York Walks /3

Riverside – off Coney Street and Spurriergate

Photographed in August 2004

This stretch of riverside wasn't generally accessible from this bank of the river until relatively recently, when the old newspaper offices were redeveloped by the City Screen and a riverside walkway was opened up. Further along, near Ouse Bridge, there has always been a narrow lane and a short concrete balcony giving access to the riverside, but it was never the kind of place you'd want to sit and drink coffee.

By the City Screen

From the inscription on the old The Yorkshire Herald building  

This inscription, in full, does of course read "The Yorkshire Herald". I've picked out the most important word.

This area, accessed from Coney Street, is a very attractive development, a happy mix of old and new. It's usually a busy place, but early one Sunday morning I found it quiet.

The building pictured right is one of several that have been retained and modernised on this stretch of riverside. This is the Ebor Hall, a meeting hall built c1860 and later used by the Yorkshire Evening Press, who also occupied the building further along – pictured above – which still carries the name (of a previous local newspaper) The Yorkshire Herald across the front.

  Ebor Hall, now redeveloped
City Screen development – detail  

I realised I didn't know much about this redeveloped riverside area, apart from thinking that it's very impressive, so I did a bit of research, and now know that the architects were Panter Hudspith.

The photo, left, shows a rather handsome mix of old brick and new concrete and glass.

Riverside view, showing modern hotel block


Riverside view – towards Lendal Bridge

Above: River views, from the Orgasmic Riverside Garden and associated balconies. The modern hotel block on North Street dominates the view towards Ouse Bridge (above left).

By the City Screen


St Martin's Church, Coney Street

Above left: the main walkway to the riverside balconies, by the City Screen, looking up towards Coney Street. Above right: the main walkway passes the church of St Martin's.

Riverside garden. with Guildhall buildings view


Spire of All Saints. on the opposite bank

Above left: The riverside garden of the Orgasmic restaurant and bar. Very attractive, with this rather interesting mix of multi-coloured old wall with the Guildhall peeking over it, and even some trees. As I was sitting here, admiring the view, I noticed the striking contrast of All Saints' spire over the rather more modern railings of the balcony on this bank – hence the photo, above right. All Saints is featured in the page on North Street.

Unidentified attractive building


Glimpsed down an alley off Coney Street

There's a little alley down from Coney Street to this sweet building, which I photographed but forgot to note what it's used for. There's a fascinating mix of buildings around here, and even mysterious alleyways, which I had to have a look down.

Mysterious alleyway and interesting walls


It was all rather interesting. After going round a few corners I got to a metal gate that showed a lovely sunlit glimpse of the front of the Guildhall (above right). This reminded me that I hadn't just come along here to wander down alleys and take yet more photos of old brick walls with bits of old stone wall (above left) as not everyone finds them as interesting as I do. So I found my way back out on to Coney Street, and continued on my vague wanderings.

Near Ouse Bridge – "Songs and Stories"

Old common lane – Fish Landing  

On the same stretch of riverside, between the bridges, is this strange little shortcut. It's further along from the City Screen development, and is found leading off Spurriergate, which continues on from Coney Street. It's featured in the book Walk Around the Snickelways of York as an ancient common lane called Fish Landing, heading down to the Ouse. The Ouse is still there at the bottom, but the lane wasn't very pleasant and was full of smelly bins. I did travel most of the way along it, but retreated hastily.

By Ouse Bridge  

After retreating, I nipped around the corner onto Ouse Bridge, and took this photo, left, of the place by the Ouse where this lane ends up. I assume this was once the location of the Fish Landing mentioned above. Hard to imagine now, as it's ugly urban concrete. I've got no memories of its distant history, but I do remember its importance about 20 years ago in the mid-1980s.

I think it's sealed off now, but on the lower level here there used to be public toilets, where we used to go to check our make-up before heading for Coney Street to hang around outside Woolworths (still in the same place now as it was then), or have a cigarette sneakily, or catch up on gossip about who was going out with who. On the level above, where the railings are, was a shop that sold second-hand records, called, if I remember rightly, Songs and Stories. Great name, which I just remembered, while putting this page together, and a great shop, for those of us who were still at school and couldn't afford to buy everything new.

But now I'm starting to sound like an old person . . .

Related pages:

For views of this stretch of riverside and the City Screen development from the opposite side of the river, taken earlier in the year, see York Walks /1: Lendal Bridge to Ouse Bridge. Across the bridge, on the other side of the river, is Queen's Staith (York Walks /2).