York Walks /1

Priory Street and Bishophill

Photographed on 1 February 2004

St Columba's, Priory Street Assembly of God church, Priory St

Priory Street isn't generally a tourist destination. It's a fairly new street by York standards, created in 1854. It's worth visiting, though, if you're interested in Nonconformist places of worship, as there are three in this one street.

If you approach Priory Street from Bishophill Junior, St Columba's (left), in attractive light-reflecting white brick, greets you on the corner.

Another Nonconformist chapel, also rectangular in shape and with a similarly pleasing simplicity, is the Assembly of God Church – now the Rock Church – built in 1856 and in its early days known as the Methodist Wesley Chapel.

The street also contains the neo-Gothic style Baptist Church (not pictured).

St Mary's, Bishophill Junior Tower of St Mary's, Bishophill Junior

Just around the corner from Priory Street, in the adjoining Bishophill Junior, is the church of St Mary (above). In contrast to the 19th century places of worship in Priory Street, St Mary represents the oldest church architecture in the city. The tower, pictured right, is best viewed from the grounds of the Priory Street Centre (below).

Dance school, St Mary's Hall, Bishophill

Right next to St Mary's Church is the old church hall, where Dennis and Rita Cole have their dancing school, as the handsome faded sign above the door indicates. I assume the school is still based here, and hope that if it is, they don't repaint the sign as it's beautiful just as it is.

Priory Street Centre 'Girls' entrance, Nursery Block, Priory Street Centre

An important building for local residents – the Priory Street Centre, housing the offices of the York Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and containing rooms for hire to local groups. This is a great example of an old building being refurbished and re-used. It's likely that at some point most of York's residents will have used the Centre. It was formerly a school, as the doorways of what is now the Nursery block reveal. Like many older schools, it had separate entrances, depending on your gender. Now, thankfully, we can use whatever door we like.

Holy Trinity Church

Also on Priory Street, near its corner with Micklegate, a more traditional looking place of worship – Holy Trinity Church – nestling between buildings.

I'm checking dates and facts in a very useful book – York's other Churches and Chapels, by Brian Seymour. The book tells me that "The architectural history of this church is extremely complex – even by York standards". So I won't attempt to go into it here . . .

Now converted to flats – formerly the Victoria Bar Chapel

Back with the Nonconformist buildings, this time just inside Victoria Bar, on the corner of Victor Street, in Bishophill.

I have to confess that I didn't realise that this was originally a chapel. Another sympathetic restoration – it is now converted to flats. Originally it was built for the Primitive Methodists, opened in 1880, and known as the Victoria Bar Chapel.

There are photographs of other converted former chapels, in York Walks /2. And even more former chapels in York Walks /3.

An interlude – on the walls

From Baile Hill

Other stretches of the city wall have been covered in a whole page of their own. On the day I visited Bishophill and Priory Street, I approached via a walk on the section of walls from Baile Hill at the end of Skeldergate. I took very few photographs on the walls here, as it was busy with other people taking a Sunday walk. For now, just a few images of the stretch of wall between Baile Hill and Victoria Bar.

Left: part of the way up the steps to Baile Hill, and this section of the walls, looking out. In the opening on the right, the Bonding Warehouse.


From Baile Hill – view across the Ouse, 1 February 2004

At the top of the steps to Baile Hill, looking back over York. In the foreground, behind the trees, the Bonding Warehouse, next to the Ouse, with York Castle (Clifford's Tower) on the skyline.

Along the walls, to Baile Hill

Looking back along the walls, to Baile Hill.

Related pages: York Walks /3: Bishophill details