A Brief History of Upper Price Street

The area where Upper Price Street now stands was largely developed in the late 19th century, however a good start point for this brief history is the Tithe map of the parish of St Mary Bishophill Senior, York which was produced in 1843 based on a survey taken in 1824. (Click on the images to enlarge).

2012_08240019The area that contains what was to become Upper Price Street, Gray Street and Scarcroft View is number 16 on the map which was known as Scarcroft. The Tithe apportionment shows it was owned by Thomas Perrott esquire and occupied by Joseph Shilletto and it was grassland. Joseph Shilleto (1801 – 1855) was a butcher; the 1851 Census shows him living at 104 Micklegate and tells us he employed 2 men, so it is likely that the land was used for grazing cattle. Joseph married Esther (or Hester) Barnes (1803 – 1857) in York on 5 Jan 1846, I don’t think they had any children.

Thomas Perrott owned most of the land shown on the tithe map and had inherited it from his uncle George. The land had originally been owned by George’s ancestor George Perrott (1710 – 1780) who was a Baron of The Exchequer and second son of Thomas Perrot, prebendary of Ripon and rector of Welbury in the North Riding of Yorkshire, and of St. Martin-in-Micklegate in the city of York.

But it should be remembered that the tithe map was based on a survey carried out in 1824, what happened in the years before the tithe map was produced and in the 12 years following the Tithe apportionment of 1843 is somewhat complex and I’m still not sure I fully understand it!

In 1816 the land was used as a marriage settlement for Thomas Perrot’s niece (by his sister Mary and James Bousquet) Mary Jane Bousquet on her marriage to the Hon. and Rev. Thomas Lawrence Dundas (the 5th son of the Rt Hon Thomas Lord Dundas). The land was put in trust and reverted back to the Perrot family on Mary Jane’s death, so it and the income from it, was always hers and not her husbands. Mary Jane Bousquet’s father James pre-deceased her in 1819, so on her death in 1827 the land passed to the Trustees who were initially Robert Chaloner and Carew Elers. Carew Elers had actually died in 1821 so Robert Chaloner became sole trustee of the land.

Robert Chaloner died in 1842 and made his son, also Robert, executor of his will so he became trustee of the land. At this time there were still a number of people with an interest in the land; Thomas Perrott was still alive, as was his wife Anne, as was the Hon. and Rev. Thomas Lawrence Dundas and also Mary Bousquet (Thomas’s sister and Mary Jane’s mother).

The next to pass away was the Hon. and Rev. Thomas Lawrence Dundas in 1848 and as he didn’t own the land it didn’t pass to his heirs. He was followed by Thomas Perrott who died in 1850, he left no issue (i.e. no children) so he had no heirs to pass it to. Mary Bousquet died in 1854 leaving just Anne Perrot from the owning family with an interest in the land.

This section of the 1849 Ordnance Survey map of York shows the area as it was at that time:

Section of 1849 Ordnance Survey map of York

Section of 1849 Ordnance Survey map of York

The only streets in the area other than the main thoroughfare were Dale Street, Swann Street, Dove Street and Union Street and all of these remain in some form today although Union Street has been renamed Cygnet Street. The footpaths that now cross Scarcroft Green and the allotments are clearly visible and the route of Scarcroft Road can also be seen.

Robert Chaloner (the son) died in July 1855 and in his will appointed William Thomas Spencer Wentworth Fitzwilliam, commonly called Viscount Milton, and Thomas Chaloner, Captain in the Royal Navy, and Frances Chaloner, (Robert Chaloner’s wife), to be joint Trustees and Executors thereof. Viscount Milton and Frances Chaloner almost immediately renounced Probate and disclaimed their interests in the will leaving Thomas Chaloner as sole trustee with the only other interested party being Anne Perrott who was now 67.

In October 1855 in an indenture which includes Thomas Chaloner and Anne Perrott, John Field and Robert Bruce Dundas are appointed Trustees in the place of Robert Chaloner (the elder) and Carew Elers and given the powers that they had on the original indenture of 1816.

