New Heritage Shell Guide to the East Riding and York published
Monday, 31st October 2022
A new book on East Yorkshire and York, written by Susan and David Neave, was launched at Sledmere House on 5 October. Published by the Heritage Shell Guide Trust, inspiration is drawn from the County Guides series established by John Betjeman in the 1930s, which was sponsored by Shell. The series ended in 1984, before any volumes on Yorkshire had been published. The Trust has been established to publish new guides (no longer sponsored by Shell!), filling gaps in the original series.
York is known throughout the kingdom, and has its fair share of space in the book. East Yorkshire is altogether more shadowy. Mention Yorkshire, especially to a southerner, and for some the name still seems to conjour up images of coal mines and dark satanic mills, both firmly a thing of the past, or of the landscape portrayed on television as James Herriot or Heartbeat country - the remote Dales and heather-clad moors. People might have heard of Hull and Bridlington, and perhaps even visited Beverley Minster, and many will have seen David Hockney's vibrant paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds in galleries around the world, but East Yorkshire has always been the least well-known part of England's largest county. J.B. Priestley described the East Riding as 'somewhere in the remote east where England is nearly turned into Holland or Denmark'.
This book is not an architectural guide but rather an illustrated journey around the 'island' of East Yorkshire, an area that is more or less surrounded on three sides by water. To fit with what has already been published the boundary is that of the East Riding unitary authority, which stretches roughly from Bempton with its bird sanctuary in the north-east to Goole and Snaith in the south-west, and from Stamford Bridge, scene of a famous pre-Hastings battle, in the north-west, to fascinating Spurn Point, Yorkshire's own 'Land's End', in the south-east. The landscape is one of great contrasts, ranging from the dramatic chalk headland at Flamborough backed by the Wolds to the windswept marshlands of the wide Humber estuary and river Ouse.
All the towns and most of the villages in this area have an entry in this book. Separate sections are devoted to Hull, with its Old Town and splendid museums and galleries, and of course York, which needs no introduction. For both cities, and for Beverley, much of the text is arranged as walks, and there are plenty of maps. The twenty or so villages now within the York boundary are also included in this volume. The 250 illustrations, the majority in colour, include three images by David Hockney (including his splendid painting of Sledmere village, which is on the cover) and a collage created especially for the book by York artist Mark Hearld. The book, which would make an ideal Christmas present for anyone interested in learning more about the region, is available from the Beverley Bookshop and Waterstones in Hull and York.
East Yorkshire and York by Susan and David Neave
(Heritage Shell Guide Trust, London, 2022)