Street Map

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Thirsk is a small market town and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. The parish has a population of 4,703 according to the 2001 Census. Thirsk is a popular tourist destination, known for the Thirsk Racecourse, the North York Moors, and as the home of author James Herriot.

The town is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1089 as Tresche, derived from the Viking (Old Norse) word þresk = “marsh”. It is surrounded by a number of villages also having names of Danish origin, such as Thirlby, Boltby, Borrowby and Sowerby (the -by suffix (Danish in origin) meaning village or farmstead).

Thomas Lord, who founded Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, was born in a house which now houses the Thirsk Museum. Another local attraction is the Kilburn White Horse, a chalk horse carved into the hillside about four miles (6 km) east of the town in 1857.

Thirsk’s chief modern claim to fame is as the home of the veterinary surgeon and author James Herriot, although it was renamed “Darrowby” in the books. The veterinary practice at 23 Kirkgate, in which he was a partner along with Donald Sinclair (Siegfried Farnon in the books) now houses a museum dedicated to his life and works, The World of James Herriot.

The town lies in the Vale of Mowbray, 23 miles (37 km) north of York. Cod Beck runs through the centre of Thirsk – the area to the east of the river is called Old Thirsk.

Thirsk is built around a large medieval market square, which still hosts an open-air market each Monday and Saturday. Thirsk has a museum and the 15th century church of St Mary’s. It is commonly said that Thirsk also has a hospital, cinema, town hall and swimming pool, but all four are actually located in the adjoining village of Sowerby.

The Ritz Cinema on Westgate, Sowerby is a small 200 seat (100 stalls, 100 balcony) cinema run by volunteers. It dates back to 1912 and is one of Britain’s oldest operating cinemas. It shows in a period setting most of the current films and is run for residents and visitors to Thirsk and the local villages by a dedicated team of volunteers. In March 2012, the Ritz installed Digital projection equipment, purchased under a Digital Print Scheme through the Cinema Exhibitors Association CEA.

The racecourse at Thirsk is a leading venue for horseracing on the flat in the spring and summer months.

The market square adjacent to the clock tower was featured in the artwork to Pulps 1995 album “Different Class”.

The local travel links are located a mile from the town centre to Thirsk railway station and 20 miles (32 km) to Durham Tees Valley Airport. Local bus services to and from York, Ripon and Northallerton and nearby villages and long distance National Express Coaches call at the bus stop in the market place. Also, the main road running through the town is the A61, connecting Thirsk to Ripon. The A19 road now, after a bypass was built in the 1960s, passes Thirsk to the east; the former route of the A19 through the town is the A61 to the north to South Kilvington and the A170 to the south at the junction where the A19 joins the original route to the south.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.


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