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College Street and College Green
College Street is named after St William’s College on the northeast side. The creation of College Green has opened-up a lovely view of the Minster's East Front.
The thoroughfare acquired its current name at some point during the first half of the 19th century. In medieval times, it was known as Vicars Lane (because it led from the Minster Yard to the Bedern, which was home to the Vicars Choral). However, on historical maps dated 1736, 1750 and 1820, it is labelled as Little Alice Lane (reputedly after the landlady of an ale-house located on the street – probably the Turk’s Head).
Until the late 19th century, the street was very narrow, with jettied timber-framed buildings lining both sides all the way from Goodramgate to Minster Yard. In 1861-2, two houses directly opposite the college were demolished. Their gardens (and the land formerly occupied by the houses) was landscaped to create the first incarnation of College Green.
Over the next 80 years, more of the buildings on the southwest side of the street were demolished and, in 1955, the green was extended and reshaped / repositioned to create the pleasant green space that we see today. As part of these works, a sundial was erected to create a central focal point.