Opened in 1881, Clifford Street has some of York's most impressive late-Victorian buildings, like the (Former) York Institute of Art, Science and Literature and the Magistrates' Court. But narrow older lanes like Friargate, originally headed for the River Ouse, left some unusually narrow strips of land for development. Hence this tall, thin building facing Clifford Street: the Prezzo restaurant here is at 1-3 Clifford Street. It borders a narrow passageway northward on the right, leading to Castlegate, and the early eighteenth century Blue Boar inn.

The adjacent block, similarly constrained, but with a return along the lane to Castlegate on the right, now houses a Futon Company and other stores. The Futon Company store's address is 11-13 Clifford Street. These buildings are not listed, but interesting in their own right. Similar ones can be seen in other cities, as the Victorians made use of all available space — for example, beside railway lines.

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Photographs by Rita Wood and text by Wood and Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web project or cite it in a print one. Click on them to enlarge them.


Pevsner, Nikolaus, and David Neave. Yorkshire: York and the East Riding. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Created 17 April 2020