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New Street was created between 1744 and 1747. The work involved demolishing two derelict properties: Davy Hall on Davygate and a house on Coney Street (York).
The genesis of a 'new street'
The story of the street's origins was recounted in 1818 by the well-known newspaper proprietor and York historian William Hargrove:
and the hall being greatly out of repairs, an order was made by the mayor and commonalty the 29th of January, 1744, for taking it down, for disposing of the materials, and for letting the ground on a building lease, reserving a street or road from Davygate into Coney-Street.
It was accordingly leased to Mr. Charles Mitley, a sculptor, and his brother in law, Mr. William Carr; who by agreement, took down the old hall, and built a row of six good houses; which being roofed in July, 1746, on the very day when William duke of Cumberland visited York, after the battle of Culloden, were, through respect to him, called Cumberland-Row; though this part of the city is now far more generally termed New-Street.
Source: William Hargrove, "History and Description of the Ancient City of York”, Volume 2, published in York (1818), pages 406 - 407.
The creation of this 'new street' formed part of a city-wide programme of improvements undertaken by the Corporation of York and private speculators during the first half of the 18th century.
This Georgian terrace originally consisted of six dwellings, but the two closest to Davygate were demolished in the 19th and 20th centuries. The facades of the replacements (constructed in 1958–9) were designed to blend-in with the originals, although the bricks are a slightly different colour.
The remains of the southwest wall of the Roman fortress lie below this section of New Street. For further information, see Pavement Marker on New Street for Roman Fortress Southwest Wall.
The building at the opposite end of the street (on the corner with Coney Street) is also worthy of note (see Image 2). This Grade II listed structure was constructed in 1907 for Beckett's Bank, who used it as a banking hall (Number 14 Coney Street) and bank-manager's house (No 10 New Street). The following architectural details of this building will reward close inspection:
- The collection of 'herms' (carved heads of Greek gods) inset into the cornice between the sandstone walls of the ground floor and the brick walls of the upper floors.
- The ornate (embossed) rainwater goods (hoppers and downpipes).
- The enormous red and gold coat of arms on the corner (see Image 3). This incorporates a pair of wild boar supporting a shield (which includes three more boar's heads) and the motto 'PRODESSE CIVIBUS' (which apparently translates as "to be of advantage to my fellow citizens"). Note also the upright hand located immediately above the shield.
- The ground floor interior, especially the moulded and painted plaster ceiling in the former banking hall. The latter features garlanded fruits, flowers and vegetables and it is worth the price of a cup of coffee to be able to sit inside and examine it in comfort.