Thursday, 23 February 2012
The Shambles, York
The Shambles in York is a famous old street right in the centre of the walled city. In 2010 it won the Google Street View award for 'the most picturesque street in Britain' and you can probably see why. It's also said to be 'the most visited street in Europe' - so it's usual to find it thronged with tourists. It is York's oldest street, mentioned in the Domesday Book (making it over 900 years old). The buildings you see date from the fifteenth century and are so crowded together that the overhanging first storeys almost look as though they're touching. The medieval word 'Shamel' meant a booth or a bench and the street was originally a row of butcher's shops and houses, with produce laid out on benches and hung on hooks outside. Meat was slaughtered there and the road has a central channel to catch the blood and offal. Nowadays the shops sell mostly gifts and trinkets to appeal to tourists.