About York


York is a historic and beautiful city, believed to date back from Roman times. York is the county town of Yorkshire and and is considered by m any to be the North of England's key city.

York Minster, York's spectacular cathedral dominates the city's skyline. The minster is said to have been originally founded on the site of a primitive and temporary church or oratory by Paulinus, afterwards the first archbishop of the see, as early as the year 627.

From it's Roman beginnings York has seen occupation by both Viking and Norman invaders: the former finally being expelled in the 10th century by the Anglo-Saxons; the latter causing extensive death and destruction in it's suppression of a local revolt, as well as building defensive fortifications along the river Ouse.

By the turn of the 13th century York, as the county's administrative hub, had become an important centre for trade and the revenue that this brought helped the city flourish. Towards the end of the medieval period the city's best known architectural sight - York Minster - was built, the largest cathedral of it's type in the country and one of Europe's most imposing Gothic churches. As with many historic towns, York has more than it's share of spooky stories and the intrepid visitor can find out more on a local 'Ghost Walk'.

Traditionally York has been famous for its chocolate production though in recent decades this has gone into decline. However, with industry stalwarts such as Terry's and the controversial Nestle / Rowntree in town, it is hardly surprising York became known for it's chocolate factories - such favourites as Smarties, Kitkat and of course, the Yorkie bar are all made in the city. Rowntree was set up originally by two Quakers, Benjamin Seebohm and Joseph Rowntree, and their philanthropic attitude backed by considerable finances did much to improve the lives of their employees and the city. Terry's has unfortunately decided recently to close it's York factory, so Nestle / Rowntree is now alone.

In recent years Nestle has become the most boycotted company in Britain due to Baby Milk Action campaign which targets Nestle for contributing to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world by aggressively marketing baby foods in breach of international marketing standards [Read more about the Nestle Boycott here].

During the industrial revolution York benefited significantly from railway building and related industries. The railway carriage works which once employed some 22000 people are now closed, and much of the chocolate manufacturing industry that once employed thousands has moved elsewhere, largely due to globalisation as corporations seek to move operations to cheaper locations.

Since the 1950s, York's economy has seen benefited mainly from tourism, science and service-based industries. Modern York is much more service oriented and major employers now include City of York Council, Norwich Union and Card Protection Plan.