The historic city of York is the atmospheric backdrop to one of the most popular military vehicle events – Crank Up. John Carroll marked its return to the calendar with a visit to the much-loved attraction

Clifford’s Tower from the 13th century provides an impressive backdrop
A restored Hotchkiss M201 arrives at the Crank Up

Run by the Yorkshire area of the Military Vehicle Trust (MVT), the annual Crank Up event has been beset by pandemic-related cancellations in recent years. However, in mid-April, the ‘Eye of York’ venue in the centre of the city once again was able to play host to this attraction – to the delight of northern enthusiasts and for which thanks are due to the efforts of York City Council.

The Crank Up is a one-day affair and the 'Eye of York’ is a circular grassy area surrounded by three of York's interesting historic buildings, all just a stone's throw from York's war memorial and the River Ouse. Clockwise these are the 13th century Clifford's Tower that had only reopened on April 2 following a major £5m project to conserve the interior of the famous landmark. William the Conqueror also built two motteand-bailey castles in York, one of them where Clifford's Tower now stands, to subdue the rebellious north. The later stone structure has at times been a royal mint, a medieval stronghold and a garrison during the Civil War. In 1190, one of the worst antisemitic massacres of the Middle Ages took place on the site when York’s Jewish community was trapped there by a violent mob – many choosing to commit suicide rather than be murdered.

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