Sunday 29 May 2011

Norman the cockerel

Today we were given a new cockerel to keep our four hens in order. Norman is very large with impressive spurs and is mostly Cuckoo Maran so is a speckled grey. He is fastened into the pen at the moment getting to know his new wives but will soon be strutting his stuff around the garden.

At last the fig tree is showing signs of life with just an odd leaf appearing on the top branches. There will be no figs this year but at least the tree may survive.

I have been watching the house martins swooping around the yard catching insects. Most years we have swallows too but I have only seen the odd one so far. And, as they say, one swallow does not make a summer!

Tomorrow it is forecast to rain. It will not make for a good Bank Holiday but local farmers - and gardeners - need the ground to get a good soaking as it has been incredibly dry here  for the last month.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Emigration from East Yorkshire to Ontario

This week I had a visit from John and Sue from the US who were staying in Saltmarshe whilst tracing their family history.

Sue's great great grandfather Thomas Tomlinson had emigrated from Saltmarshe near Howden in 1826, sailing from Hull like so many other young men and making a new life for himself in Ontario.  They were hoping to find a record of Thomas' birth and although the date was not exactly right I think we found his baptism in the Howden parish records in 1803.

Sue is lucky as her great grandfather, Richard Tomlinson, wrote out an account of his ancestry which gave her some clues - and maybe a few red herrings - to follow up. She has given me permission to reproduce a little of the information here.

            Richard H. Tomlinson,  a history of his life

I believe it to be the duty of every head of a family, no matter what his station in life may be, to leave behind him some sort of a history of his life and doings not necessarily for publication but for the purpose of saving trouble and perhaps expense.  Altho I have no diary or record of my own life and so far as I am aware none of the family have kept any I am the more desirous that my children shall have all the facts before them imperfect as those facts may be and (was?) able as I am at this time to place them on record.


My father was an English immigrant coming to this country about the year 1826.  I am unable to give the name of the vessel but I have heard him say it was by a sailer and that it took them about 13 weeks to cross from Hull to Montreal. 
There being no canals at that time the journey from Montreal had to be made in Durham Boats, a sort of scow, in which the goods were placed and the passengers were obliged to assist in propelling up the rapids.  However, they reached their destination – Port Hope – Smiths Creek as it was then called – in due time and they at once proceeded to transfer their luggage to row boats in waiting, to the shore.
  My father came from a place called Saltmarsh near Howden in the East Riding of York.  The estate belonged I believe to Sir Titus Salt.  At all events my father was born and brought up as a farmer upon the estate and until he migrated to America was not off it.
  Coming as he did at that early date he brought little with him and so far as I am aware there is but little left of what he did bring.  A few books, amongst them a Prayer Book of the Episcopal church to which to which he belongs and some other books all of which have disappeared or are in possession of my sister Lizzie now Mrs. Albert Webster of Oshawa except a box which he brought with him now in our farm at Howden Holm.   I would like very much that this box be preserved it must be nearly 100 years old and the only article in our possession that Father brought with him from England. 
Saltmarsh is beautifully situated on the right hand or west side of the river Ouse a tributary or branch of the Humber about 4 miles from Howden and about 8 or 10 miles from Goole, the head of navigation in a beautiful farming or agricultural country.  There is also a church and grave yard, in which latter many of my ancestors lie. 

My mother

 Soon after landing at Port Hope or Smiths Creek as it was called, my father proceeded to Bletchers Corners, a considerable town in those days, where he got employment and met my mother Miss Gitty Gosling (daughter?) of John Gosling who came from Dutchess Co., who was a seamstress and worked for a Mr. Walton a tailor in Port Hope.
 From here they were married and went to Rochester NY by a sailing vessel.  Upon their return, they went to live on the Ashford farm about 2 miles east of Bletchers Corners.  I think it must have been Mr. Olney Ashford’s father, he of Hawaiian notoriety, be that as it may here on this farm, me and my oldest brother were born,  I understand, and we lived there for a year or two, perhaps longer I cannot say just how long.
 The Ashford farm was in the Township of Hamilton but Port Hope and Cobourg were the principal market towns.  Bletchers Corners however continued to be quite a busy place.  I have often heard my father speak of  Esq. Sowden(?) and I am inclined to think that he must have worked for the Squire when he came to this country or soon after it.

I found it fascinating to talk to John and Sue as my own relative, Robert Nurse from Eastrington, emigrated to Port Hope, as did other Eastrington families including the Bletchers and the Ainleys. I am sure they must all have known each other.

