This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 6 June 2024, 1.30pm to 3pm
  • Location: In-person only
    Meet outside City Screen, Coney Street
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Discover the dramatic power of the 18th and 19th-century ballad on a walking tour of York city centre.

Your guides, Vivien Ellis and Rachel Cowgill of the University of York, will reveal how these historic song forms provide a direct connection to York communities of the past.

The tour ends at the York Minster Library where you are welcome to view an exhibition of ballad sheets, cries and other musical rarities from the collections.

Recently, more than 2,000 ballads from the Library’s collection were surveyed as part of a StreetLife and York Minster Library research project.   

Entrance to the ballad exhibition at York Minster Library, Old Palace, is included in tour tickets.

Please note: York Minster Library is in a historic listed building, so is not readily accessible to people with mobility impairments. The Reading Room can be accessed by an internal lift; please check in advance for suitability.  

You may also be interested in ‘Let’s Sing: Ballads and cries of York workshop’ which also takes place on Thursday 6 June.

Image: The Cries of York (York: James Kendrew, [c.1810])

About the speakers

Vivien Ellis is a postgraduate student in the University of York’s School of Art and Creative Technologies.

Rachel Cowgill is a cultural-historical musicologist and Professor of Music at the University of York, where she was Research Theme Champion for Creativity and will shortly be taking up the Directorship of the Humanities Research Centre and Associate Deanship for Arts & Humanities Research. Rachel is a specialist in British music and musical cultures from the mid-18 century onwards, and led the StreetLife Project with colleagues in Archaeology and English, from which this collaboration with Vivien Ellis and York Minster Library has developed. She has published widely, including the collaborative volume The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century (Oxford: OUP 2012), and is founding co-editor of the book series 'Music in Britain,1600-2000' for Boydell & Brewer.  She was awarded an MBE in the 2024 New Year's Honours List. 


York Minster University of York Street Life York

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible