How Upper Price Street Came into Being

How Upper Price Street Came into Being

It’s taken me some time but I’ve finally finished a brief history of the Street showing how the area changed from being barley fields and grazing pasture in the 1840’s to the urban landscape of the 1880’s that we can still see today.

Most of the information comes from the deeds to my house which I received by chance from the building society after a change of mortgage provider. Unlike the Ridings of Yorkshire, York has never had a deeds registry, so it is difficult to find out who owned what and when unless you find someone with the deeds to their house. The initial Abstract of title gave me the history of the land itself and a bit of genealogy research told me about the people named on it, further deeds told me who built the house and who owned it.

Deeds for 4 Upper Price Street

Some of the Deeds for 4 Upper Price Street

Maps are very useful to see how an area changes. I started with the Tithe map of the parish which is kept in the Borthwick Institute, I also photographed some maps of the area over the period in question at York Reference Library. Taking the various maps in chronological order and allowing a bit of leeway for the time it takes to survey and then produce a map gives a fascinating picture of how the area grew over the latter part of the 19th century. At the time the same thing was happening in many parts of York as housing was built rapidly to accomodate the increasing influx of people who came mainly to work on the railway.

The Street was being built around the time of the 1881 census so this gives a good indication of who first lived in all the houses and street directories from near the time of the census indicate how the numbering of the street has changed from when it was first built. The mark one eyeball is also useful to discern which houses were built together and which separately.

I shall add to the history as I go along, I particularly want to look into what looks like property speculation on a grand scale by a number of people who at some point in their lives were Lord Mayor of York; James Meek the elder, James Meek the younger (3 times), George Wilson and George Leeman are all named on the deeds to my house together with a number of solicitors and members of the Gray family. Many were also involved with not just the running of the city but also the running of the railway. Perhaps I’m just suspicious but it would be an interesting subject to look into.

For now though it is just a distraction as I must continue with researching and writing up the occupants of the houses. Meanwhile the brief history is here.

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