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‘Changing Places’ – Geography Field Trip


On Wednesday this week, College 1 pupils visited a local rural area in a comparative study. The aim of the field trip was to analyse the developmental changes and overall characteristics of a place close to school, in comparison to somewhere further afield.  

An integral part of the ‘Changing Places’ topic studied in A level Geography is the study of two places, one local and one contrasting. The area of focus for the College 1 students was that around Bishopthorpe Road, a bustling area of the city that has undergone major development in recent years and is fast becoming a core neighbourhood of interest amongst young professionals.  

This area has undergone vast socio-economic change; the economic decline and subsequent regeneration of the Terry’s chocolate factory site.  

Bishopthorpe Road, affectionately known as ‘Bishy Rd’ to locals, has been subject to the process gentrification. The Knavesmire, a former ‘glacial lake’ is now a flat area of land for horses, runners and walkers enjoying some outdoor exercise, and others walking their dogs.  

The fieldwork focus was the collection of qualitative data including questionnaires, and quantitative data, for example a footfall survey to help understand the character of the place and to help develop a true ‘sense of place’.  

The development of Bishopthorpe area is commemorated by various sculptures and information signs, including a giant Terry’s Chocolate Orange in the ‘Chocolate Works’ housing development. On the corner of Bishopthorpe Road and Scarcroft Road, Conversation Piece was constructed by Ailsa Magnus, who was commissioned to create a sculpture representing the past, present and future of the community in the area. The sculpture depicts three figures, a woman, a man, and a child, one of which is also holding a chocolate orange.  

To read more about the history behind ‘Conversation Piece’ and other news and developments in the area, visit the York Stories website  


College 1 pupils feedback their thoughts on the development of the Bishopthorpe Road area and the ‘Changing Places’ topic: 

“It surprised me how much history shapes the places we live in today” – Rosie 

“People in York are really friendly” – Romilly 

“Positionality (age, gender, and socio-economic status) is really important in determining differing viewpoints” – Kveta  

“It surprised me how place names are connected to the past. ‘Nunmill Street’ is named after the nunnery in Clementhorpe and the windmill that stood at the corner of Southlands Road and Bishopthorpe Road.” – Isabel 

I found it really interesting how what we have been learning in class is brought to life” – Katie  

“It put the theory into practice” – Louisa 

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