More York

May. 29th, 2017 11:29 am
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Many thanks to those of you who liked yesterday's post about our trip to York - but you didn't think you'd escape that lightly did you?  Because there's more ...

On the second day SM wanted to go to a song recital, which had no appeal to me, so I headed to the Castle Museum, which wasn't of interest to him.  The museum isn't in the castle - of which only Clifford's Tower remains.  The museum is in fact in what was the old York prison.

Castle museum 1

There were sections which I skipped through and others which were very interesting.  The first was the Shaping the Body exhibition.  I wouldn't normally spend long in a fashion section, but there was a volunteer who was demonstrating various items, including ruffs, a codpiece, and corsets.  She was interesting, and the conversation with another visitor was fascinating.  (Look out for another encounter between the Ferret and a corset at some point).  There's also Kirkgate: The Victorian Street which is similar to other such streets I've seen, but still good for a bit of Holmesian atmosphere - and I bought SM a couple of sugar mice in the sweet shop.  Rather surprisingly, during Victorian times York was as bad as London for the conditions of the poor.

For me though, the best exhibition was 1914: When the World Changed Forever.  A fascinating view of the war, taking as a starting point some of those who came from York.  It doesn't glorify the war and is a sobering experience.  Particularly poignant is the wall at the end of the exhibition where, instead of rejoicing, the words of those who were sorrowing are recorded.  As I was walking round another volunteer asked me if I'd like to handle a Lee Enfield rifle.  He then began to talk about the basics of the war, until I said I was reading a book on the war and we started to talk more widely about the causes, progress and much else.  I got the feeling I knew rather more than most visitors coming past him.

Castle museum 2

From there I took part of the city wall to the Richard III experience.  Once more I had an interesting chat with one of the volunteers and got to try on a helmet.  They are heavy - and with the visor down your view is very restricted.  I can understand why they'd have raised their visor in close contact - otherwise you wouldn't have had a clue who was going to attack you next.

After which I followed the wall on to the Yorkshire Museum gardens, and the owl demonstration in yesterday's post.  Our final destination was York Minster.

Minster 1

The Minster charges to go round, and we weren't going to pay so instead we went to Choral Evensong.  Generally it's not my sort of service - SM likes it - but on this occasion I was very pleasantly surprised.  York has both girl and boy choristers, and the two choirs alternate, coming together for the major festivals.  It was the girl choristers the evensong we were there and they were clearly enjoying their singing.  The music was good too - the Nunc Dimittis was to a tune by Gustav Holst and an anthem by Charles Stanford (I'm not a fan of most choral music, but he's one of the few composers I do like).  And the intercessions were relevant and not just words read from a page.  I was surprised at how few were at the service, but then there hadn't been very many people going in earlier in the day either, and York itself wasn't that busy.

Minster 2

So, to those of you who were saying they should visit York, I would say it's definitely worth it!

 

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