Illuminating York, 2011 – NRM

29 October 2011

Another interesting evening of contrasts, as I visited two more locations taking part in Illuminating York. At just after 6pm I arrived at a packed church – All Saints North Street – to hear Latin Vespers sung by Gregorian chant. It was standing room only, with late arrivals like me standing in the porch for some time, until we managed to edge into the incense-filled church. After this unforgettable – and very calming – experience, I headed off round the corner, to the bus-filled rowdy clamour of Rougier Street, and down to the NRM.

Locos in a Different Light, at the NRM

Locos in a Different Light, NRM

Wandering about the National Railway Museum at night seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I wasn’t particularly interested in individual lighting effects on particular locos, but was charmed by the atmosphere of the place. We moved from the gloomy shadows at the edges of Station Hall into areas of light. Figures turned into silhouettes, details of faces and clothing obscured, making it easier to imagine that these were the platforms of a working station, in the age of steam.

Illuminating York, at the NRM

I wish I’d taken my better camera, instead of my compact one, but did my best to capture something of the evening.

Then wandered off outside, into the vast yard, past old rolling stock, freight trains with rusty bits and faded lettering. Few people around out there. Very quiet and still. Almost possible to sense the ghosts of old railwaymen. Visible in the distance were the lights from some of the apartments built in recent years. Beyond that the vast area of still-undeveloped land known as York Central.

Headed off home, impressed by Illuminating York, glad to have seen the NRM, Dean’s Park and All Saints church, in a different light.

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