York Walks /1

Foss Islands Road, Navigation Road and Walmgate

Photographed on 25 January 2004

The Red Tower, Foss Islands Road. 25 January 2004

Sign on the Red Tower, informing that once it marked the edge of an impassable swamp

Foss Islands Road isn't the most attractive part of York. But it does contain a few interesting buildings, the oldest and most attractive of which is the Red Tower, which marks one end of this section of the bar walls.

The photos above show the Red Tower, including part of the sign attached to one of its walls, which informs us that beyond here, at one time, was an impassable swamp. It's a good job that was dealt with, as there's a wine warehouse just out of shot and it would be a bit inconvenient having to wade through a swamp to get a botttle of Chardonnay.

Iron bridge and DEFRA building, Foss Islands Road   Foss Islands Road tip, featuring impressive brick chimney

What a satisfyingly curvy piece of ironwork – the iron bridge across the Foss, on Foss Islands Road. And there's the building behind it that I still think of as the MAFF building, though they're now called DEFRA, and it's difficult to keep up.


I couldn't walk along Foss Islands Road without taking a picture of the tip and its rather striking chimney. For more photos of this industrial area and more information on this (listed) chimney, see York Walks /3: Layerthorpe to Heworth Green.

It's that chimney again – seen over stacks of bricks in Walker's yard. Taken in Navigation Road, 25 January 2004   Former Pullman Bus Company depot, now a car wash, Navigation Road.

Indeed I like the chimney so much I had to photograph it again when I came across this view from Navigation Road, with the chimney visible over stacks of bricks in Walker's Building Supplies yard.


Another rather more utilitarian building, but deserves recording nonetheless. The old depot of the York Pullman Bus Co Ltd (as it says above the massive doorway) – now apparently housing a car park and car wash.

Bowes Morrell House, Walmgate  

A historic building somewhat marooned in Walmgate – Bowes Morrell House. It was sympathetically restored in the 1960s, and gven its name, after the refurbishment, in honour of J B Morrell.

Despite much opposition, J B Morrell's former home, Burton Croft, is soon to be demolished. See York Walks /3: Burton Croft.

For more on this street, see a later walk – York Walks /4: Walmgate.

The fondly-remembered INL club

Completely different from Bowes Morrell House, but nearby, in Speculation St, is the INL (Irish National League) club.

People of a certain age might, like me, have fond memories of the INL and some of its gigs in the mid-1980s. As it's soon to be demolished, I took a few photos before it disappears. The INL was York's oldest working men's club, established over 100 years ago by the large number of Irish workers in the Walmgate area.

The club closed in April 2002.

Graffiti on the wall of the abandoned INL club – 'Save hunts'   Painted sign: 'INL WMC entrance'

What strange graffiti to find on a building in the middle of a city . . .

(There's a lot of it about. See York Walks /3: Graffiti)


I nearly missed this rather handsome painted sign as I dashed past on my way. I hope someone saves it when the building is demolished. (For more characterful and interesting signs, see York Walks /3: Signs and symbols)

Update, 2012

This page was compiled in 2004. Since then, flats have replaced the INL club, the old Pullman garage has made way for student housing, and a Morrison's supermarket is now on the site of the Foss Islands Road tip. The chimney remains – now often referred to as 'Morrison's chimney'.

For more photographs and information from this area in 2004, see York Walks /4: Walmgate.