York Pubs by Nathen Amin (Amberley £14.99)

As well as magnificent churches, York is very well known for its pubs. The introduction to this book gives a fascinating brief history of how these establishments developed and their numbers grew.

The book lists 39 of the most historic inns in the city. The focus is on the history of these hostelries that have survived on the same spot for hundreds of years.

The book chronicles the pubs' early usages, as the trade changed from giving sustenance to passing travellers, to the rise of the “local”. For some pubs, the author lists the landlords so you can see how pubs have passed through families.

The book is full of fascinating snippets of information. I had no idea that the York Arms in High Petergate, just a stone’s throw from my shop, started out as Carr’s Coffee House and that, previous to that, it been on the site of Peter’s prison (the Minster's gaol).

Many of the pubs, like The Snickleways and the Olde Starre Inn, also boast a good ghost story. If you are in the York Arms and happen to see a lady in a medieval nun’s habit, you won’t be the first. “Further paranormal activity is said to occur in the gentleman’s toilets,” this book reliably informs us.

As well as mentioning the architecture of these marvellous pubs, the book is generously peppered with photographs. They look so warm and inviting, it makes you want to go and try all 39.

Now there’s an idea!

Philippa Morris