Friday 27 May 2011

Bursea chapel and Holme on Spalding Moor church

I had a very interesting time on Tuesday when a friend took me to visit the little chapel at Bursea near Holme on Spalding Moor. It stands on the site of an earlier chapel and was designed by well-known architect William Butterfield who designed, amongst other buildings, Keble College, Oxford. It was built by Goole stone mason Henry Kassell and paid for by the Sotheron-Estcourt family.

We then looked at the remains of the nearby Sod House lock on the Market Weighton canal and then climbed (by car!) to the top of Holme Hill and visited the church. I think the view from outside the church across to York Minster must be unrivalled. Inside the church still has its old pews and pulpit with sounding board and all  is beautifully clean and polished.

Monday 23 May 2011

William and Hannah Beal of Howden

Although most of the Goole Times weddings I am including refer to Goole people, here is a very interesting report about a Howden couple, Mr and Mrs William Beal. The report dates from 1930.

Mr Beal's premises were number 32 Market Place, Howden.

There is more information about this on my website, Howdenshire History.


One of Howden’s most esteemed couples Mr and Mrs William Beal celebrated their golden wedding on Tuesday and were recipients of over 50 letters and telegrams of congratulation, and many handsome presents including a purse of gold. Their association with Howden extends over half a century, whilst Mr Beal is a native of the town, where he has lived for 71 years.

Mr Beal is the eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs John Beal of Howden, and his father was a brewery owner in the town. Mrs Beal is the youngest daughter of the late Mr and Mrs William Hayton of Melbourne, and they were married on March 11th 1880 at the Howden Primitive Methodist Church by the late Rev George Shaw.

Mr Beal was educated at an old infant school which existed over the present Church Mission Room and was under the supervision of a Miss Empson, and later at Mrs Meyrick's school in Hailgate opposite the Wheatsheaf Inn, then at  the Wesleyan day school, and finally at the old National school in Pinfold Street.

At the age of 13 years he began his business career as apprentice to the late Mr Charles  Sutton, printer and stationer at the premises in the Market Place of which he subsequently became the proprietor, and which two years ago were taken over as the “Howdenshire Gazette” office. Mr Beal’s career was a striking example of how by dint of hard work and perseverance one may rise from the lowest position in a business to that of proprietor.

For two years he worked without a wage, and during his third year for half a crown a week. His day began at 5-30 am when his first duty was to despatch newspapers by post then to deliver throughout the town, and open the shop at 7 o’clock, at which time he was allowed a short break for breakfast. A fourteen and a half hour day ended at 8 pm. The journeyman printer in those days worked from 7 am to 7 pm for 24s a week. There were no holidays, not even a weekly half day. At the end of six years apprenticeship, during which he never received more than a few shillings a week, Mr Beal continued for 15 years in the service of the late Mr W L Rowntree, who had purchased the business from Mr Sutton.

The business then passed into the hands of Mr William Stockill for whom Mr Beal worked for many years and in 1903 he reaped the reward of his long labours by acquiring the business himself. For 25 years Mr Beal was one of the town’s most popular tradesmen, and it was in a large measure due to the devoted efforts of his wife that he built up a prosperous business from which he and Mrs Beal entered into well earned retirement two years ago.

With the exception of four years spent in Mr Stockill's employ when the latter's business was at a shop in Bridgegate,  Mr Beal spent 56 years at the business premises in the Market Place where he first started as apprentice.

His long connection with Howden naturally carries with it many interesting reminiscences of bygone days in the old town. He well remembers the annual steeplechases at Howden which were last run in 1872; the wonderful horse fair, when the extensive stabling accommodation of the town was inadequate to house the hundreds of horses which every year were sold to notabilities from this and other countries.

From boyhood Mr Beal was a chorister at the Parish Church, for which he and Mrs Beal have been loyal and energetic workers, and where they have regularly worshipped Mr Beal having been a sidesman for many years. He has been a member of the Kingston unity of Oddfellows for forty years and of the St Cuthbert’s lodge of Freemasons for about ten years.

Mr and Mrs Beal had three sons and one daughter, but only the latter survives, and there is one grandchild. On Tuesday they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their wedding day by a social evening in the Co-operative Hall to which relatives and a few intimate friends were invited and hospitality entertained.

We join in congratulating Mr and Mrs Beal on the celebration of such an auspicious day, and in the wish that they will live to spend many more years in their pretty little bungalow on the fringe of the town.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Family history day at Goole

I had a long day at the Waterways Museum yesterday at the family history event. I took copies of my local history books to sell (history of Eastrington, history of Gilberdyke and histories of Goole) as well as prints of many of my old photographs. I also had a display on screen of many of the local pictures.

The museum is down Dutch Riverside and not everyone knows it's there but it is well worth a visit. There is a small cafe and you can go on boat rides around the docks.

