Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Yorkshire windmills

Local history is taking a back seat at the moment as I am spending hours outside in the garden. It is the time of year when everything, including the grass, is growing and it is good to see that plants which I thought had died over winter, are now coming to life. This is especially true of the fuchsias, many of which were in hanging baskets and are just beginning to leaf up.

But I did also spend some time last week looking at local windmills. I was booked to give a talk at the Marshland Local History group who meet in Swinefleet village hall.

I have always been interested in windmills and their history. So it was a pleasure to put together a presentation which began  with pictures of Ellerker mill and then moved to Newport, Gilberdyke, Yokefleet and Howden before crossing the Ouse.

 One of the most interesting mills is the Anti Mill between Newport and Gilberdyke which was built in the 1790s so that people could buy pure flour which had not been adulterated.

Having crossed the river we looked at the windmills of Airmyn and Cowick before moving into Goole for a quick look at Timms' Mill, now part of the Morrisons; site and Herons' mill at Shuffleton before moving to the Goole Fields mill and into the Marshland.

Here the audience were very helpful as I showed pictures of mills at Swinefleet, Ousefleet and Adlingfleet and they talked about where they stood.

It was a good evening and even I was surprised  as I put the talk together just how many windmills there were in this flat Yorkshire landscape.

This multi view postcard, dating from 1908, of the Gilberdyke area shows both Gilberdyke and Newport windmills

Friday, 17 April 2015

Sarah Rhodes Lane, Skelton

Not too far from where I live is a  short lane leading from Skelton, near Howden, towards Saltmarshe. This is called Sarah Rhodes Lane and since the local council obligingly put up a sign with the name on many people have asked me 'Who was Sarah Rhodes?'

There have been many suggestions - was she perhaps the ghost of a Skelton woman who had been murdered or who had wandered along the lane and tragically thrown herself in the river?

There is a well- documented ghost of a headless cricketer at  nearby Saltmarshe so there are plenty of ghosts locally.

Or was she perhaps a witch, a bit like the notorious Peg Fyfe who ran a gang of thieves and who flayed the skin off a local stable boy who refused to allow the gang to use his master's horses. He died on the banks of the River  Foulness [ 'Foona'] near Eastrington and the grass never grows on the spot where he died.

I thought that I would do a little research and try to find out the truth. I am still not sure who Sarah Rhodes was but at least now  I can make an educated guess.

A look at a recent map shows that Sarah Rhodes Lane leads in fact to a staith on the River Ouse called Sarah Rhodes Staith [sometimes Staithe]. These staiths were like semi- circular jetties, built of stone and timber and where were vessels could moor while loading and discharging cargo.

The remnants of some of these remain and of course at Howdendyke there is still a jetty where ships can moor while near Saltmarshe Hall is the site of a staith although its purpose now is to provide a location for one of the river lights.

I found a map dating from 1793 showing some 12 of these little staiths running from Howdendyke, along the riverbank at Skelton, around Sandhall and to Saltmarshe.

And one of them was called 'Roads Staith'.  I am not too bothered by the variation in spelling as it was not standardised then. I am sure there is a connection with Sarah.

I have looked for local references to the Roads/ Rhodes family of Skelton and have found that there was a Thomas Rhodes, a gentleman of Saltmarshe in the eighteenth century, who had a wife Sarah and who in 1774 sold property to the Scholfield family of Sandhall. He also had a sister Sarah.

There was too a John Rhodes of Skelton who married a Sarah Patterick in 1727. And a poor widow of Howden called Sarah Rhodes who died in 1764.

Much later in 1927  there is a note in the Scholfield family papers held in Beverley archives that

' A Wainman acknowledges that the privilege of driving a stake into the stoneheap at the mouth of the clough at Sarah Rhodes Staithe in Skelton is with the permission of Edward Paget Scholfield'.

So I still do not know exactly who Sarah was but at least I can now say that she was probably seen in the lanes of Skelton at least two hundred years ago.

Was she a ghost? Drive slowly and you may see her!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Historical ship pictures, Goole

I have been sorting out my old pictures and in particular the many relating to Goole ships and the docks. I must have hundreds and am trying to get them all digitised and eventually online. Do ask if you are interested in a specific ship as I may have a picture.

Sadly far fewer ships now pass my house on the River Ouse on their way to and from Goole. It must have been a wonderful sight when all the steamers and keels crowded the river. Almost every Goole family had some connection with shipping.

