03 May, 2008

York - ancient city

York is an ancient city with continuous government since maedieval times. One of the local companies is the merchant adventurers, who have owned and occupied their hall since the 14th century. They had a monopoly on imported foods, spices and cloth and used it to enforce their ways. The end of the monopoly came with a quakeress Mary Tuke who ran a grocery shop in the 18th century. Ms Tuke refused to stop selling imported foods and refused to pay a fine to the merchant adventurers. She eventually had to pay £10 but broke the monopoly. The family eventually ended up running Rowntrees and a Tuke was hereditary chairman of Barclays Bank so don't be too concerned about the welfare of the Tukes. Or that of the Merchant Adventurer's company who are still rich and influential today, although no longer trading. The middle picture shows the three decker pulpit in the Merchant adventurer's Chapel.
As a railway centre and former headquarters of the North Eastern Railway, York has the railway museum. I visited and sat in the driving seat in the cab of Mallard, the fastest steam railway engine. This was an experience as I could hardly see anything, although the attendant told me I would not be able to stop the train if anyone was on the tracks as the stopping distance was half a mile! Steam engines were fussy about the type of coal they liked, but perhaps more research would make this a viable source of power: One can burn anything to raise heat for steam.

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