Ginnel culture


Some tourist cities can keep their dignity and their secrets and not vanish into backdrops for mandatory photocalls – or become imperfect versions of the made in china replicas on sale at the the gew gaw shops.  Having as much history as possible helps in order to disrupt and overwhelm.  Rome’s good at that – Paris not so good. York hovers just about on the right side of the divide.

Or maybe its me and the rising sense of panic that being surrounded by the slack jawed tripper induces.

One way to deliberately disorientate, to intermittently shake-off the set menus of shopping streets and tourist channels,  is to follow Mark W Jone’s Snickelways of York. Three and a half miles with numerous loops and doublebacks – all with a quarter of a mile of the Shambles. Tuning in and out but never re-tracing your steps in a walk that connects 47 ginnels (the Yorkshire word I’m familiar with) or snickelways (as the author prefers). Both being narrow pedestrian passageways. 

Beats the tourist boat trips everytime.

More meanderings in the ginnels of York’s history can be found here

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