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York: A beginners' guide
York , officially the City of York , is a city and unitary authority area in North Yorkshire , England , with a population of , as of The city is known for its famous historical landmarks such as York Minster and the city walls , as well as a variety of cultural and sporting activities, which makes it a popular tourist destination in England. The local authority is the City of York Council , a single tier governing body responsible for providing all local services and facilities throughout the city.
The City of York local government district includes rural areas beyond the old city boundaries. In the Middle Ages , York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England , a role it has retained. After suffering heavy damage in the Blitz, most buildings were completely gutted and left in disrepair until restorations began during s.
The economy of York is dominated by services. The University of York and National Health Service are major employers, whilst tourism has become an important element of the local economy. In , York became sister cities with the Chinese city of Nanjing. An agreement signed by the Lord Mayor of York , focusing on building links in tourism, education, science, technology and culture.
The word York Old Norse: Welsh -og  meaning either "place of the yew trees" cf. The Archbishop of York uses Ebor as his surname in his signature. By the time of the Roman conquest of Britain , the area was occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Brigantes. The Brigantian tribal area initially became a Roman client state, but later its leaders became more hostile and the Roman Ninth Legion was sent north of the Humber into Brigantian territory.
The site of the principia HQ of the fortress lies under the foundations of York Minster , and excavations in the undercroft have revealed part of the Roman structure and columns. In , Northumbria was in the midst of internecine struggles when the Vikings raided and captured York. Under Viking rule the city became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe.
In , two years after the Norman conquest of England , the people of York rebelled. Initially they were successful, but upon the arrival of William the Conqueror the rebellion was put down. William at once built a wooden fortress on a motte. In , after another rebellion, the king built another timbered castle across the River Ouse. These were destroyed in and rebuilt by William about the time of his ravaging Northumbria in what is called the " Harrying of the North " where he destroyed everything from York to Durham.
The remains of the rebuilt castles, now in stone, are visible on either side of the River Ouse. The first stone minster church was badly damaged by fire in the uprising, and the Normans built a minster on a new site. Around the year , Archbishop Thomas started building the cathedral that in time became the current Minster. In , York Castle was the site of an infamous massacre of its Jewish inhabitants, in which at least Jews died although some authorities put the figure as high as The city, through its location on the River Ouse and its proximity to the Great North Road , became a major trading centre.
King John granted the city's first charter in ,  confirming trading rights in England and Europe. York became a major cloth manufacturing and trading centre. Edward I further stimulated the city's economy by using the city as a base for his war in Scotland. The city was the location of significant unrest during the so-called Peasants' Revolt in The city acquired an increasing degree of autonomy from central government including the privileges granted by a charter of Richard II in The city underwent a period of economic decline during Tudor times.
This led to the Pilgrimage of Grace , an uprising of northern Catholics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire opposed to religious reform. The city became a trading and service centre during this period. Guy Fawkes , who was born and educated in York, was a member of a group of Roman Catholic restorationists that planned the Gunpowder Plot. In , during the Civil War , the Parliamentarians besieged York , and many medieval houses outside the city walls were lost.
The barbican at Walmgate Bar was undermined and explosives laid, but, the plot was discovered. The siege was renewed; the city could not hold out for much longer, and surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax  on 15 July. Following the restoration of the monarchy in , and the removal of the garrison from York in , the city was dominated by the gentry and merchants, although the clergy were still important. Competition from Leeds and Hull , together with silting of the River Ouse, resulted in York losing its pre-eminent position as a trading centre but the city's role as the social and cultural centre for wealthy northerners was on the rise.
The railway promoter George Hudson was responsible for bringing the railway to York in Although Hudson's career as a railway entrepreneur ended in disgrace and bankruptcy, his promotion of York over Leeds, and of his own railway company the York and North Midland Railway , helped establish York as a major railway centre by the late 19th century. The introduction of the railways established engineering in the city.
The railway was instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree's Cocoa Works. It was founded in by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in by his brother the philanthropist Joseph. In , the city was bombed during the Second World War part of the Baedeker Blitz by the German Luftwaffe and 92 people were killed and hundreds injured. With the emergence of tourism, the historic core of York became one of the city's major assets, and in it was designated a conservation area.