Even when I first came to live here  I remember seeing several ships on every tide. In particular I remember the giant Renault car carriers such as the Autostrada which towered over the house as they returned after leaving their cargo at Goole.

I remember too seeing the 'ity' ships which were all owned by F T Everard,  several of which were built by the Goole Shipbuilding yard.

The river is  beautiful to look at and there are several pleasure craft moving at weekends but many tides pass with no ships.

Here is a picture of an Everard vessel, the  Astrality.

She was built for the  Ministry of War Transport and managed by F. T. Everard & Sons of London.  She was sold in 1946 to the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. Ltd., of London and renamed Bolma. In 1955, she was sold to Everard and renamed Astrality. In 1965, the vessel was sold again to Marittima Fluviale Méridionale, of Palermo, Italy, and renamed Monte Berico.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Concert at Laxton

At last I feel as if 'spring has sprung' although I prefer the Browning poem which encapsulates the feeling that at last the grey of winter has passed and everything is beginning to grow

From Pippa’s Song in “Pippa Passes” by Robert Browning

"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!”

In my garden the daffodils are nearly all out and it is almost time to cut the grass. I have been cleaning out my raspberry canes and a friend has brought me some very well rotted horse manure so I hope for a good crop this year. But some of the muck is going to go in the potato rows as nothing beats home grown new potatoes.

It will soon be time to re-open our little museum and repair some of the ravages of winter. Not too many but it is a bit damp.

Preparations are going ahead for another local concert - this time in the Laxton village hall in May. In fact there is a slight connection with the First World War which was the theme of February's concert. The Laxton village hall is properly called the Laxton Victory Hall and was originally an old army hut erected on land donated by Col. Saltmarshe to provide the village with a practical war memorial.

The concert will raise funds both for the upkeep of the hall and for  Macmillan Cancer Support. The music will range from classical solos and songs from musicals sung by Steven Goulden,  jazz piano solos by Amy Butler and will also include traditional music played on the fiddle, Celtic harp and accordion by Beverley musicians Joan and Dave Hill.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Poldark and the Eastrington connection

Many many years ago I had a pony and rode around the lanes of my home village of Eastrington. In June it was always- and still is- Eastrington Show. My father was for many years secretary and one of the most enthusiastic people involved was Albert Atkinson who lives on Eastrington Common.  His son, Mark always took part and has now made horses his career.

I gave up riding in my teens but I was reminded of all this last night when watching the new BBC adaptation of Poldark. For all the horses in the series are supplied by Mark who is now in business as Atkinson Action Horses


If you follow the links on the site there are lots of Poldark clips.

Well done Mark

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark riding Seamus, one of the Atkinson horses used in the series

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

First World War concert at Saltmarshe Hall

No sooner had I recovered from the Montague Mills exhibition than it was time to make the final arrangements for the First World War themed concert in Saltmarshe Hall.

Although the music and readings were all planned there were meetings of readers to organise, the programme to write and of course all the small details such as who would greet concert goers, did we have a bell to ring for the end of the interval and where should the displays be set up.

But finally all was ready. Saltmarshe Hall,  the concert venue is beautiful and we were delighted that the owners, Kate and Roland Whyte, had allowed us to use it. Kate kindly put up with our rehearsals and visits before the event and we could not have felt more welcome.

The evening came, the concert goers all arrived and soon the entrance hall and bar were crammed with what turned out to be a capacity audience.

And I think everyone enjoyed it. They listened to the readings and classical songs and sang along with some of the more popular choruses. You could have heard a pin drop during some of the most emotional and poignant parts of the performance.

Afterwards the bar remained open and we enjoyed a welcome glass of wine.

Below is a review of the concert which was published in the local newspaper, the Goole Times on Thursday,  March 5th. It was written by one of the several musicians in the audience.

Award-winning Saltmarshe Hall hosts tribute to “The Great War”

Last Friday’s “Keep the Home Fires Burning” concert in the beautiful setting of Saltmarshe Hall was an emotional and educational experience for the capacity audience.

The performance blended a wide collection of prose and poetry from the war, read eloquently by six guest readers with a selection of classical and popular songs of the period.

Readings ranged from a newspaper extract describing a Howden recruiting meeting in 1915, read by Neville Thompson, to a passage from the German novel All Quiet on the Western Front, introduced in German and read by Gudrun Wroot.

