New views on Parliament Street

Sunlit limestone of medieval church, and late Victorian red brick building, viewed across paved area

Earlier this month, one evening, I was dashing past the end of Parliament Street and noticed this new and rather beautiful view. Pleasing not only because of the way the evening light shines on the lantern tower of All Saints, Pavement, but also because of the satisfying contrast of colour and style between the ancient church and the ornate red brick and terracotta of the Barclays Bank building (dating from 1901, by Edmund Kirby).

Presumably this view was available to us in the past, before that strange little toilet block known as the Splash Palace was built. It dominated this end of Parliament Street. Since its recent demolition, this view is opened up to us again. From the corner near M&S we have pleasing architectural contrast across an open space.

Surprising to read that not everyone likes the change. A letter to The Press calls it ‘bleak and desolate’, down here at the end of Parliament Street.

There’s also a Facebook campaign to install a statue of Joseph Rowntree in this new open space. We do of course already have buildings, parks, charitable trusts, organisations and indeed the whole village of New Earswick, to remind us of the good work of Joseph and other members of the Rowntree family.

If he was here I reckon he’d say we should spend our money on looking after the living, as he did.

And he might also quite like the view as it is.

Your views on this view are welcome.

More information/links

More on Joseph Rowntree from the excellent website of The Rowntree Society. Which includes the information that his grave is marked by a simple Quaker gravestone. I get the impression Quakers aren’t big on grand memorials to mark their achievements in life.

More on York’s statues

See also

A video on YouTube includes a shot of this part of Parliament St (at around 1 min 22 in the film), before the ‘Splash Palace’ was built.

About Lisa @YorkStories

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  1. Lovely warm picture,which was as seen before the’Splash Palace’ during WW2 and beyond,
    except that there were two waist height iron railings around entry and exit stone steps down to the public toilets,about 20 metres apart.
    This area above the loo’s,was occupied by local farmers,and wives selling their wares every Saturday,and of course was a very welcome ‘Comfort Break’on a long day’s trading
    all day.

  2. drake Richards

    didn’t know the evil splash palaces had gone.The standard of hygiene there would have disgraced Victorian York. I recall the railing and the male and female loos at virtually opposite ends of the street
    Beautiful view now

  3. YorkStories

    The entrances and railings you remember, Stephen and Drake, are included on the slideshow of 60s/70s photos I’ve just added a page about. See the ‘See also’ above for the link.

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