Day 9: York – York Minster Adventures

Guest post by Wendy White and Meaghan Wilson.

Outside York Minster Cathedral
Aerial view of York Minster

We began our morning with a tour of The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, more commonly referred to as York Minster.

Cathedral interior with ornate organ

While the volunteer tour guide was very knowledgeable, we learned more from her about the history of York and its prominent figures and less about the Cathedral itself. However, the excellent, information-filled displays scattered about the church allowed us to learn more on our own. The Cathedral was impressive in both size and grandeur and the vaulted ceilings and colorfully detailed organ were stunning. We also noticed that there was a great deal of restoration being done throughout the Cathedral in order to better ensure its longevity.

Staircase leading to the Undercroft
Early artifacts found under the Cathedral

One of the most unique aspects of York Minster is the Undercroft, an accredited museum beneath the Cathedral. In the 1960s, York Minster had been at risk of collapsing; the undercroft not only explains what had to be done in order to shore up the Cathedral, it also allows you to delve down into the layers of history beneath the Cathedral floor. The museum collection in the Undercroft provides a chronological snapshot of significant points in time starting from the early hundreds AD to more recent eras.

After touring the Cathedral, we had a couple of hours of free time for lunch. Ann and Wendy went to the Mason’s Arms pub on the Foss River, while Meaghan, Suzy, and Kelsey visited an outdoor market for falafels. Others wandered off for lunch and shopping. Following lunch, we all indulged in some shopping at the local stores.

Library and Archives sign
Library and Archives
Asking questions!

Once we all returned from our lunch break, we went to York Minster’s library and archive. Here, we were given a wonderfully informative presentation by Minnie, Kirsty, Steven, and Rebecca about the library and archive, its history, and its collections. To our delight, they actually let us touch the old books! The approach at York Minster has a strong focus on the users of the materials and much thought is given to engaging people and generating interest. The staff is actually analyzing use of their materials by users to determine the best and most useful method for reaching their audience. The staff was very knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions and really seemed to be very progressive in their approach to archiving.

We touched the old books!

Endeavoring to take advantage of our last night in York to enjoy the local fare, Wendy, Meaghan, Erin, and Tracy tried out a restaurant called the Slug and Lettuce, which had a great atmosphere and edible food. Meanwhile, Suzy and Kelsey dropped into a pub for dinner.

Ghost Tour guide sharing a chilling story- he made us all jump

In the evening, a few of us joined a walking Ghost Tour of York. While the stories the guide told weren’t the scariest, it was certainly interesting to hear some of the colorful local history and legends!

After a long day, we all returned to the hotel to pack, for tomorrow we travel to London!

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