LIVE: Memories of Coney Street, York 3

LIVE: Memories of Coney Street, York

When: Wednesday 14th September 2022, 11:30am – 1:00pm

Where: Acomb Explore Library, Front St, Acomb, York, England

Coney Street is one of the main shopping thoroughfares in the North Yorkshire city of York. Approximately 224 metres long, it runs north-west from the junction of Spurriergate and Market Street to St Helen’s Square. It can be first found on records as early as the year 1213 when it then went by the name of Cuningstreta, from the Viking words Konungra, meaning king, and straet (street).

StreetLife –  an exciting project funded by the UK Government Community Renewal Fund –  “aims to bring the history of Coney Street to the fore and give the iconic thoroughfare a new and vibrant post-pandemic future. The University of York-led project will create apprenticeships and a number of job opportunities across the heritage and creative sectors and revitalise empty shops.”

The project is led by Professor Rachel Cowgill, Professor of Music at the University of York, and one of the many innovative events, activities, and experiences presented by the project was held today in Acomb Explore Library, located just over two miles from York city centre.

Rachel Cowgill, Lucy Barker, Sonia Sandhu

This informal drop-in session took place in collaboration with the Bradford-based artists Lucy Barker and Sonia Sandhu alongside the Halifax musician Andy Abbott.

Including some wonderful animations of Coney Street, created by Lucy Barker from archive images, and an accompanying live soundtrack from Andy Abbott – on an eight-string baritone guitar, Mbira (a thumb piano from Zimbabwe), and assorted percussion – the session set out to “reflect, share, and create a street for our shared future.”

The relaxed setting enabled visitors to the library to share with the organisers their memories of Coney Street, what they miss – be it the old Picture House cinema which closed its doors in 1955 or the Woolworth’s store which then took its place on that site, only to shut in 2008 – what they would bring back, and their visions for the way forward for this most historic of streets.

It was an extremely warm, welcoming and informative event, enhanced by the textured ambience of Andy Abbott’s music, and will be repeated again on the other side of the city at Tang Hall Explore Library on the 21st of September 2022 between 12.30 and 2.00pm.

Andy Abbott

All photos: Simon Godley

More photos can be found at Memories of Coney Street

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.