Navigation Road

Navigation Road is a road which links Walmgate to the mid section of Foss Islands Road, also reaching the River Foss at what was St. Margaret’s Landing.

The road was once known as Bretgate, meaning ‘the street of the British’, and the Royal Commission on Historic Monuments notes that in 1251 it was known as Little Bretgate to distinguish it from Jubbergate and Market Street which had similar names.

Until the early nineteenth century the road was a small lane through open ground until in 1829 a linen factory was built at the northern end, along with houses along a new road called Caroline Place. In around 1850 the name of the road was changed to Navigation Road.

Several rows of terrace houses were built off Navigation Road in the nineteenth century, Constitution Place, Providence Place, Rosemary Place, St. Margaret’s Terrace, School Lane and Speculation Street, all leading from the east side and backing onto the city walls. These were demolished as part of slum clearance in the mid twentieth century to be replaced by council housing, although the St. Margaret’s Terrace road remains.

In 2007 a new accommodation scheme to house 272 students from York University was completed, built on the site of the old Pullman bus depot.

Some of the residents on Navigation Road in 1891 include:

7, Navigation Road:

John Myers, aged 78, head of the household, now retired but worked as a labourer
Martin Myers, aged 32, son of John Myers, worked as a bricklayer’s labourer
Emma Morgan, aged 32, niece of John Myers, worked as a domestic servant
Bridget Morgan, aged 32, niece of John Myers, worked as a domestic servant

9, Navigation Road:

Joseph Edwards, aged 71, head of the household, now retired but worked as a tailor
Martha Edwards, aged 50, wife of Joseph Edwards
Joseph William Edwards, aged 20, son of Joseph and Martha Edwards, worked as a general labourer
John Edwards, aged 14, son of Joseph and Martha Edwards, worked as a confectioner
Robert B Edwards, aged 8, son of Joseph and Martha Edwards, still a scholar

11, Navigation Road:

John Relton, aged 34, head of the household, worked as a general labourer
Alice Relton, aged 36, wife of John Relton
John Relton, aged 5, son of John and Alice Relton, still a scholar

13, Navigation Road:

Alfred Leonard, aged 45, head of the household, worked as a glass-blower
Sarah Leonard, aged 50, wife of Alfred Leonard
John H Lothy, aged 18, son of Alfred and Sarah Leonard, worked as a general labourer