrounding landscape and invite your answers to questions like these.

[Free entry on the door, with a collection]

The Stonebow Inquiry: Past, Present, Future – 12th April

What is the history of the Stonebow area? Who uses Stonebow House today? How can we make a decision about the future of Stonebow House?

12th April, 11-3pm
Central Methodist Church

Stonebow House - built in 1964 - was designed by Wells, Hickman and Partners, commissioned through an open tender by City of York Council.

Stonebow House – built in 1964 – was designed by Wells, Hickman and Partners, commissioned through an open tender by City of York Council.

In 1955 a new road was created, demolishing the Old George Hotel.
Before that there was Hungate, a densely packed area of housing and workshops.
In 1964 Stonebow House was built.
In it was Carline’s, (possibly) York’s first supermarket, where you could save 2p on a bag of sugar.
In 1992 a venue opened, it became much loved, it was called Fibbers.
And on 7th January 2014, the City of York Council decided to buy the freehold to Stonebow House with the aim of ‘entering negotiations with the long leaseholder on options for the building and sites future’.

Some kind of decision about Stonebow House is coming.

The Stonebow Inquiry will ask three questions:

• How can all of us in York make good decisions about the future of Stonebow House?
• What do we need to know?
• Who needs to be involved?

On the day we will explore these questions by sharing what we’ve learnt so far in the Inquiry through archival research and people sharing their knowledge, stories, memories or photographs:

• What is the pre-Stonebow history of the site?
• What is the history of the building and area since 1964?
• Who used, and uses, the building?

We will then move on to consider how a good decision might be made. How might expanding what counts as an evidence-base help create engaged public debate? How can people who care about the area and the building shape any future decisions?

The event will involve a number of different activities from walking tours around the site to group discussions. At this stage we aren’t trying to make the decision itself. We are trying to think about how a decision might be ultimately made that democratically engages York’s citizens.

To register for your free place:

Refreshments and lunch provided free of charge.

This event is part of the York: Living with History Inquiry. It is jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council via the ‘How should decisions about heritage be made?’ project and the EPSRC Culture and Communities Network+ ‘StoryStorm’ Network.