The history of the cats in York
The history of the cats in York dates back at least as far as 1920, when Sir Stephen Aitcheson placed two on a building that he owned in Low Ousegate. Some say he put them there to scare away rats and mice though it's more likely that he thought they would be eye-catching and attractive. Others followed his idea and the odd cat appeared around the city in the hope that good things would happen!
It was in 1979 that local architect Tom Adams (who had drawn black cats as his signature since the 1950's) decided to resurrect the idea by placing them on buildings he designed. York based sculptor Jonathon Newdick was then commissioned to bring them to life. Tom passed away in 2006 aged 75, but his inspiration lives on through new commissions of York cats.
The York Cat Trail Map gives clues as to the location of most of the cats to be found around the city. The map above is adapted from the York Cat Trail, with additions and corrections. The cats have been renumbered to give an alternative route.
Installed in November 1984, this is one of the first cats used by the architect Tom Adams to ‘sign’ one of his buildings. Its partner (cat 10) was installed on the other side of the building and can be seen from across the river. The sculptor is Jonathan Newdick.
Continue along Coney Street to Lendal, turn left then look for cat 12.
To find cat 13, you need to walk to Gillygate.
Look for a "Snickleway" (Bedern) on the other side of Goodramgate and follow it into Bartle Garth, past the wonderfully restored Bedern Hall into St Andrewgate.
Here, in relative peace and quiet away from the crowds, search for cats 17, 18 & 19.
The remaining cats are all very close together. To find them, continue along St Andrewgate to Kings Square and Colliergate.
Our trail ends in Shambles where we'll find cats 23 & 24.