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2021/22 Lectures Season Archive

Our usual lecture seasons run from October to June, culminating with our AGM.

These are the details of our lectures for this season: use this page to get a feel for the kind of lectures you could enjoy free of charge as a YAYAS member or as an aide memoire for those elusive lectures you've enjoyed over the years.

2021 – 2022 lecture season

13th October 2021

Nunnery Lane and Clementhorpe: exploring old shops and pubs in York

Dr Susan Major

The first meeting of 2021-22, on 13 October, was designed as a special “Welcome Back” to our members and included a presentation by Dr Susan Major of the Clements Hall Local History Group based on their latest publication “Nunnery Lane and Clementhorpe: exploring old shops and pubs in York”.  A number of images from YAYAS and the Evelyn Collection were included in the book, and the Group has been very grateful for YAYAS support for the publication.

YAYAS also showcased other recently published books available for sale on our familiar publications table at the Friends Meeting House, including York - A Rare Insight by Ian Drake and Paul Chrystal (2020), and a new publication of archive records related to the building of the Merchant Adventurers Hall in 1357 – Before the Merchant Adventurers:  Building the Hall, Account Book of the Fraternity of Jesus and Mary, York 1357-69.  We also updated members on the latest YAYAS publication - “Life in York One Hundred Years Ago” by Paul Chrystal and Ian Drake (based on the Hanstock collection of photographs), which is now available at the meetings.

10th November 2021

Raids over York


John Shaw and Nick Bielby

10 November saw the second talk - Raids over York John Shaw and Nick Bielby.  The talk was based on an ongoing project centred around the eleven air raids on York in World War II.  Nick Bielby and John Shaw are part of a group including York Civic Trust, York Libraries and Archives, York Oral History Society and the University of York.  There is also an outstanding website:  which has an interactive digital map of the story of the map raids, but the website also collects existing - and recording new - oral history testimonies of those who experienced the raids at first hand, predominantly as children or young adults.  Raids over York is about recording and sharing information, be this the sites of individual bomb craters, the remaining public or private air-raid shelters in the city, or the oral testimonies of those who remember them.  

12th January, 2022 

The Acomb Assemblage: fragments of an early Anglo-Saxon high-status burial

Dr Tania Dickinson


The first lecture of 2022 was by Dr Tania Dickinson on 12 January relating to the ‘Acomb area’ Treasure find: fragments of an early Anglo-Saxon high-status burial’.   The talk covered the background to the discovery in 2016 of fragments of a seventh-century composite disc brooch and a dozen beads. Dr Dickinson discussed the construction and virtual reconstruction of the brooch and possible explanations for the assemblage’s archaeological and historical context.   It is always fascinating to discover what can be established from a very local scale archaeological find.

9th February, 2022

York's Historic Environment Record, an introduction

Claire MacRae

On 9 February the City’s Archaeologist Claire MacRae gave an interactive presentation on York’s Historic Environment Record.   Historic England highlight Historic Environment Records as “sources of, and signposts to, information relating to landscapes, buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas and archaeological finds spanning more than 700,000 years of human endeavour”.  In York it forms an interactive map-accessed database - a primary source of information for planning, development-control work, and land management for planning authority and external consultants/archaeologists and is also used by members of the public/students for research/interest. The short-cut link is York Historic Environment Record - York Historic Environment Record

9th March, 2022

The Organ Builders of York

Dr Max Elliot

The 9 March meeting featured a presentation on The Organ Builders of York by Dr Max Elliott, a renowned expert in the history of music-making in York.  The city’s many churches and chapels were refurbished and renewed in the 19th century.  It was a lucrative time for the organ builders of York with new churches and chapels being built to serve the expanding suburbs of the city.  Sixteen independent businesses collectively built or rebuilt over four hundred and fifty organs from premises in York between 1814 and 1921, but surprisingly few examples remain in original or near-original condition.   Further information is available from the website

13th April, 2022


York's Preservation Tradition


Dr Jonathan French

April’s talk was by Dr Jonathan French and covered the subject of York’s Preservation Tradition.  He explored the motivations (and some myths) behind the history of preserving York's historic built environment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The presentation was in part an exploration of a doctorate by Geoffrey Curr on the history of building preservation in York from 1800 to 1982, who inter alia questioned the central role (as per many books and reports) of William Etty in saving the York Walls.  In practice the Corporation itself gradually learned to protect better the city centre in the 19th century, but took a long time to negotiate through “the sanctity of private property”

11th May, 2022

York's Visitor Attractions - the visitors' views

Ian Tempest

Ian Tempest’s talk on 11 May was on the history of some of York’s Visitor Attractions, with a particular focus on how they responded to the changes in visitor numbers and attitudes over the centuries.  The context is the 8 million visitors coming to York (pre-COVID) and the enduring evidence that visitor spend is largely on accommodation and travel, food and drink and shopping – not directly on the historic fabric of York.  Evidence from a programme of Pilgrimage Studies at the University of York was most revealing in terms of the delicate balance the Minster has always faced as being a most profound place of worship – but also an architecturally important historic building which has drawn visitors since the early days of pilgrimage to the millions of tourists in recent decades.  The talk also looked at current projects in several of York’s visitor attractions, including Clifford’s Tower.

15th June, 2022

AGM & "HerStory - Celebrating Women in York's History"

Kate Hignett & Jocelyn Hayes

Kate Hignett was unable to speak at the AGM as planned, but Jocelyn Hayes was able to step in to talk about HerStory – a website and exhibition (at the Castle Museum) celebrating women in York’s history.  York Museums Trust has been partnering with Community history project, HERSTORY.YORK (, on the exhibition in York Castle Museum which celebrates 100 inspirational women who’ve been Changemakers in the city of York and whose stories have not been told or only partially told.  The exhibition and the website redress the imbalance in the way women’s and men’s historical achievements are recorded and celebrated. <Recording available>

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