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York Minster Fire

Sue MacGregor reunites those who saved York Minster from the devastating fire of 1984.
Sue MacGregor reunites those who battled to save York Minster and its contents when fire broke out in 1984.

In April 2019, the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris made world headlines but, in July 1984, a similar fate befell York Minster, one of Britain’s best loved Gothic cathedrals.  It was in the early hours of the morning on July 9th that fire broke out, destroying the roof of the South Transep, and causing extensive damage to the magnificent medieval Rose Window.  

York Minster was one of Britain’s best loved and most visited Cathedrals, and an active place of worship under Archbishop John Habgood and the Dean, Ronald Jasper. Three days before the fire, senior clergy were assembled in the Minster for the ordination of the new Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins. But the new Bishop held somewhat non-traditional theological views and his observations were too controversial for many in the Church of England to stomach. The belief that the York Minster fire was some sort of sign of discontent from God about his appointment found an outlet on the letters page of The Times. “‘Just lightening,’ says the Bishop dismissively. To those as old-fashioned as I, lightening is the wrath of God,” wrote one correspondent.

In the event, York Minster was restored within four years, re-opening a year ahead of schedule. The BBC children’s show Blue Peter ran a competition to design six new bosses in part of the restored roof, and the young winners got to meet the Queen when she re-dedicated the Minster in 1988.  

Joining Sue in York Minster’s Consistory Court to reflect on the fire and its aftermath are former Canon Chancellor John Toy; Alan Stow, retired divisional fire commander; Bishop David Wilbourne, a chaplain in York at the time; master mason John David; and lead joiner Geoff Brayshaw.

Producer: Howard Shannon
Series Producer: David Prest 
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Watch: Boaters in York stranded after sudden river rise

People on board narrow boats in the centre of York have been left stranded after a sudden rise in the level of the River Ouse.

Boat moorings became submerged by rising water levels overnight and boats were pushed out into the river.

Ronnie, one of the boaters affected, says there was a risk some of the craft could have sunk:

Emergency roadworks to cause four days of delays

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Emergency roadworks starting on a busy city centre route in York on Tuesday will inevitably cause disruption, the council has warned.

Blossom Street

Yorkshire Water needs to carry out urgent repairs at the junction of Blossom Street and Holgate Road.

Delays are expected in the area, stretching back down Tadcaster Road and Holgate Road.

The organisation says the sewer work will take four days to complete and, although there will be no road closure, four-way temporary traffic lights will be in place and will be staffed from 07:00 to 19:00 each day.

Shops and cafes in the area will remain open.

What the Heck: Is 'sausage and mash' kit in bad taste?

A North Yorkshire football club says its players have been banned by the Football Association (FA) from wearing their "sausage and mash" kit until a decision's made over whether it conforms to FA rules.

Sausage kit
Bedale AFC

Bedale AFC play in the North Riding Football League and is sponsored by local sausage manufacturer, Heck.

The club's away strip features sausages, mashed potato and peas and the "Supporting Prostate Cancer" logo.

Club chairman Martyn Coombs said: "We study the FA guidelines very carefully to ensure we are within the law.

"We know the kit does not show anything distasteful, threatening, abusive, indecent, insulting, or discriminatory.

"The whole point of the kit has always been to raise awareness for prostate cancer and to raise money for this wonderful charity," he added.

The club says the sausage kit is only worn when there is a colour clash with the home team, so is used very infrequently.

The FA has been contacted for comment.