Unfortunately not too may people found the museum yesterday and although those of us manning the stalls, most of whom are all friends, had time for a chat, we did not see many new faces. I was able to help some visitors who wanted advice on how to trace their family tree but it was much quieter than last year.

This morning I had hoped to do some gardening but it is very windy and cool. I was pleased however to hear a cuckoo in the tall trees at the back of the garden. I do not think I heard one as close last year.

Friday 20 May 2011

Goole Times weddings - George and Annie Walsh

Here is another diamond wedding from the Goole Times of 1953:

George Henry Walsh and his wife, the former Annie Marie Pridmore


Two Goole octogenarians Mr and Mrs George Henry Walsh of 15 Third Avenue, today (Friday) celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Walsh were married at St Jude's church in Spring Bank Hull on October 23rd 1893 and have spent all their married life in Goole . Both enjoy good health and Mrs Walsh still does most of her own shopping.


Mr Walsh, at 83 a year older than his wife, is a native of Scalby near Newport  He started work on Goole Docks after his marriage when wages were 6d an hour with no basic minimum.  For three years during the First World War he worked at Barlow Airship Station, later returning to Goole as an L.M.S.R. worker.  He retired in 1935 but then he considered 65 too early for retiring age and worked for a further 5 years at South Park.

Mrs Walsh who came from Grimston near York and was Miss Annie Marie Pridmore before her marriage, worked at Malton, Hull and Goole in her younger days. In those days work was hard and pay poor, she said this week, young folk nowadays have little to grumble at.


When they first came to Goole Mr and Mrs Walsh lived in Montague Street, later moving to Carter Street and then to Weatherill Street before going to their present home some 37 years ago.  Both have vivid recollections of the Zeppelin raids on Goole during the First World War, Mr Walsh also remembers especially the Market Hall fire.

This year for the first time for seven or eight years Mr and Mrs Walsh missed their Blackpool holiday but are both looking eagerly forward to resuming their visits to the resort next summer.

Mr and Mrs Walsh have 6 daughters. There are 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

The anniversary is to be  celebrated with a family party.

If you would like to know whether your relatives may be amongst those whose photographs have been identified please contact me through my website Howdenshire History . Most of them so far are from the 1950s and 1960s.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Goole Times weddings - John William and Mary Hutton

This will, I hope, become one of a series sharing with a wider audience the interesting golden and diamond wedding reports which have  appeared over the years in the Goole Times. I have many pictures of these celebrating  couples in my photograph collection but until recently I did not know who most of them were.

I handed them over to Gilbert Tawn who has spent many hours in Goole library identifying the couples and finding the reports which went with each picture. So far he has seventy of them completed!

These reports give a fascinating picture of the lives that these local people led, mostly in the first part of the twentieth century. They were, for the most part, ordinary people who worked  in Goole in the shipyard, on the docks and  the canal or on the railway. Others were tradesmen and farm workers from Goole, Howden and the surrounding villages.

I shall add them here onto my blog as and when I can. The report below is as it appeared in the Goole Times newspaper in 1955

John William Hutton and his wife, the former Mary Alice Coleman



A couple who have both been readers of the “Goole Times” for over 50 years, Mr and Mrs John William Hutton of Sanders View, Skelton are today (Friday) celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

They were married at St David's Church Airmyn by the curate the Rev W Waters on August 19th 1895.

Mr Hutton, who will be 82 in October was born at the Jolly Sailor, Skelton, and began work at the age of 15 with the late Mr Joseph Glew,  the Goole furniture dealer as an upholsterer and polisher. He then became a journeyman, working at Scarborough and Nottingham before returning to Goole to continue his trade with Messrs Millard and Eastham.

During the First World War Mr Hutton saw active service in France with the Royal Engineers. On returning to England he set up his own upholstery and polishing business, a business which he kept up until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.  He then went to work at Goole shipyard where an accident caused his retirement some 10 years ago.


Mr Hutton is the oldest freemason in the district, having been a member of St Cuthbert's lodge for 52 years. His fellow freemasons recently presented him with a gift to mark his diamond wedding anniversary.

Mrs Hutton who is 78 is a native of Manchester. She came to this district 65 years ago and worked as a dress maker for Miss Precious in Jefferson Street Goole.

Immediately after their marriage Mr and Mrs Hutton lived in Parliament Street Goole before moving to Skelton and then returning to Goole - a move which they carried out a number of times. For many years they lived in Jackson Street.

While living in Goole both Mr and Mrs Hutton were regular attenders at St Paul's Church and the Parish Church, Mr Hutton recalls that for several weeks in 1891 he walked from Skelton to Hook across the frozen river Ouse. He also recalls helping the wounded in North Street after the bombing raid on Goole in the First World War.

