The Railway Age in York England UK George Hudson
The regeneration that took place in our fine city after the removal of the Royal Garrison in 1688, made the city of York into a place that was be dominated by the local aristocracy and gentry. not a bad thing for the city one would think ... or was it?
The base of York's economy at the time was in steady decline, as
was most of the manufacturing base at the time. At this time York's
role as the centre of culture in the north was becoming more secure
stage. Architecture took a turn for the better with grand new town
houses erected in central areas. Civic building projects which
took on projects like the Assembly Rooms and Assize Courts. The
now renown Knavesmire
was built around this time as were a number of local hospitals.
Although not strictly tourist attractions these hospital building
are splendid buildings
in their own right. 1719 came and the inadequate coach services
to and from London were improved. The time it took for this journey
was reduced from four
days to under 20 hours by the 1830's.
The Railway Age
The great man called George Hudson was apparently a very ruthless businessman.
The nature of his moral character can be called into question for a number
of reasons on historical record. After his death the legacy of the railways
he left us with are really what he is remembered for and not the numerous financial
improprieties that were uncovered.
in It was in 1839 that Hudson brought the railways to York and by the beginning
of the 20th century the city was thriving once again. This time it was as a major
railway centre. This industry was then employing over 5,500 people directly and
there ended up being several thousand more employed in the industries which sprung
up around it, mainly manufacturing. Before the carriage works in York closed
they were one of the main employers in the city.
The railway strength is directly linked to its use by the expanding of Rowntree's
Cocoa Works and Terry's Confectionery Works. The railway boosted the city's other
major industry, which was chocolate and confectionery. Joseph Rowntree combined
business with Quaker philanthropy; he created the village of New Earswick to
house the workers of his factory. A quick bit of trivia for you here New Earswick
even today has no pubs, this holds to the Quaker philosophy. Terry's now closed
in York was also one of its main employers and Rowntree although still open is
no longer under British ownership. It was in fact when these industries declined
and moved out that suddenly the powers that be decided to do something about
the one industry that it had left to fend for itself until then, that being tourism.
Yes suddenly it was all the rage to come and see those things we locals took
granted, the history that was all around us.
George Hudson was at one time the Lord Mayor of York. His actions how ever they
are viewed today at the time lead to York's renewed prosperity. A street in the
centre of town is now named after the man. This street at one time had a public
house which was named the railway king after our George.
Also in the Victorian times, was the construction of numerous new churches, banks, offices, schools and colleges.
Until 1974, York was the county's administrative centre and only Canterbury has more influence within the church. In more recent years, although traditional manufacturing has declined, new industries have risen up on the City's growing industrial and commercial sites with tourism being a major source of income for the city and its people, York attracts visitors from all over the world.