A bench in Miller’s Yard

Memorial plaque on bench

On the previous page I left us by the toilets at Bootham Bar, and promised something more uplifting. That same walk, a few minutes earlier, I’d noticed this bench, and have since been back to take a photo of it on a brighter day, wanting to do justice to its lovely inspiring inscription. It’s a memorial plaque to Tom Mason (1953-2006), in Miller’s Yard, off Gillygate, and it reads:

“I have taught myself to take note of and pleasure in those works with which the creator has crowded and adorned the paths I daily walk and cycle”

I think I try to do the same, and I know many readers of these pages will also appreciate these words.

I wondered whether this might be a quote. As so often, Google produced an immediate answer, and as so often, I ended up reading several interesting things and found myself some distance from where I started.

These words are taken from the introduction to a book by the naturalist George Johnston (1797–1855). They’ve been slightly altered in punctuation and capitalisation and have a small addition to the original text:

“… I have taught myself to take note of, and pleasure in, those works with which the Creator has crowded and adorned the paths I daily walk; and sure I am that now I can see and appreciate a beauty and excellence, where, otherwise, they would not have impressed me …”
(The Botany of the Eastern Borders, archive.org)

The plaque has ‘and cycle’ added to Johnston’s ‘daily walk’. Nice, isn’t it.

Taking notice of this bench also drew me into taking more notice of Miller’s Yard in general, and so we’re staying here for the next page. Have a seat on this sunny bench.

More information

The same words (without the addition) are inscribed in a place with a strong connection to George Johnston:

Inscription on the Hume Castle indicator, and another view of the same

More information on George Johnston, from the DNB

Tom Mason's bench in Millers Yard

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  By Lisa @YorkStories 27 May 2015 , To link to this page's proper location please use the > permalink

About Lisa @YorkStories

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One comment

  1. karl badger

    Tom and the other bakers would sit quietly eating, resting and reflecting. Customers glanced as they walked passed. The bench is not just a memory, ‘artisan baking’ came much later.tush Goodwin,mike brid and Andy russell created it in york. in their white overalls,on that bench,that’s how I remember gillygate…along with martin mike Andrew and Dylan!

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