The Castle Area and the Eye of Yorkshire: A Gathering of Ideas report and forthcoming events

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On 2nd June 2014 York Civic Trust, the North of England Civic Trust and the University of Leeds hosted an event exploring the Castle area and the Eye of Yorkshire as part of the ‘Living with History’/’How should decisions about heritage be made?’ research project. The full report, drawn up by facilitator Graham Bell (North of England Civic Trust), can be downloaded here YCE.GB.200914.Final ReportSept

In terms of our research design the aim of this event was to explore the potential for community-initiated discussions about planning. Before the event, we worked on the history of the site in various ways. Peter Brown (Director, York Civic Trust) presented research conducted for his Views of York book on the representation and histories of the area, we drew in research on the histories of radicalism, protest and imprisonment via Paul Furness’ radical history walks and other work gathered by York’s Alternative History and we also initiated facebook discussions to develop a crowd sourced an A-Z of the area.

Findings: Collaboration is key
The key finding of the event, outlined in detail in the report, was that a project brief was needed aimed at bringing together the three key partners (City of York Council, English Heritage and York Museums Trust) in a way that could fully address the physical improvement of the car park, the Eye of Yorkshire, the Foss and other public areas and ultimately co-ordinate management of this area. Such collaboration – with strategic and ongoing community involvement – was seen as the best foundation for doing justice to the complex and high significant histories of the site.

January events

Following the event we’ve been identifying various avenues for activating some of the ideas generated in June. One such avenue are two events in January 2015 linked to a wider project on understanding better the histories of Clifford’s Tower, organized by HistoryWorks and supported by English Heritage. Graham Bell, Peter Brown and Helen Graham will be sharing the key ideas from the Gathering of Ideas event on Sunday 25th January.

‘Understanding Clifford’s Tower’ on Sunday 25th January 2pm-6pm will be an afternoon of tours; talks to explore the site in it’s archaeological and architectural contexts within the York Castle buildings. The talks will address the significance of Clifford’s Tower to the development of York as a northern power base for Church and Crown from the Norman Conquest onwards, and the meaning for the Jewish communities and heritage communities in York past and present. This event will finish in time for participants who wish to walk over to the Clifford’s Tower steps to join the 6.15pm commemorative shared remembrance of the 1190 massacre with a candle-lit ceremony of readings and the Mourners Kaddish (Hebrew prayer) organized by the Holocaust Memorial Day Committee.

‘Understanding the 1190 Pogrom’ on Tuesday 27th January 2pm-5pm will introduce Clifford Tower’s history of death and burial, justice and protest designed to put the 1190 massacre of the Jewish community in the contexts of wider histories. This event will finish in time for participants to walk over to the Minster for the Commemorative Choral Evensong in the Quire at 5.15pm, to which all are invited, followed by the 6pm ‘Lighting of the 600 Candles’ in the Chapter House to commemorate the 6 million victims who died in the Holocaust.
Holocaust Memorial Day Programme.

Get involved
If you’d like to get involved in future discussions about the Castle / Eye of Yorkshire area, let me know on and I’ll add your to our mailing list.


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