Tanner’s Moat photo, undated …


I’d forgotten I had this photo, originally scanned years back, and just rediscovered on my computer.

It’s small, very pale, and faded, but recognisable as a view of Tanner’s Moat (click to enlarge the view) – that short stretch of road from Rougier Street to the riverside, by Lendal Bridge. Towards the right is the old horse repository building, before its height was reduced.

I found this photo in a tin of my partner’s old family photos. There was, I recall, one other ‘York view’ – a more traditional view looking towards the east end of the Minster, in front of St William’s College. Otherwise the photos were all of family members, through the decades.

There’s nothing written on the back of the photo, it just has a number stamped on it.

I can’t date it, but wondered if someone out there would have some idea from, perhaps, the car in the foreground.

The other mystery is why would such a photo, of a street that’s not a typical ‘historic view’ of York, be among a collection of ‘family photos’.


The photo was clearly taken from the bar walls, and I’ve tried to recreate it with this photo taken a few days ago (can be enlarged).

I’ve tinted it to remove the lurid modern colours, to make it easier to ‘compare and contrast’. The horse repository building is now overshadowed by the tall modern office block behind it. The old red-brick Rowntree’s factory building with its chimney has been replaced by another office block, fronted in pale stone.

Possibly the most obvious change in this ’spot the difference’ challenge is that when it comes to directing traffic, a policeman is no longer adequate, and has been replaced by traffic lights.

See also:
The tall Rowntrees factory building in the old photo is shown from a different angle in Andy’s photo from the 1970s.
There’s more on the horse repository on this page.

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Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on www.yorkstories.co.uk. She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
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  1. It is intriguing trying to date this. There is signage on the front of the building to the right of the horse repository: John J Hunt – who owned the Ebor Brewery in York (in Aldwalk). John J Hunt was acquired by the Hartlepool brewer JW Cameron (more famously known as Camerons) in 1953. At the time of acquisition John J Hunt comprised the Ebor Brewery and 220 licensed premises. Camerons may have continued to use John J Hunt as a trading name, or slowly eradicated it in favour of its own, and that might give us a clue as to the year (pre 1953?). The Ebor brewery was not demolished until 1972, having been built by John J Hunt in 1898 (a York Story in itself).

  2. Indeed this photo (late 1950s?) shows Camerons – and its red lion symbol – now completely dominating the corner shop.


  3. Forgive me for multiple comments but I find this very interesting.

    Here is a cleaner image of the area in question with a date of circa 1920s.


    The John J Hunt signage is much more in focus, indeed the corner shop (or rather Off Licence) even sells Rowntree’s Elect Cocoa for those who do not want to drink the celebrated brews.

    Whilst we still have the white gloved policeman, it differs from your mystery photo in that the overhead tramlines are still in place, and there is evidence of horse manure on the cobbled roads.

    If nothing else, the photos have drawn attention to John J Hunt who, as I mentioned, should have a York Story all of his own! Apart from the Ebor Brewery in Aldwark, he is connected to other significant properties in York including his imposing residence, Grimston Court.

    What do you think Lisa? I know you would do it justice.

  4. YorkStories

    Thank you David, no need to apologise for multiple postings – I appreciate your detective work.

    I really like that last photo, not seen it before on http://www.imagineyork.co.uk, though I found many other photos of that fine old horse repository building!

    I’ve heard of Hunt’s brewery in Aldwark, but it sounds like it was demolished when I was young. Will investigate further. But I do have a long list here of things I’ve been meaning to add to the website and haven’t yet, so it could take a while … If you’ve something already written, or would like to write this York Story, I am happy to include it on these pages, with due credit of course.

  5. YorkStories

    Regarding the tramlines – perhaps then that rather dominant black post in the middle of the photo is an old tramline post? Or perhaps a telegraph pole.

    Just found a great old photo taken nearby, which is captioned ‘Tempest Anderson, the photographer, has annotated this with the word “Disfigurements”.’ You can see what he means. Big black structures on a march towards the Minster!


  6. No wonder they had to strengthen Lendal Bridge with all that going on. As regards your mystery picture, the overhead tram cables were cleared from the end of 1935 onwards and so that would possibly date it after 1936 (overheads gone) and before Camerons replaced the John J Hunt signage (anytime after 1953). As you say, someone might be able to identify the model of a car to give a more specific year.

    Somewhat ironically it is my interest in the temperance movement in York that brought me to the figure of John J Hunt – quite a contrast.

    The Ebor brewery in Aldwark being demolished in 1972:


  7. YorkStories

    I’m glad this little old forgotten photo is being discussed.
    Two friends have said that they think the cars date from the 1920s? … I have no idea about cars. Or indeed how long cars lasted in those days – whether 1920s models would still be on the road in the 1930s?

    I’m going with your 1936 to 1953 David. Any further comments most welcome of course.

  8. Just as a final note, there are two more clues that might narrow the year down further: (1) the tramlines are still embedded in the road on Lendal Bridge and (2) the garage on the far left hand side of Tanners Moat still has upper floors. Subsequently, the road surface was covered over and the upper stories of the garage were completely removed, evolving into a Bedford/Vauxhall showroom (Leedhams garage) with a modernised plate glass frontage. Obviously these events could have occurred several years apart; the road might have been done in the late 1930s or early 1940s and the garage modified later. The middle buildings are obscured in the photo but the building next to the garage was once a regional office for John Smiths Brewery and later housed a typewriting supplies company (Spink). Next to that was the Lendal Bridge Hotel (later renamed Lendal Bridge Inn) which is now The Maltings. The horse repository was reduced around 1962.
    It has been an interesting challenge trying to pinpoint a year for this photo. If I had to refine the estimate down to a five year window I would guess it was taken between 1936-1941. I am happy to be corrected of course!

  9. YorkStories

    1936-41 it is then. Also interesting to note that ‘the horse repository was reduced around 1962′. I wonder if there were protests. I wonder why they kept the bottom part. Glad they did, or we wouldn’t have the opportunity to use the phrase ‘horse repository’.

    Thank you David. Don’t suppose you know about the old Heworth/Layerthorpe gasworks … http://www.yorkstories.co.uk/news_and_views/index.php/2012/03/09/gasworks-gang-1955/ ?

  10. What an interesting discussion that was.Here’s my bit,I spent the whole of the WW2 period,
    1939 to1945,travelling by bus(single decker-Bellfarm Avenue to Bishopthorpe),from my house to Nunthorpe school,and every journey involved up or down Lendal Bridge,and there were never tramlines or Policeman,in sight.
    My first car(jalopy!)bought in 1954,was a 1934(ish),Standard 9,eight HP with seperate body mounted on chassis,very similar,(as near as these old eyes of mine can make out)to the rear car of the two shown.Thus 1935 to 1938 more feasible.
    Car cost £50,rebuilt the king pin type suspension,lasted me 5years,and resold for£60.Those vehicles were built to last,no ’shortlife’engineering in those days!!

  11. Correction,I travelled during WW2 by bus ,except for a period mid war,when I cycled to deliver newspapers from Smith’s in Coney St,to the Mount/Dringhouses area.Still involved using Lendal Bridge to go home,(pedalling)so very obvious no tramlines.

  12. YorkStories

    Thanks Stephen, brilliant. Really nice to have so much help with dating this photo, and also to read about when cars were ‘built to last’.
    And that you could get one for £50!

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