Nessgate takes its name from “the street which leads to the ness”, also known as a headland. The road was widened in 1767 causing a property from the early sixteenth century to be demolished and two further houses were demolished to build the Coach and Horses public house in 1891.

The road is quite short, and there is one building of particular note, which is now part of Waterstone’s. Number 1 Nessgate was built for The Yorkshire Agricultural and Commercial Bank in 1839, designed like many other buildings in York by JB and W Atkinson. The bank didn’t last long, closed in 1842 due to some poor financial decisions, but the building remained as a bank, for a long period as the Midland Bank. After its closure it was turned into part of the current Waterstone’s, but the exterior is well maintained.

Some businesses trading from Nessgate in 1834 included:

No. 2, Thomas Dickons – tailors
No. 2, William Wall – gunsmiths
No. 3, Star and Garter public house, run by Robert Wood
No. 3, William Slade Walker – bakers
No. 5, Joseph Allan – basket makers
No. 5, Charles Seller – wine and spirit merchants
No. 7, Christopher Darbyshire – grocers and tea dealers
No. 8, Henry Blanchard – tailors
No. 8, John Middleton – toy makers and trunk makers
No. 10, William Bardsall – whitesmiths
No. 16, John Scadlock – whip-makers
No. 23, Mary Varley – wire-worker
No. 26, George Cressey – wine and spirit merchants
Ellis’s Hotel, run by Susanna Ellis, also a licensed inn