Walmgate was originally known as Walbergate and it is one of the oldest streets in York.
There were once six churches on Walmgate, two of which still survive, St. Denys and St. Margaret, and four which have have since disappeared, St. Mary, St. George (which was merged with St. Denys in 1547), St. Edward the Martyr and St. Peter le Willow. Walmgate Bar is also situated at the end of the street.
St. George’s Catholic Church was built on the street in 1848, and was designed by Joseph Aloysius Hansom who had designed numerous other catholic cathedrals. A girls’ school was added to the church site in 1852. Hansom was also known for designing the Hansom cab, and he used to live in Micklegate in the city.
The cattle market was built at Walmgate in 1826 and it remained here until 1971, and it was later demolished in 1976. There also used to be a large number of pubs on the street, but today there are just three, the Spread Eagle, Five Lions and the Red Lion. The first landlord of the Spread Eagle was Mr Dalton in 1867, who was also a barber.
There are a number of buildings on the street of interest, number 45 has fourteenth century gables, number 77 is a fifteenth century building and numbers 76 to 86 were the offices of York & County Press. Some houses were though demolished in 1933 and 1955 as part of the slum clearance in the city. The secondary school built just after the Second World War was demolished in 1996 to make way for new housing.
Also situated at number 2 Walmgate was Dorothy Wilson’s Hospital which was built in 1812.
In June 1872 a number of the traders on the street joined together to place an advert in the local newspaper, The York Herald, to show the range of products which could be purchased there. These includes:
32 – Woollen Warehouse – manager was George Kay (noted they had best stock of cloth in the city)
52 – George Eastwood, retail manufacturer (noted he had planes, saws and tools available)
66 – L Hick, watch-maker and jewellers (noted he had gold watches and striking clocks)
76 – W Walker, Victoria Ironworks (noted he was a manufacturer of iron fencing and gates)
80 – T Cooper, chemist and druggist (noted he had medicines available for all farm animals)
83/85 – Henry King, merchant (noted he had teas, currants, raisins, bacon and hams)
88 – John Dixon, rag merchant (noted he was a dealer for bones, iron, horse hair, rabbit skins, etc)
90 – Isaac Poad, food retailer (noted he had fine Yorkshire hams and bacons)
92 – John Atkinson, wholesale and retail monumental sculptor (noted he had marble chimney pieces)
Hurst’s Yard was sited at number 90, which included the above and also:
Agar and Chadwick, manufacturers of artificial manure
102 – F. Leak, chemist (noted he sold the celebrated Leak’s cough mixture)
154 – Thomas Batty, chemist and druggist (noted he was a dealer in oils, paints and spices)
Five Lions Inn – Henry Schofield, inn-keeper (noted he had stabling for fifty horses)
Lord Nelson Inn – James Schofield, inn-keeper (noted he had stabling for forty horses)