10th June 2013
That’s that grand old duke of York again – but I don’t think this is the hill he marched his 10,000 men up and down, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t all have fitted anyhow.
There was a group of school children visiting Clifford’s Tower just ahead of me. Some of them were running up the stairs and along the ledges without a care in the world but a few of the girls were quite hesitant about it all – I have to say my vote was with the hesitant ones this time. It seems awfully high up without much to hang on to at times. Great views though, and some gory history attached to the tower.
Just across the road from the little hill and tower was one of the places that I enjoyed most, York Castle Museum. There is just so much to see here, in my opinion, an absolute must. I was tripping along down memory lane every few seconds in some places. The Toy Stories exhibition had everyone ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ and ‘I remember that-ing’. Meccano, a spirograph, toy ovens and cash registers, it was all there.
The Victorian street of the Kirkgate exhibition is mind boggling in it’s completeness and the fact that just one man collected everything in it for its educational value, not just for collecting’s sake. John Kirk was the collector and museum founder and the street was recreated in the museum in 1938. The shops are based on real York shops of the Victorian era and it’s just like you walked back in time when you enter them, it’s mesmerizing.
The prison area was again full of heart wrenching stories and images in what would have been a terribly dark, dank place, although there are beautiful wooden staircases and cute light fittings there now.
I wandered out to have a look at the mill-house but there wasn’t much inside so I sat and actually finished a sketch for once, paint and all. After the peace and quiet of the garden the Sixties exhibition was all loud colours and noise – just as I remember them from my childhood!
Another stop with my York Pass that I thoroughly enjoyed was a walk through Fairfax House, dating from the 1700’s, was renovated in 1762 to be part of Viscount Fairfax daughter’s dowry, although she never married. Amazingly, when it was obtained by the York Civic Trust, after being used as a cinema and dance hall for 50 years, they found few structural changes had been made and now the house is much as it was back in the 1770’s. It’s a gorgeous house full of beautiful pieces collected by Noel Terry, apparently a well known collection of 18th century furniture and clocks. There were no photos allowed, which I don’t like, but there were people in all the rooms who were happy to share their knowledge and love of the house with me. I like talking to the volunteers when they’re around instead of just wandering through without any background; usually they are older people with a real passion for the place who love a chat – good value!!
Another set of roman bath ruins in York are in the basement area of one of the hotels. It wasn’t very well presented or looked after but it seems to be privately owned so maybe that’s why – hardly worth the time or money to visit, but you never know if you never go do you??
Someone told me about a good place for lunch one day, Gray’s Court, just past the Treasurer’s House. It took a bit of finding but was just a divine place looking out over their gardens to the York walls – good spot for people watching everyone walking along the top of the wall.
Oh well, one last walk home along the river and the walls today, a few last photos and it’s off to Scarborough next.