My Bishophill...Al Kippax
Bishophill sits within York’s historic city walls - just a short stroll across the river from the lively town centre. An area of great historical significance and bordered by Micklegate and the River Ouse, Bishophill is home to one of York’s thriving communities - known as the Bishophillbillies.
We talk to Al Kippax, Bishophill resident and owner of Bluebird Bakery - who also sells his bread at the much-respected local pub (more about that later) - about why he calls the area home and what it has to offer.
Al, what brought you to Bishophill?
“I’m a Londoner who once made regular visits to York to see my in-laws. When we had the chance to buy in the area, the first thing we did was build a small bakery onto the back of the kitchen. It was the realisation of two dreams - to own a home in a vibrant area of York and to start up my own business working with food.”
What do you think makes the area so different?
“I’ve never lived anywhere with such a close-knit community and there’s a real emphasis on getting together, helping each other out and supporting local projects - from vegetables grown by the Edibillies, events hosted by the Bishophillbillies and of course the chance to own your own share of the local pub.”
You must mean the Golden Ball? We’ve heard about it being York’s first community-owned pub. Apart from the usual ales, what else does it offer local people?
“The Golden Ball is the linchpin of our community and all sorts happen there; open mic nights, charity gigs and events. When the community garden has been out of action, we’ve hosted kids birthday parties and fetes there. It sells excellent ales but also pies, eggs and my bread too. We like it so much, we even had our wedding party there!”
How long have you lived in Bishophill?
“I’ve been here more than seven years now - it’s the longest we’ve lived anywhere and I can’t see us moving on in the near future as we’re far too settled and happy here - although thankfully we now have a bigger premises to bake bread for our shop on the Little Shambles.”
Image source: Bluebird Bakery York
If someone were to visit Bishophill for the first time, what would you recommend they see?
“To the outsider passing through, it may just look like a maze of streets close to the centre of York - or a good base for the now-famous Bishy Road - but stop a bit longer and you’ll see all sorts happening. Drop into the Golden Ball pub for a pint, find a sunny spot in the community garden or head through on your way to the river and town. On a good day we can see the top of Clifford’s Tower and hear the Minster bells all at the same time.”
Do you love where you live?
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*Featured image: Local residents outside the community-owned Golden Ball pub. Image source: York Mix
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