Video and pictures: York shop transformed into a magical storybook world this Christmas

Tea anyone? The York Debenhams window transformed. Photographs: Richard McDougall
5 Dec 2020 @ 1.56 am
| Entertainment

What was an empty shop has become a world of wonder in York city centre.

Windows in the former Debenhams on Davygate now contain lions, tigers, gods, and some of the magical moments from stories – as part of the ‘Fantastic Fiction’ feature conjured up by the York BID (Business Improvement District).

The spectacular displays take inspiration from children’s stories and popular fiction.  

The transformation is courtesy of a collaboration between the BID and Event Prop Hire, based in Wetherby.

Regarded as the UK’s leading prop hire company, the business’s props are featured regularly on TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing on Ice and Britain’s Got Talent.

The window display is part of the BID’s commitment to enhancing the city this winter, creating experiences to share with loved ones safely while visiting the city centre and supporting local businesses.

They have already launched a York Gift Card Advent Calendar and Lottery, and the York Quest mobile app featuring the augmented reality ‘York Santa Search’.

Each window of the huge store front has been dressed using characters and props from a well-loved children’s story.

These include

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Jungle Book
  • Aladdin
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • and the Little Mermaid.

These will be joined early next week by dinosaurs and superheroes as the installation extends next door into the store previously occupied by Virgin Money.

The BID would like to thank Trafalgar Jewellers, the new owners of the ex-Debenhams property, who have been very supportive in allowing them to use the building for this project.

Carl Alsop, operations manager the York BID, said: “We are really excited to introduce something new to the city during the Christmas period. We hope families will enjoy the window displays and support local businesses during their visit.”