20th Century

Industrial Upheaval

The former Adams Hydraulics site in 1991 (c) CYC Imagine York

Although not a major manufacturing city, even York was hit by the industrial unrest and turmoil of the 1970s and 80s.  Rowntree Mackintosh, Terry’s, Adams Hydraulics and Armstrong Patents were among the firms hit by strikes.

York Power Station on Foss Islands Road was picketed by striking miners in 1974, and power blackouts were briefly a fact of life.  The Army’s ‘green goddess’ fire engines were seen on the streets when firefighters walked out in a 1977 pay dispute.

Hundreds of jobs were lost in manufacturing as a result of economic conditions, improving technology and globalisation.  Between its takeover of Rowntree in 1988 and 1994, Nestlé cut 2,000 jobs at the Haxby Road factory.  Terry’s closed in 2005.  In 1992 Sheppee Engineering closed, and the long fight to save the York carriageworks, by then owned by Swiss group ABB, ended in failure in 1996 with the loss of 750 jobs.  US rail manufacturer Thrall moved on the site in 1997, but closed in 2002.

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