Innovative project launched to showcase Selby’s unique heritage

Code in a high street shop window

Selby’s history and heritage is being showcased in a brand-new project to highlight the stories and people behind the buildings in the town centre.

Selby’s town centre businesses are displaying new QR code stickers in their windows which unveil the history of their buildings through photographs and stories including the fire at Selby Abbey in 1906, a corset warehouse overlooking the Market Place and when the circus came to town at the beginning of the 20th century.

Other QR codes – which can be scanned on mobile phones – show crowds gathering for a visit by King Edward VII, Finkle Street in 1912 and the story of one building that evolved from Elizabethan House, to hotel, boot repairer and then a post office (twice).

There are also personal stories about dressmakers cycling to work in Selby from Temple Hirst, hijinks on Mischief Night and which buildings inspired a local builder following a visit to Bath.

Director of Economic Regeneration & Place for Selby District Council, Dave Caulfield explained: “There’s a wealth of history lurking behind many of our historic buildings. This project uses new technology to bring the stories to life and will help share these stories with a much wider audience.

“Many of these images have been shared with us by private collectors and local families and the stories of local families who lived and worked in those buildings were gathered last year through other High Street Heritage Action Zone projects.

“This heritage trail will encourage visitors to come to the town – which supports our local businesses - and let residents to see Selby in a new light.”

Jane Jackson, from Historic England, said: “This is a fun and engaging way to help people connect with the heritage on their doorstep, allowing them to step back in time and discover the people and stories behind the historic buildings. It’s a great example of the innovative way that the High Street Heritage Action Zones are helping to revitalize town centres, celebrating their rich history and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.”

Selby High Street Heritage Action Zone is a project part-funded by Historic England to increase vibrancy in the town centre through community engagement and building regeneration projects. More details are available here: Explore the photos on the trail here:

Further information

Selby High Street Heritage Action Zone

In 2019 Selby District Council was successful in an application to Historic England to create a High Street Heritage Action Zone in Selby town (Selby HSHAZ), centred around the Grade I Listed Selby Abbey.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zones is a £95 million government-funded programme led by Historic England, designed to secure lasting improvements and help breathe new life into our historic high streets for the communities and businesses that use them. Historic England is working with local people and partners to unlock the rich heritage on these high streets, through repair and improvement works as well as arts and cultural programmes, making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

About Historic England

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.