My ’22 Top Ten – 5. Streetlife

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In June, the University of York launched the Streetlife project, turning the former Dorothy Perkins store on Coney Street into a space celebrating creatively the street’s history, heritage, and future.

Via our York’s Hidden History walks (especially the York Earth Walk), I was asked if I could help people uncover the deep time stories of Coney Street, beginning during the York Festival of Ideas.

My Strata/Life walk was fairly geological, and pitched at an older audience. My Streetlife Family Fossil Hunt was self-explanatory. Both, however, required that participants gathered information during the walk, to be brought back to the Streetlife Hub. There, thanks to huge reams of printers’ paper, we could draw out timelines of Coney Street’s geological and palaeontological history.

In practice, however, only the family fossil timeline got fleshed out. The children were much keener to draw their street-fossil discoveries onto paper, and what a fab job they did!

Matilda’s beautiful drawing of the Palaeozoic fossil coral, Siphondendron.

We had ammonites from the pebble mosaic and fossil trees from Mint Yard and volcanoes from St Helen’s Square and Jurassic oysters from Virgin Money. I even crowbarred dinosaurs in: since Anne Bronte the geologist had stayed in the George Hotel in 1849, we could justifiably ask “if the Brontes saw us, what would they make of modern Coney Street?”

I didn’t try to get the children drawing the 2 billion year-old ‘stack of mushRustenburg Gabbro, though. I guess I’ll probably need to do the Strata/Life timeline myself…

Earth scientist in York, fossilist across Yorkshire. Co-director of the Yorkshire Fossil Festival and palaeontologist for hire. Can be found twittering, facebooking, and instagramming as @fossiliam.