The Shambles, the renowned 15th century York street which attracts thousands of tourists every year, has officially been crowned Britain’s most picturesque.
Over 11,000 people cast their vote in the inaugural Google Street View awards last month to ensure the Shambles beat off competition from The Royal Crescent in Bath and Newcastle’s Grey Street to scoop the accolade.
Following this, it has been revealed that the unique qualities of the street have attracted Disney producers, who will film scenes from the fourth instalment of the popular Hollywood franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, there in September.
The film will begin its filming in Hawaii this summer, though it will no longer include Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
The street, mentioned by William the Conqueror in the Domesday Book, was the centre of York’s butchers’ market until the late 19th century, with guts, offal and blood from the slaughtered animals streaming down the cobbled alley on a daily basis.
Today, the Shambles houses a blend of small craft and hobby shops, confectioners and tea rooms.
Ian Addyman, a partner in Past Images photography on the Shambles, who orchestrated the campaign to win the accolade, said: “This is great news, and I am delighted that the Shambles has received this award. The shopkeepers and locals have been fully behind this campaign from the start, putting signs in their shop windows and notices on the Shambles website.”
Although the street retains an appeal for visitors to the city, many businesses have struggled to make ends meet during the recent economic recession.
The Google award has provided its businesses with a publicity boost.
“We are fairly busy all year round, but the summer holidays pay for us to keep going,” said Daniel Barrett, of The Chapterhouse bookshop.
“It provides a cushion from the recession but a couple of shops have gone out of business and the high business rates don’t help.
“However, there were three or four empty shops last year and that has been reduced to just one now and as long as the Shambles continues to be a draw we can survive.”
Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist for Google, stated: “The Google Street View Awards are aimed to celebrate the many fantastic streets that Britain has to offer, and the results reveal a diverse cultural landscape of food, fashion and beauty that puts the winning towns firmly on the map.”
Google will now work with Shambles shopkeepers and local residents to produce an online guide to the street, highlighting points of historical interest, including the shrine of Saint Margaret Clitherow, who was martyred in York in 1586 and canonised in 1970.
The city of York was popular in other categories too, as Stonegate came second in the Best Fashion Street category of the awards, while Fossgate finished third in the Best Foodie Street category.