In October 1856, John Field and Robert Bruce Dundas sell some of the land to James Meek, Joseph Spence and George Wilson for the sum of £5989 7s 4d. The land sold comprises “Great Mill Close, Scarcroft Close and York Field, together with part of another Close, called York Field”. Referring back to the Tithe map these areas appear to be the areas numbered 9, 14, 15 & 16. The sale was subject to the stipulation that the purchasers “should forthwith dedicate to the public a Road of 40ft wide, from the Bishopthorpe Road to Scarcroft” – this is now Scarcroft Road and can be seen on the Tithe map as a footpath.

At this point it is probably worth looking at another map of the area, this is a section of Abel Heywood & Sons Plan of York from sometime around the 1860’s:

A section of Abel Heywood & Sons Plan of York from sometime in the 1860's

Abel Heywood & Sons Plan of York from sometime in the 1860’s

From this it can be seen that another road has been put in place since 1849, running parallel to Dove Street and joining up with Union Street. Although not named on the map, this is Price Street and at the end of it can be seen the beginnings of what is now Nunthorpe Road. Scarcroft Road has yet to be built and there has been little other development.

In 1862 James Meek dies and leaves his interest in the land to his son James Meek (the younger). In 1863 George Wilson buys out the interests of James Meek (the Younger) and Joseph Spence for £2973 12s 0d each and then conveys all of the land “as remained unsold and free from incumbrances” to George Leeman. I’m uncertain how much of the land this is but it seems that George Wilson also still had use of the land. (I’m going to have to get this part of the Abstract of Title looked at by someone who understands the 19th century legalise!)

And so we reach about 1870 and although the initial sale of the land in 1856 included a covenant to build what would become Scarcroft road, it would seem from the following map, dated 1872, that this had still not happened.


York map with date 1872 (source not known)

Unfortunately I photographed this map at York Reference Library some time ago and cannot now find my notes as to which map it was, although I have written on the back of the printed copy “1872”. A word of caution with map dates; like the Tithe map of 1843 (which was based on a survey done in 1824) most maps take quite a long time to produce and the dates on them tend to refer to when they were produced rather than the date any associated survey was done.

In the map above it can be seen that some further streets have appeared to the East of Price Street (these are Victoria Street, Drake Street, Spencer Street and Clement Street), also Nunthorpe Road now joins with Bishopthorpe Road. Price Street has been extended to the South West and runs to Nunthorpe Court (which became Nunthorpe School and more recently Millthorpe School). Nunthorpe Court was built in 1856 so it is reasonable to assume that the Price Street was extended around this time, yet it doesn’t appear on Abel Heywood’s map from the 1860’s.

It seems that the land purchased in 1856 hadn’t been developed a great deal by the 1870’s, of course there were roads, sewers, drains and utilities to put in but even so very little had been built on the land. The picture below is of St Clement’s Church when it was newly built in 1874 and it does seem quite isolated!

St Clement's Church, York circa 1874

St Clement’s Church, York circa 1874

York in the latter half of the 19th Century was a rapidly changing place and the main reason for this was the coming of the Railway. The York & North Midland Railway opened in May 1839 but the permanent station was not started until 1840 being opened in 1841. This station was inside the city walls and is now the location for the recently opened palatial offices of York Council. It was a terminus with no through traffic, the York to London service (via Derby) departed at 7.30 am and arrived at London Euston at 6.45 pm. As the railway expanded Northwards the original station became unsuitable as trains going North of York had to reverse out of the station before continuing their journey. A new station (built in its current location) was therefore proposed and an act obtained in 1866, building began in the mid 1870’s and the station opened in June 1877.

The expansion of the railways brought many people to York putting a strain on the available housing stock and it seems that many areas of York were built up in this period, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to suggest that nearly all the areas of small terraced houses in the City were built to accommodate the rapidly increasing workforce.

In the Scarcroft Road area it seems that small plots of land from the original purchase of 1856 were sold off to speculators who in turn sold on individual plots to builders. As far as Upper Price Street is concerned I know the dates when four of the houses were built at the moment (Oct 2013). Numbers 2, 4 & 6 were built in 1880 by Edward Hetherington who purchased the plot for the 3 houses from Edwin Gray and John Edmund Jones for £240.00, these two having bought the land as part of 2 large plots from George Wilson (Edward also needed a small strip of land belonging to a Henry Pattinson in order to square the plot up). Number 24 was built in early 1881 according to the Land Registry title.

The map below is from 1881 produced by The British Association and it can be seen that the road network now looks much more similar to that seen today.

York Map 1881 British Association

York Map 1881 (British Association)

Scarcroft Road is now shown and interestingly Upper Price Street is shown as Windsor Terrace. It seems when the houses in the street were being built each section was given a different name. What are now the odd numbers of Upper Price Street were initially numbered 1 to 6 Upper Price Street; what are now the even numbers 2 to 10 were initially 1 to 5 Osborne Terrace and the remaining even numbers were once 1 to 7 Windsor Terrace. The image below shows a page from the 1884 street directory of York where these names are used and the area clearly described:

1884 York Street Directory

1884 York Street Directory

There are some familiar names from the 1911 census which also helps identify which house was which; Robert Medd is shown at 2 Upper Price Street and we know this to be now 5 Upper Price Street so it looks like what is now number 1 Upper Price Street (John Kettlewell’s butcher’s shop) was built sometime later. George Avison is shown at number 5 (which would now be number 11) but we know he was killed in the Zeppelin raid of 1916 in number 13 – did he move next door? Henry Pattison at number 1 Windsor Terrace may well be the Henry Pattinson that Edward Hetherton had to buy the small strip of land from to square up his plot prior to building what were initially 1, 2 & 3 Osborne Terrace (now 2, 4 & 6 Upper Price Street).

Without seeing more deeds from other houses it is only a guess as to the order the houses in the street were built, my current feeling is that what is now the odd numbers of Upper Price Street (excluding what is now number 1) went up first, followed by Osborne Terrace and then Windsor Terrace. But even within these terraces the houses were not all built at the same time, a walk down the street looking at which houses are tied in to the next illustrates that the whole street was built in ones, twos and threes. And given the dates I know (for 2, 4 & 6 and 24) it would appear the were built over a period from 1880 to 1881. The 1881 census shows at least 6 empty buildings in Upper Price Street and Windsor Terrace (it doesn’t differentiate between Upper Price Street and Osborne Terrace) and 4 in Gray Street suggesting that they were both still being built.

In 2012 I went to a talk given by Mark Service, who had undertaken a study of what is sometimes called The Scarcroft Estate, this formed by the streets on the south side of Scarcroft Road (Nunmill Street, Scott Street, Russell Street, Thorpe Street and Millfield Road). From his notes the building of that estate was started in 1881 and went on well into the early 20th century. So the area around Scarcroft Road seems to have been a large building site for around 30 years! It would be great to find some pictures of the area from that time showing the building work.


  1. Fascinating article. We are presently purchasing a house on Nunthorpe road and I would love to do some searches on what this looked like and more about the house. Any tips? Best places to start?

    • Hi Claire,
      If you have a mortgage, ask your mortgage company for your deeds. They don’t need to hold them as all properties that have changed hands since the 70’s are registered with the Land Registry.
      If you get your deeds, please let me know!

  2. Barbara Andrew (nee Clark) says

    I was born in 19, Millfield Road in November 1939. My father worked in the LNER carriage wagon works. I think He rented the house ?from LNER? I went to school at Knavesmire CP School. My sister was born in Nunthorpe Nursing Home in 1943. Our daily walk with pram was to watch the shunting engines running on lines which is now a road!

  3. Janet Bailey says

    Hi Claire very interested regarding dale street as my partner has traced a relative there who worked on the railway.

  4. Sheila Marshall says

    I found out yesterday that my maternal grandfather Arnold Richardson was born at 7 Upper Price Street on the 23rd April 1896. What an interesting read your article is! Particularly the photograph you include of the 1884 York Street Directory which clearly shows a Mrs Richardson as living at number 5 Osborne Terrace. Would love to know more.

  5. Malcolm Stockill says

    I was researching my ancestry tree and found several entries within York. The first was St Mary Bishophill Junior but I discovered that my great grandparents had lived at “Thirteen and a half Dove Street.”
    It appears that there were at least 10 people living at this address in 1891

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