Not for girls…

York is one of my favourite historical cities and yes, I am slightly biased having worked in the city for 5 years and lived in a nearby village for 10.

Residents of the UK will remember the politically incorrect strapline on adverts for chocolate Yorkie bars..suggesting that this bar in a very masculine blue wrapper was for macho male truck drivers.

There was then a limited edition pink wrapped bar..I can’t remember the strapline for that might have been ‘only for girls.’ not too much extra effort then for that one from the ad agency!

Things have thankfully moved on a bit since then, although York as a city (hence the product name) still does have a continued history of chocolate and confectionary making, albeit on a much smaller scale. At one time it boasted major production sites for two big names Rowntrees (now part of Nestle) makers of said Yorkie bars, polo mints, Kit Kats etc. and Terry’s (now part of Kraft) famous for the Chocolate orange and Terry’s All Gold.

York also has a great railway heritage having been one of the main train making cities from the steam era through diesel and then electric. It is home to the UK’s national railway museum home of the Flying Scotsman and literally hundreds of other exhibits. Somewhat amazingly this museum is free and is a magnet for rail enthusiasts and tourists alike.

My former employer in York was strongly engaged in the community and we would periodically visit primary schools to talk to children about the world of work and thoughts of future careers. Doing a Q and A with the class we were visiting I asked..’.so who has a Mum or Dad who works in the chocolate factory?’ ..response just one raised hand from a class of 30 . I tried again… who has a Mum or Dad that works on the railway?’ ‘ This time zero hands! A sign of the times. I am told Kit Kat production is at record levels from the York factory, but so is automation. Had I asked these questions in the 70’s or 80’s I would probably have covered the parental occupations of at least half the class. So what do people in York work at now…well the city has diversified with finance, and academia being two big employers. But the real big one is tourism.

Not only does York have it’s Minster (Cathedral), it’s Medieval streets and Roman walls now also has Harry Potter! Many of the movies were in part filmed here and that is drawing the crowds.

The Shambles one of York’s ancient narrow and twisted streets has at the last count four Harry Potter shops!

Diversification but perhaps not as anybody had planned it.

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