The stars of the evening, however, were Steven Goulden (tenor) and Amy Butler (piano) who ably rendered a wide range of music for the pleasure of their listeners.

Songs ranged from the pastoral The Water Mill by Ralph Vaughan Williams to the haunting Is My Team Ploughing? by George Butterworth, in which Steven’s 'mezzo voce' rendering of the ghost was extremely moving. One of the most beautiful songs was To Gratiana Dancing and Singing by the lesser-known composer William Denis Browne, who was killed at Gallipoli in 1915.
But the audience was not left out and were invited to join in the choruses of Keep the Home Fires Burning, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Roses of Picardy and Pack up your Troubles, which they did with great enthusiasm.

Steven, who had a lovely rapport with his audience, introduced each song with an informed description of the composer and their relevance to the First World War.

Amy accompanied with great skill and sensitivity, and also gave an evocative piano performance of Butterworth’s The Banks of Green Willow.

The Goole First World War Research Group had set up a fascinating array of information and weapons in one of the rooms in the hall and there was also an illustrated display by local historian Susan Butler of old photographs of the war, including pictures of the damage done by the Zeppelin raid on Goole in August 1915.

A retiring collection was taken for the Royal British Legion and it is anticipated that a substantial sum has been raised.

It was a lovely evening and it is hoped to perform the programme again, although no firm date has been fixed. If you  want further information or are interested in booking the performers contact Steven Goulden, email: gouldano@hotmail.com


And here is a picture of the performers, Steven Goulden, professional tenor and Amy Butler, pianist  with the sweeping hall staircase in the background.

Update: The collection in aid of the Royal British Legion raised £396.89. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

A busy February

Well, I did know that February was going to be busy but I never imagined how busy. And here we are in March already.

The snowdrops are lasting well and are a beautiful carpet of white in the wood, interspersed with a few crocuses- although I think the squirrels eat most of the bulbs that I plant.

But I have hardly had time to appreciate them. Our week- long exhibition of old photos of Goole in Montague Mills was an overwhelming success. Although we did not keep an exact count of visitors we think we had over 1000. We jokingly said that every visitor found either themselves or a relative or friend on a photo on display and Gilbert Tawn and myself were kept very busy printing out copies.

The exhibition was held in the old Burtons' building and several reunions of former workmates took place around the display boards dedicated to the factory.

Above is a picture taken one morning soon after the exhibition opened. Later in the day it was too crowded to see across the room. In the foreground is the display by Chris Laidler and the Goole First World War research group and in the background the  beautiful framed and restored old pictures displayed by Pippa Stainton.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Saltmarshe Hall concert February 2015

It promises to be a busy February. After our exhibition in Goole only a few days later I am involved in organising a concert at Saltmarshe Hall.

This is a free event in the beautiful setting of the orangery at Saltmarshe Hall, by kind permission of owners Kate and Roland Whyte.

Steven Goulden, tenor, who studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has sung professionally for many years in both the UK and Europe will perform a programme of music themed around the First World War.

He will be accompanied on piano by Amy Butler who has accompanied many choral groups both in the Yorkshire area and at university at Oxford.

There will also be selected poetry and prose readings which will complement the music and explore various aspects of the war both locally and nationally.

Below is a  flyer for the event. Although there is no charge booking is advisable as there is limited space.

Goole old photo exhibition at Montague Mills

Well  here we are in  January 2015 and it seems only a few minutes since I last wrote on Christmas Eve. Like everyone I found it was busy over Christmas - our visitors stayed a week and there seemed to be a lot of cooking needed. But now the tree is lying sadly outside and the decorations are ready to be returned to the loft.

And over the Christmas period came the sad news that Goff Sherburn of Goole had died. Goff was one of Goole's treasures - he spent his life working on the waterways and was always happy to share his memories of  working on the tugs on the Aire and Calder canal. He and his wife Eileen were both students in my Goole WEA local history class until he became too ill to attend. We shall all miss him.

I am now busy catching up on emails and preparing for several events. We are having another exhibition of old photos of Goole - this time in Montague Mills - better known to Goole people as the old Burton's building. It is now an outlet shop and from 7th -14th Feb we are putting up our exhibition in one of the rooms off the main shop floor. We are displaying many of the old photos we used when we exhibited in Junction in August as well as new ones. Pippa Stainton will also be hanging her framed prints and the Goole First World War group will  be there.

