York Walks /1

Museum Gardens

Photographed in January & February 2004

Hosptium, Museum Gardens

The Hospitium is much-photographed, but I've never photographed it before. When I wandered past it on 1 February 2004 I thought it looked impressive in the low light of a winter afternoon.

This two-storeyed 13th century building has a stone-built lower floor. The upper storey is thought to be the oldest timber-framed structure in York.

Hospitium, Museum Gardens Winter afternoon sunlight behind the Hospitium, Museum Gardens
Favourite view of the Hospitium

All the images I've seen of this building have been of its main face – the face it shows to people wandering along the main path of the Museum Gardens. All the time I've never been aware of how good it looks from this side, and how peaceful it looks, like it's in a rural setting.

If I saw this image and didn't know where this building was, I'd never imagine it was in the heart of a city.

Note the water visible around its base – this photo was taken on 1 February 2004 after torrential rain, when the Ouse was very high, and I had to traverse a very muddy bank to take this picture.

St Mary's Abbey – 1

The impressive and romantic ruins of St Mary's Abbey, Museum Gardens.

'The ruins of St Mary's Church rose gracefully . . . Several cells, with large Gothic windows, are still standing, built of a clear white limestone, very elegantly wreathed with ivy, and shaded by elms.'

Carl Gustav Carus, 1844

St Mary's Abbey – 2 St Mary's Abbey – 3
York Central Library

I think that the library building is maybe officially in Library Square, and not in the Museum Gardens. But as it's right next to The Gardens (as we used to call them when we all met there as teenagers) and looks out, from its side and back windows, to the Multangular Tower and Anglian Tower (see below), to me it is part of the Museum Gardens.

I love this library and all that it represents. I love all libraries and all that they represent. I remind myself of this every time I have to pay enormous fines because I've forgotten to renew my books.

Though I've been into this library hundreds of times over the years, it was only on 1 February this year, mid-walk, pausing by the library to eat a banana (to give me the energy needed to get back home after walking miles across York) that I noticed these rather nice details on the building's front.

Looking through the Anglian Tower, Museum Gardens

When you live somewhere you have your own names for places. This is referred to as the "Anglian Tower", but we used to call it "the summerhouse", if I recall, twenty years ago when we were at school. Not sure why. Possibly because we used to hang around there in the summer, and it's a bit like a very small house.

Seriously though. This is, out of tourist season, and possibly even during it, a quiet corner of York, and a very special place. This photo was taken from one side of the Anglian Tower, looking through it. I'm not exactly sure what periods of stone and brickwork we're looking at here, but to me it doesn't matter. It's one of my very favourite corners of York.

Shame that the floor was covered with empty plastic cider bottles when I visited to take this. Ignoring that, in the low light of a winter afternoon, it had all the atmosphere it always had. You can feel history here.

More on the Anglian Tower and surrounding area, in News & views (2012)

Part of the outer wall of the Anglian Tower

Anglian Tower: information sign.

Above – details of Anglian Tower. Below – around the Anglian Tower signs denote the heights of the various banks over time.

Signs show the heights of the Dark Ages bank, the Norman and the Medieval banks Sign: Roman Bank
Plaque in memory of Jeffrey Radley

There's another plaque here, on the Anglian Tower. I wanted to include this but was concerned about the graffiti that covers it. As I'm trying to present an honest view of York, I've decided to include it anyway.

The plaque is in memory of Jeffrey Radley who died in an accident at this site 34 years ago.

The image can be enlarged with a click of the mouse, but the graffiti might offend. I hope though that everyone would notice that at least one of the people who has written on this plaque has some awareness of what it says.

Further thoughts, in News & views, 22 July 2012

There's a lot of graffiti in York, as there is, I guess, in every city. As it's hard to ignore, I've included a page about it in a later section on this site. See York Walks /3: Graffiti.

Looking towards the Multangular Tower

The light was very low as I retraced my steps back towards the main part of the Museum Gardens, and the Multangular Tower.

This photo, and those above of the Anglian Tower and its surroundings, were taken on 29 January 2004, late in the afternoon.

Multangular Tower – detail

The Multangular Tower, at last light, 29 January 2004.

Related pages (2004): For images and notes from the Museum Gardens in autumn, see York Walks /4: Museum Gardens.

Nearby are St Leonard's Place, and Marygate visited in York Walks /3.

Update, 2011

For more recent pages,see Green spaces: The Museum Gardens

Page compiled in early 2004. Last updated: 23 July 2012.