Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Shambles, more popularly known as The Shambles.

It's apparently Europe's most visited street. It also has the claim to fame of being Europe's best preserved medieval street. I walked down it with a friend recently, who set it looked like a film set, but nope, it's the real thing!

The word Shambles is from Anglo-Saxon shammels meaning "little shelves/booths" and the word Flesshamels means literally "meat shelves." The Shambles was once the home of York's meat market, where meat was displayed by butchers on the wide wooden slabs at the bottom of the window frames.

These days it can be a bit hard to imagine that this was once a meat market. It would also have been - a bit of a shambles, frankly, as animals were slaughtered in the street, and all the waste - guts, offal and blood - was thrown down a runnel in the middle, hence the expression shambles, meaning a mess.

These days there are some very nice characterful little shops there - some of them touristy, but none the worse for that. Interestingly, there is another City Daily Photo blogger who has a connection with the Shambles. Who could it be, and what's the link? Tune in tomorrow to find out ;-)


Snapper said...

Hey Ruby, this is my first visit to your blog. Very nice. I would love to walk that street some day. Cheers from BC!

Wayne said...

I did my part to make it the Europe's most visited street. The claim sounds like tourist board mumbo jumbo. I suppose the Champs Elysées must be number two then.

Ruby said...

Hi Snapper - thanks for visiting :-)

Wayne, lol, yes Oxford Street also springs to mind. There should probably be a clause or two in there, like Europe's most visited street of this size, or outside a capital city (but how does anyone really know anway?). I'm also scratching my head over the best preserved medieval street, as there are places all over that could give the Shambles a run for its money (much as I love it)!!

marley said...

It looks like something out of a period drama! A really lovelt street.

Gail's Man said...

Looks a great little street. I wonder who the mystery blogger is?

Ruby said...

Hi Marley, it does indeed. I'd like to walk down it one day in period costume - maybe I will, in fact!!

Gailsman, I wonder indeed. You'll just have to wait and see :-D

B said...

I was in York overnight at the weekend. I tried to comment and say so on Friday night as the train got into York but I had to switch my laptop off and it didn't take :( I went in Shared Earth too after the photo you posted and spent over £20. I blame you, but in a good way, I think...! Had coffee and lunch in Starbucks diagonally opposite too and watched people walk past - people with mad hair, someone with a 'free hugs' sign that knew the person I was with, a group of old people who STARED at my cake... it was most amusing.

Ackworth Born said...

A long time since I visited the Shambles - it had a few good second-hand bookshops as I recall.

Joy said...

It does look like an interesting street, but how can it possibly beat other streets in London or Paris in terms of times visited? :D

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babooshka said...

Love this shot, love this street. Geat post today. I never knw tahat bout it being Europe's most visited street. As for the cdp mystery blogger... who?

GrandAnglais said...

Ah yes I know this street from my one visit to York back in 1992. I had a lovely bit of brie in one of the pubs there. I'd never been in a pub that had brie on the meu before - I was well impressed!

Ruby said...

B, really glad to hear you enjoyed York and that you got some goodies at the Shared Earth shop! I shall be doing very much the same as you next time i go back that way!!

I must post a pic of some of the free hugs people. We have quite a few here, quite regularly. Haven't managed to pluck up courage to have a free hug yet, lol.

Gerald, not sure if there are bookshops there now, but yes, there always used to be. Will have to go see. There are plenty in other places in York though.

Hi Joy, nice to see you over here!

Babooshka .. all has been revealed now about the mystery blogger!

Grandanglais, yes, brie is quite something in a pub - although we have the new phenomenon of gastro-pubs now so it's becoming more common.