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York - England
York is a walled city situated at the confluence of the Ouse River and the Foss River in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a vibrant heritage that has provided a backdrop for important political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city possesses a wealth of historic attractions and a variety of cultural and sporting activities. York was founded by the Romans in 71 AD. In the Middle Ages the city of York grew as a major wool trading center and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England which continues to this day. In the 19th century York became a hub of the railway network and a renown confectionery manufacturing center. In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that is service orientated. The University of York and health services have become major employers, while tourism has also become an important facet of the local economy. The British railway promoter George Hudson was responsible for bringing the railway to York back in 1839. Although Hudson's career as a railway entrepreneur eventually ended in disgrace and bankruptcy, his promotion of his own railway company, the York and North Midland Railway and of York over Leeds, helped establish York as a major railway center by the late 1800s. The introduction of the railways also established engineering in the city. At the turn of the 20th century, the railway accommodated the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway, which employed over 5,500 people in York. The railway was also instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree's Cocoa Works. Rowntree's was founded in York in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in 1869 by his brother the philanthropist Joseph Rowntree. Terry's Confectionery Works was also a major employer in the city and by 1900 the railways and confectionary had become the two major industries of the city. With the emergence of tourism as a major industry, the historic core of York became one of the city's major assets, and in 1968 it was designated a conservation area. The existing tourist attractions were supplemented by the establishment of the National Railway Museum in York in 1975 and the Jorvik Viking Centre in 1984. The opening of the University of York in 1963 added to the prosperity of the city. York was voted as European Tourism City of the Year by European Cities Marketing in June of 2007. York beat out 130 other European cities to gain this designation by surpassing Gothenburg, Sweden and Valencia, Spain.
York's economy is based on the service industry, which in 2000 was responsible for 88.7% of the employment in the city. The service industries in York include public sector employment, health, education, finance, information technology and tourism which accounts for 10.7% of the employment. Tourism has become an important element of the local economy, with the city offering a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, as well as a variety of cultural activities. In 2009, York was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors. The largest employer in York is the City of York Council, with over 7,500 employees. Employers with more than 3,000 staff include Aviva (formerly Norwich Union Life), Selby and York Primary Care Trust, Shepherd Building Group - including Portakabin, and the University of York. Other major employers include British Telecom, CPP Group, Nestlé, NFU Mutual and a number of railway companies. Today's economic position is very different from the position of the economy as recently as the 1950s, when York's prosperity was based on chocolate manufacturing and the railways. This position continued until the early 1980s when 30% of the workforce were employed by just five employers and 75% of manufacturing jobs were in four companies. Most of the industry around the railway has ceased, including the carriage works known as Asea Brown Boveri which at its height in 1880s employed 5,500 people, but closed in the mid 1990s. York is the headquarters of the confectionery manufacturer Nestlé York and home to the KitKat and eponymous Yorkie bar chocolate brands. Terry's chocolate factory, makers of the Chocolate Orange, was also located in the city, but it closed on 30 September 2005, when production was moved by its owners, Kraft Foods, to Poland. However, the historic factory building can still be seen, situated next to the Knavesmire racecourse. It was announced on 20 September 2006 that Nestlé would be cutting 645 jobs at the Rowntree's chocolate factory in York. This came after a number of other job losses in the city at Aviva, British Sugar and Terry's chocolate factory. Despite this, the employment situation in York remained fairly buoyant until the effects of the late 2000s recession began to be felt. Since the closure of York's carriage-works, the site has been developed into the headquarters for CPP Group and two housing schemes, one of which was a self-build project. York's economy has been developing in the areas of science, technology and the creative industries. The city has become a founding National Science City with the creation of a science park near the University of York. Between 1998 and 2008 York gained 80 new technology companies and 2,800 new jobs in the sector.
York has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As with the rest of the Vale of York the city's climate is drier and warmer than the rest of the Yorkshire and Humberside region. Because of its lowland location York is prone to frosts, fog, and cold winds during winter, spring and very early summer. In summer the average maximum temperature is 22°C or 72°F although some days can see highs of up to 28°C or 82°F rarely exceeding 30°C or 86°F. Nights are significantly colder averaging a minimum of 15°C or 60 °F, although these can consistently dip below 10°C or 50°F. The average daytime temperature in winter is 7°C or 45°F and 2°C or 36°F at night. Snow can fall in winter from December onwards to as late as April, but, quickly melts. The wettest months are November, December and January with an average of 17 days per month with rainfall more than 0.25 millimetres or 0.01 inches. From May to July York experiences the most sunshine with an average of six hours per day. Extremes recorded at the University of York campus between 1998 and 2010 include a highest temperature of 33°C or 91.4°F on Monday 17 July 2006 and a lowest temperature of -12.3°C or 9.9°F on Monday 6 December 2010. The most rainfall ever recorded in one day was 62.4 millimetres or 2.5 inches. York's location on the River Ouse and in the center of the Vale of York means that it has always had a significant position in the nation's transport system. The city grew up as a river port at the confluence of the River Ouse and the River Foss. The Ouse was originally a tidal river, accessible to sea-going ships of the time. Today both of these rivers remain navigable, although the Foss is only navigable for a short distance above the confluence. A lock at Naburn on the Ouse to the south of York means that the river in York is no longer tidal. Until the end of the 20th century, the Ouse was used by barges to carry freight between York and the port of Hull. The last significant traffic was the supply of newsprint to the local newspaper's Foss-side print works, which continued until 1997.
Today navigation is almost exclusively leisure-oriented. YorkBoat provides cruises on the river. Like most cities founded by the Romans, York is well served by long distance trunk roads. The city lies at the intersection of the A19 road from Doncaster to Tyneside, the A59 road from Liverpool to York, the A64 road from Leeds to Scarborough, and the A1079 road from York to Hull. The A64 road provides the principal link to the motorway network, linking York to both the A1(M) and the M1 motorways at a distance of about 10 miles or 16 kilometers from the city. The city is surrounded on all sides by an outer ring road, at a distance of some 3 miles or 4.8 kilometers from the center of the city, which allows through traffic to bypass the city. The street plan of the historic core of the city dates from medieval times and is not suitable for modern traffic. As a consequence many of the routes inside the city walls are designated as car free during business hours or restrict traffic entirely. To alleviate this situation, five bus based park and ride sites operate in York. The sites are located towards the edge of the urban area, with easy access from the ring road, and allow out of town visitors to complete their journey into the city centre by bus. York has been a major railway center since the first line arrived in 1839 at the beginning of the railway age. For many years the city hosted the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway. York railway station is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line from London to Newcastle and Edinburgh. It takes less than two hours to get to York from London by rail, with at least 25 direct trains each weekday. The station is also served by long distance trains on Cross Country services linking Edinburgh and Newcastle with destinations in south and west England via Birmingham. TransPennine Express provide a frequent service of semi-fast trains linking York to Newcastle, Scarborough, Leeds, Manchester, Manchester Airport, and Liverpool. Local stopping services by Northern Rail connect York to Bridlington, Harrogate, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and many intermediate points, as well as many other stations across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
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