Quick Fact Rowntree A-Z

Irish immigration in York

Victims of the potato famine fled to escape starvation in their homeland. In the 1840s York’s population of Irish increased from 500 to 2000, coming as they did on the direct railway lines across the Pennines from Liverpool.  Most lived in the poorer crowded areas around Walmgate, Bedern and Minster Yard.

With the differences in religion, customs and their sometimes violent ways, this brought challenges to the authorities in York who fought to keep York free from disease and contagion as the central city population increased. Seebohm Rowntree describes Irish women smoking their clay pipes in these streets in his study of Poverty at the turn of the century.

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