The original factory was opened by the Princess Royal in April 1949. The newspaper account reads as follows,

PRINCESS ROYAL OPENS FIRST OF GOOLE'S NEW FACTORIES. A milestone in the industrial development of Goole was marked today by the visit of the Princess Royal to open the first factory to be built on the new estate for light industries in Rawcliffe Road. 

The factory, including works covering an area of about 100.000 square feet, at present employs nearly 500 operatives. Seven acres hive been acquired for extensions, and it hoped eventually to provide work for 1.000 of the town's population. Cheering workgirls lined the entrance of the factory to greet the royal visitor.

 The princess was welcomed the Mayor of Goole, Ald. V. B. Hudson, who presented her with a key to the main door. After the guests, civic representatives and employees had been presented, she inspected the workshops and welfare offices and saw operatives at work.

This a Burtons of Goole ladies  football team . Can you name any of the team members?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

The turkey is out of the freezer, the Christmas lights are turned on and our guests are installed in the spare bedroom. Whatever is not done or bought by now will wait until after Christmas. Molly and Poppy are unaware of the vast number of scraps about to come their way.

We are having two weeks off from the computer and family history. But before I turn it off I thought it might be interesting to look at what was happening in Goole a hundred years ago. The following was dated 26th December 1914:

"Christmas, which a keen frost had made "seasonable,'' was a quiet time in this district. There were numbers of people out and about but never before have there been so many men in the port wearing the uniform of His Majesty at the festive season. Some of these are stationed in the town, but numerous others whose homes are in Goole, and who are training in various places, were over on leave. 

"Christmas morning services were held at various local places of worship and each was fairly attended. A band was out playing carols, and quite early the youngsters had commenced Christmas boxing.

"At the workhouse the inmates had their usual treat of roast beef, plum pudding, etc., at noon, in the dining hall, which had been tastefully decorated with evergreens, etc. Numerous gifts of Christmas fare had also been received for them. The distressed poor of the town, affected by the war, were not forgotten, and the distribution, which in the ordinary course would be made on Monday next, took place on Thursday, in order that everybody would have food in the house for Christmas. The Secretary of the Distress Committee and his assistants gave out a large quantity of flour in 1-stone bags, cheese in 1 lb parcels, and tins of salmon together with potatoes. The families of the soldiers and sailors have also received gifts of  coal, and new boots for the children through the Soldiers' and Sailors' Association. Special Christmas greeting cards have been printed for the British civilian prisoners of war in the Ruhleben (German) Camp, and several have been received by the relatives of the sailors interned there. The following appears on the card:—"Xmas, 1914. Englanderlagei, Ruhleben-Spandau, Germany. Wishing you a happy Xmas and brighter New Year. From  -  British Civil Prisoner of War." On the other side is the address, and also the sender's name and barrack number.

"Once again the post office staff have experienced a busy time during the festive season. All the week had been gradually growing, but, as Mr Bennett (the postmaster) explained to the writer, any perceptible increase there may have been over previous years was in the dispatch of  parcels to the troops at the front. One might almost say there was a "special line" this year. All letters and parcels for the soldiers with the fighting forces and for the sailors afloat are, of course, forwarded first to London. The postal staff, both inside and out, was, as former years, augmented, and everything was done to give the utmost dispatch. The members of the public responded to the request to post early, and consequently no delay was occasioned. Breakfast was again provided for the staff at Mrs Clarkson's cafe.

"The boys of Standards VII. and ex-VII. attending the Alexandra-street School gave a capital concert the other evening for the benefit the school football club The programme included sketches of various kinds, patriotic songs, choruses, pianoforte solos, etc , and was greatly enjoyed, reflecting much credit on the coach, W Appleyard. Mr Harlington was the pianist, and Mr I. Schofield (the headmaster) presided, in the absence of Councillor S. G Bevan. The proceeds realised £2. An interesting presentation took place at the Alexandra Street Schools on Thursday afternoon, prior to closing for the Christmas holidays, when Mr Alf Sherburn, a certificated assistant, who has been connected with the schools since he was a boy, and who has received an appointment as headmaster at a school near Ripon, was the recipient of a  turned oak salad bowl with servers. This was a gift from the teachers and scholars, and was handed to Mr Sherburn by the Headmaster (Mr Schofield), who regretted the loss of one his principal teachers, but wished him success in his new position. Mr Sherburn made a suitable acknowledgment."

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