York was a centre of early photography , as described by Hugh Murray in his book Photographs and Photographers of York: The Early Years, — Photographers who had studios in York included William Hayes , William Pumphrey , and Augustus Mahalski who operated on Davygate and Low Petergate in the 19th century, having come to England as a refugee after serving as a Polish lancer in the Austro-Hungarian war.
It is a unitary authority that operates on a leader and cabinet style of governance, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. It provides a full range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority. The city council consists of 47 councillors   representing 21 wards , with two or three per ward serving four-year terms.
Its headquarters are at the Guildhall and West Offices in the city centre. York is divided into 21 administrative wards: The members of the cabinet, led by the Council Leader , makes decisions on their portfolio areas individually. The Leader of the Council and the cabinet consisting of all the executive councillors are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the city council. York's first citizen and civic head is the Lord Mayor , who is the chairman of the City of York Council.
The appointment is made by the city council each year in May, at the same time appointing the Sheriff, the city's other civic head. The offices of Lord Mayor and Sheriff are purely ceremonial. The Lord Mayor carries out civic and ceremonial duties in addition to chairing full council meetings. York Youth Council consists of several young people who negotiate with the councillors to get better facilities for York's young people, and who also elect York's Member of Youth Parliament.
The Liberal Democrats had twelve councillors. York is the traditional county town of Yorkshire , and therefore did not form part of any of its three historic ridings , or divisions. Its Mayor has had the status of Lord Mayor since York is an ancient borough , and was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act to form a municipal borough. It gained the status of a county borough in , under the Local Government Act , and existed so until , when, under the Local Government Act , it became a non-metropolitan district in the county of North Yorkshire, whilst retaining its Lord Mayor, its Sheriff and Aldermen.
From to , the central part of the district was covered by the City of York constituency, while the remainder was split between the constituencies of Ryedale , Selby , and Vale of York. Following their review in of parliamentary representation in North Yorkshire , the Boundary Commission for England recommended the creation of two new seats for the City of York, in time for the general election in These are York Central , which covers the inner urban area, and is entirely surrounded by the York Outer constituency.
The whole of the city and local council area lies within the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency of the European Parliament. York is within the ceremonial territorial jurisdiction of the Dukedom of York which is presently held by Prince Andrew , the incumbent Duke of York. The city was built at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss on a terminal moraine left by the last Ice Age.
During Roman times, the land surrounding the rivers Ouse and Foss was marshy, making the site easy to defend. The city is prone to flooding from the River Ouse, and has an extensive and until mostly effective network of flood defences with walls along the river, and a liftable barrier across the River Foss where it joins the Ouse at the 'Blue Bridge'. In October and November , York experienced the worst flooding in years; more than homes were flooded.
The ings are flood meadows along the Ouse, while the strays are open common grassland in various locations around the city. York Minster , a large Gothic cathedral, dominates the city. York Castle , a complex of buildings ranging from the medieval Clifford's Tower to the 20th-century entrance to the York Castle Museum formerly a prison has had a chequered history. York's centre is enclosed by the city's medieval walls , which are a popular walk. They have the only walls set on high ramparts and they retain all their principal gateways.
This lake was later called the King's Fishpond, as the rights to fish belonged to the Crown. A feature of central York is the Snickelways , narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement and St Sampson 's Square. Most of these premises were once butchers' shops, and the hooks from which carcasses were hung and the shelves on which meat was laid out can still be seen outside some of them.
The street also contains the Shrine of Margaret Clitherow , although it is not located in the house where she lived. York is noted for its numerous churches and pubs. Most of the remaining churches in York are from the medieval period. York has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As with the rest of the Vale of York the city's climate is drier and warmer than the rest of the Yorkshire and Humberside region. Owing to its lowland location, York is prone to frosts, fog, and cold winds during winter, spring and very early summer.
As with much of the British Isles, the weather is changeable. York experiences most sunshine from May to July, an average of six hours per day. Extremes recorded at the University of York campus between and include a highest temperature of The most rainfall in one day was York is bounded by a green belt area, which more rigorously manages development around the rural area of the district and portions of surrounding districts,  primarily to preserve the setting and historic character of York.
The York urban area built-up area had a population of , at the time of the UK census ,  compared with , in York's population elderly population those 65 and over was
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York , officially the City of York , is a city and unitary authority area in North Yorkshire , England , with a population of , as of The city is known for its famous historical landmarks such as York Minster and the city walls , as well as a variety of cultural and sporting activities, which makes it a popular tourist destination in England.
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