Sunday, 1 February 2009

York's Snickelways

On the first day of the month, the City Daily Photo blogs participate in a theme day, and this month, it is "paths and passages." I couldn't possibly not participate.

York is celebrated for its passageways, and being an ancient city, it is full of them, some very old and winding, leading between the main streets of the town and providing handy short cuts for those in the know.

In York these passageways have a name all of their own: snickelways, a word coined by the author of the book picured above, bringing together the words snicket, ginnel and alleyway. It caught on very rapidly, and is now a word in current wide use here, whether people are familiar with the book or not!

There are so many snickelways in York, some of them spooky, some plain, some ancient, some modern, that I couldn't decide which one to photograph. In the end disorganisation made my choice as I only remembered to do it at the last minute when I was already waiting for my bus to go home. So the pictured snickelway below is the one next to my bus stop! I've never been down it so I don't know where it goes, but I do like its name: Black Horse Passage.



Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in the City Daily Photo Blogs Theme Day.

16 comments:

MartinC said...

"Snickleways" I like!

marley said...

Snickets and ginnels - makes me think of my gran! And now I know a new word for them!

JollyGreenP said...

Black Horse Passage runs down to the back of the telephone exchange where you can link up with another passageway that goes through to Fossgate, coming out by the Barbican Bookshop.

Slap on the wrist Ruby for spelling snickelways incorrectly. You have done like many do and transposed the e and l. See the book cover for the correct spelling.

Sally said...

Love that word: snickleways. A beauty.

York: home of snickleways and shambles!

Ruby said...

Marley, yes I think ginnel and snicket are both Yorkshire words, but they are ones I have always used widely - sometimes being surprised when people don't understand them!

JGP, aaargh, you're right! The worst thing is, last night while googling snickelways I came across the wikepidia entry which explains that mistake - but I did it anyway! Have corrected them all now, thank you!

I'll take a walk down Black Horse Passage next time I'm in town, I want to visit the Barbican bookshop!

Hyde DP said...

with a name like that i would expect it to lead to a pub of that name

Babooshka said...

Definitely not midlands words. Love the lone walker in view.

Katie said...

What an interesting post! Its no wonder I always get lost in York. Ill have to invest in a copy of this book and try to navigate my way around!

Jilly said...

What a great word! Love the photograph and the use of the poster as your main one. A very different take on today's theme. Like it so much.

Hilda said...

Goodness, I had to look up both snicket and ginnel — turns out they're used only in Northern England. I like both words though, and 'snickelways' is just wonderful! The book looks fantastic too — is it still in print?

Love your theme day post, Ruby!

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

great idea to educate all of us about snickleways. wow what a word but a great description and New York has lots of them.

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

I love the different bricks on the right hand wall and how some of them have discoloured. When I lived in Nottingham local folk used to call alleys Twitchells (not sure how you spell it). Isn't the diversity of Great Britain just wonderful. xxx

Mo said...

OMG I'll never get my head around all these strange words. What is a snicket and what is a ginnel. Can manage alleyway. Brilliant post.

JollyGreenP said...

Hyde DP thinks it should lead to a pub of that name, yes it would if it was still there. It used to be a notorious red light area but was cleared away and the telephone exchange built. Next to the exchange is the Hungate area which is about to be developed and is being dug by archaeologists. One of the most spectacular finds is a complete Roman vase. There is a website, search for Hungate Dig and you should find it.

lunarossa said...

I think York is unique, that's why I love it so much. I've lived here for quite a long time now but I still manage to find and learn something new! Hingate Dig is fab, I took my kids to visit it and they were totally fascinated. Even the 15-yrs old teenie! My daughter was hoping to find Roman coins...No luck, though. Ciao Ruby, keep warm! A.

Ken said...

Very interesting. Looks a place I'd wander down.