The Expanding City

Gale Lane in Acomb Village 1933 - cottages that were soon to be demolished (c) CYC Imagine York

As York grew during the 20th century, outlying districts and villages were subsumed into the city.  The village of Acomb had fewer than 1,000 residents in the 1871 census; that figure rose to 7,500 when it was officially incorporated into the city of York in 1937.  Haxby grew from 711 in 1902 to 2,100 half a century later.

Areas like South Bank sprang up, providing homes for workers at the Terry’s factory.  Whole streets in South Bank and off Burton Stone Lane were constructed in a few years to cope with demand.  The junction of Haxby Road, Wigginton Road and Lowther street was wide open until terraces grew up around it in the first two decades of the century.

Working life

The two great industries, confectionery and the railways, dominated for much of the century.  In 1911, around 3,700 were employed in the confectionery industry but that figure rose to more than 12,200 by 1940.  That was 30 per cent of the working population – and more than half the jobs were held by women.  The railways employed 13 per cent.  British Sugar built a factory on Boroughbridge Road which operated from 1927 for 80 years.

As the century progressed more service industry and government jobs came to York which cushioned it from the worst of the inter-war slump.  In the Depression there were half as many unemployed than the national average.  Throughout the 1900s, small businesses provided York’s economic backbone.

Towards the end of the century the new university provided employment and brought a whole new population to the outskirts of the growing city.

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