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."

Monday, 1 December 2014

Laxton photos

Now Christmas is around the corner I really think it is time to bring in my geraniums. Although today is the first day of December I still have a nasturtium plant straggling all over the seat outside the back door and I am loathe to pull it up as the frost will surely soon nip it off.

Everywhere is muddy and I am trying to feed the chickens on a different patch each morning as they trample the ground into a mini quagmire. I am having a rest from history for the next few days as we re-decorate the spare bedroom ready for Christmas visitors. We have a new carpet coming on Friday and so tomorrow I hope to get a coat of gloss onto the skirting boards.

My WEA classes have all now finished until January and we all enjoyed a meal together last Thursday. I went to the Borthwick Institute yesterday to look at some wills on microfilm - very annoyingly the  machine which lets you top up the money on your card so you can use the copying machine was broken. The only way round this was to do a lot of transcribing and so it took much longer than we thought.

I think the dark nights mean that people's thoughts turn to  working on family and local histtory history. Recently I have been looking at the Parrott family of Saltmarshe, the Leaks of East Yorkshire and the histories of Rawcliffe Bridge paper mill, the brewery at West Cowick and  families who worked at Ousefleet Hall.

I  am working too on my own history of Saltmarshe and have just bought three postcards of nearby Laxton and one of Carlton Towers sent when it was a First World War hospital.

It is a good job that TV is so boring at the moment as I am not tempted away from the computer - I think the TV companies are saving everything up for Christmas. And as for the plots on the Archers - every night is a new storyline. I might have to give up listening as it is now a long way from being An Everyday Story of Countryfolk!

Finally I am including a picture of SS Broomfleet of Goole which was lost on 13th December 1933, almost 80 years ago. I am hoping to write more of what happened in my next post.

SS Broomfleet of Goole

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Saltmarshe museum update

It is now definitely autumn but I have been outside this afternoon giving the grass one last cut. It is unseasonably warm and so the grass is still growing. Our Bramley apple crop is quite good and I have some baking in the oven with golden syrup and cinnamon as I write this.

Next Saturday - 8th November- is the family history fair in Goole library [ 10am - 4pm]. I am attending with lots of monumental inscription booklets and old photos to give advice on finding your family in the Goole and Howden areas. Do contact me if you have any special requests for material or old pictures.

I have just bought some more display boards to take with me to Goole as it is a nuisance moving pictures on and off those in the museum. We have had several visitors - and donations of interesting objects. We are still really only open for visitors by appointment but hope in spring to open regularly.

In the meantime the collection is growing - recent additions are bread pancheons, early weighing scales, a clock, a Box Brownie camera and a brass instrument for doing unmentionable things to horses! It is all fun and I enjoy listening to the memories some objects evoke.

Last weekend we went to a postcard fair in Lincolnshire and amongst other cards I bought two of Breighton, near Bubwith. I had never seen any before - they can't have had a wide sale originally as Breighton is very small.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ouse ferries

 I do not know how it has happened but it is a month since I wrote anything on my blog. It must be that it has been a very busy time with lots going on.

I have been teaching three classes for the WEA this term - local history in both Howden and Goole and family history in Goole at The Courtyard. In both the local history classes we have been looking at the local rivers, ferries and bridges.

It is surprising how many there are. We began with the Ouse and the looked at Whitgift Ferry which was used by both Charles I and John Wesley. Next we looked at Saltmarshe where in the early nineteenth century two rival ferrymen came to blows and ended up in court.

Then Howdendyke which crossed to Hook on the opposite bank and of course Booth ferry which has a long history and many stories associated with it. Few people realise that the Boothferry parks and roads in the city of Hull twenty miles away take their name from this river crossing.

In July 1929 Boothferry Bridge was opened and the ferrymen given new jobs as bridge operators. Members of their family still live at Booth today. There was also a ferry across the Ouse from Barmby on the Marsh to Long Drax and then we come to the toll bridge at Selby.

We are still working on the ferries on the Derwent and the Aire. It is salutary to realise how the rivers have shaped our area.

In between we have been peeling apples and walking Molly. She loves having the chance to run and roll in indescribable patches of horrid smelling mess. We, meanwhile, appreciate the changing colours of the leaves and watch and listen to the several skeins of geese flying over, their cries quite eerie at times in the dusk.

On Wednesday I am going to the opening of the R100  trail in Howden. It has taken almost a year since the Civic Society won a grant from the Peoples' Millions to create the trail but now the plaques are laid I think they look lovely - and as if they have been there for ever. The airship was designed by Sir Barnes Wallis and flew from Howden in December 1929.

The trail is to be 'opened' by his daughter, Mary Stopes Roe, who was two when the airship was launched.

An early car being ferried across from Booth to Airmyn

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