York Walks /4

Lawrence Street

Photographed on 24 October 2004

I thought it was about time that I attempted to explore the area outside Walmgate Bar. Just outside the bar, at the beginning of Lawrence Street, I noticed this obviously deserted chip shop (right) with a planning application attached to it. I took this photo in a hurry (because it's difficult not to feel self-conscious sometimes, taking photos of abandoned shops, in a city full of tourists who take photos of the Minster) but I like the effect, with the pub opposite reflected in the window.

  Bar Fisheries – closed down
Painted sign on wall: Corner Cafe – Fish Chips  

Bar Fisheries was opposite this other fish and chip place, with its rather nice faded sign painted on the brick wall at first floor level. I was able to photograph the wall sign on the left while standing on the traffic island in the middle of the road, waiting to cross. You wait a fair while to cross, in this area near Walmgate bar, as the traffic is tediously constant. Indeed it took so long I'm surprised I'm still doing York Walks /4 (autumn), as it felt like several seasons had passed and it could have been York Walks /10 at least.

Lawrence St Working Mens' Club  

A little further along is this building, presumably originally a rather impressive residence. It's so grand, in fact, that the Lawrence Street Working Mens' Club who have occupied it in recent years have found that it's now too big for their needs, so the building is likely to be redeveloped.

For more on this building, see Former WMC, and Tuke family home (2011)

This is one of several local Working Mens' Clubs that have faced problems recently with falling numbers and developers apparently circling their premises. This building may have to be vacated by the club, but it is listed, so is unlikely to be demolished. It's also unlikely to be turned into a youth club, or community centre. It's most likely to be converted back into residential accommodation. (But hasn't been yet – see 2011 page: Former WMC, and Tuke family home.)

Behind the former Laurens Manor Nursing Home  

Demolition/construction site, Laurens Manor

And these rather unattractive pictures are from an area behind a large Victorian building called the Laurens Manor Nursing Home, further up Lawrence Street.

Board on ground instructs 'Do not move'  


The nursing home closed in December last year. For background information see: www.yorkpress.co.uk: End of the line for York nursing home.

Just at the edge of the construction/demolition site, bordered by the usual steel fencing, I noticed this large piece of board on the ground. It said "Do not move", in rather startling red, that demanded attention. Obviously I remained motionless for some time . . .

And here's an excellent sign. A long way down the road, there's a dentist's surgery on a corner, with this sign by its front door.




It seems that it's the done thing to have chewing gum on the way to the dentists. Perhaps there's now a special "before dental visits" type of chewing gum, which makes your teeth extra clean? Whatever, they have a bin for it. So DON'T DROP IT ON THE FLOOR.

  Sign outside dentist's surgery

St Lawrence's, and the Poor Clares

That's enough of the state of the modern world. Time for a retreat into more peaceful and spiritual areas. This is Lawrence Street's large Victorian church. The light shining through the stained glass was rather beautiful.

St Lawrence church, stained glass windows   St Lawrence church, stained glass windows /2

The church was built in 1881 and a spire added in 1893. (Why there would be a 12 year gap before a spire was added, I don't know. I'm imagining all the church-goers looking up at it and thinking it wasn't quite right, and then after 12 years someone saying "D'you think it might look better with a spire?")

  St Lawrence Church, looking up

In the church yard is part of the original church. Only the tower remains, standing there on its own, after the rest of the building was demolished in the 1880s. A plaque on the side explains that it is maintained by the Redundant Churches Fund, and reads "Though no longer required for regular worship it remains consecrated to the service of God. Please respect it accordingly." Though not a church-goer myself, I was quite moved by this tower and its special plaque.

For more information, see my page on Old St Lawrence, York in the Churches section.

  The original church
See of York  

The church hall for St Lawrence's faces onto Lawrence Street and has two of these coats of arms. Hugh Murray's fascinating book Heraldry and the Buildings of York tells me that this is the See of York (Modern). Why it is on this building in particular I don't know, but I can tell you, thanks to Mr Murray's book, that the church hall dates from 1935.

Monastery of Poor Clares, entrance   Monastery of Poor Clares, sign
Entrance, Monastery of Poor Clares  

Not obvious in the bustle and traffic of Lawrence Street is the Monastery of the Poor Clares, which has been on this site since 1872. There was an opening in the buildings, pictured left, which was rather beautifully sunlit, but it didn't seem right to go wandering in there, despite the fact that I saw what looked like some interesting polychromatic brickwork. (I think perhaps I've been reading too many of these books about architecture.)

From Lawrence Street, we can cross the road in front of Walmgate Bar, and visit Walmgate.