Mr and Mrs Hutton who both enjoy good health have four sons, three daughters, 14 grandchildren, and fifteen great grandchildren.

To mark the anniversary a reception will be held at St Paul's school room, Goole tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.

If you would like to know whether your relatives may be amongst those whose photographs have been identified please contact me in comments below or through my website Howdenshire History . Most of them so far are from the 1950s and 1960s.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

From my garden

I am lucky to have a large garden with several mature trees and a pond. At present the pond is quite empty as it takes the roof water from the house and the recent lack of rain means the level is very low. However I was pleased to see some tadpoles the other day and the yellow flag is just coming into flower.

The old country saying about the oak and the ash came to mind today as my oak trees have been out for several weeks whereas my very tall ash is only just beginning to green up. According to the rhyme, oak before ash means we shall have a splash whereas ash before oak means we shall have a soak. So a dry summer seems on the cards.

I have been watching my fig tree with some trepidation. It is at least 30 years old and planted against a south facing wall. We have had some good crops of figs in the past but so far it has no leaves. There is a leafy sucker near the roots and a few green knobbly bits on the main trunk so I am hoping it will eventually be alright. The severe winter killed my long-established bay tree - I can only hope the fig will recover.

Changing face of Howden - a talk on 1st June

I had a bit of a surprise yesterday when I received a phone call from Sue Chapman, chair of the Howden Civic Society. The speaker for the next meeting was unable to attend and so she wondered if I could give a talk at short notice.

So instead of hearing about herbal remedies the members will be looking at  pictures of Howden, showing how much it has changed over the years. In  fact the Market Place and the central area of the town have remained much the same and new buildings have fitted in well  but there have been bigger changes in other areas.

Luckily Arthur Henrickson who has always been a keen photographer took many photos of Howden as it changed and I shall be incorporating some of these pictures into my talk.

So why not come along on 1st June to the Masonic Hall at 7.30pm. And if you want a preview explore the Howden pages and photos on my website - Howdenshire History.

Monday 16 May 2011

Hackforth's cafe in Goole

One of Goole's most popular shops was Hackforth's on Boothferry Road. I have recently been asked for any old pictures of the shop and Gilbert Tawn has kindly sent me this picture of the staff.

Not only was Hackforth's a  high class grocer's and bakery but upstairs was a cafe where ladies could  drink morning coffee and take afternoon tea and where many a Goole couple held their wedding reception.

From left [we think]  Marion Higgins, unknown, Mary Fenwick, Eva Balcam,  Grace Barker,  Eileen Smith, Iris Revell, Irene Whitely, Sam Spence.

Emigration from East Yorkshire

One of my particular interests is in families from this area of Yorkshire who emigrated to US and Canada in the nineteenth century. Now thanks to the internet their descendants can find their roots and some come and visit.

Although, having said that, I have a wonderful collection of letters [only copies] which chronicle the story of the Thompson/Medd and other Eastrington families who emigrated to the Port Hope area of Canada in the 1820s/30s. The families kept in touch very regularly.

Recently I have been contacted by descendants of Thomas Tomlinson of Saltmarshe near Howden. He left in 1826 but never forgot his roots and passed on to his family details of where he came from. Now his descendants are coming from Canada to see where he lived.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Family history day at Yorkshire Waterways Museum, Goole

I am looking forward to the family history day at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum on Dutch Riverside in Goole. This is taking place next Saturday 21st May from 10am to 4pm. It is always very friendly and I am having a stall/ display there alongside my friends from the Boothferry Family and Local History Group and the Marshland History group.

I have a very large collection of old historical photographs of the area and am going to take some of my albums as well as a lot of digital images to display on a screen attached to my laptop. It is an ongoing task cataloguing these old pictures and of course I keep adding more as people lend me their interesting old postcards and family snaps.

However today I have also been outside gardening and creating a fence to keep the chickens off my vegetable plot. In any case the plants are not growing very well as it is so dry and the chickens are enjoying dust baths amongst the young potatoes.

Howden Civic Society, May 11th 2011

On Wednesday evening I went to the monthly meeting of the Howden Civic Society. The speaker was John Smith of Hull who gave us an interesting talk on the history on the Hull and East Riding Co-operative Society in Howden.
It was exactly one hundred years ago this month [ May 1911] that branch number 23 was opened on Churchside in Howden.  In 1937 the branch moved premises into the newly converted old Half Moon Inn in Market Place. They remain there today. 

 Below is a picture of the original premises. This building has recently been demolished and re-built as flats - pleasingly  the style is very much in keeping with the original.

The old Co-op premises in Howden

There is a picture of the old Half Moon inn on my website Howdenshire History where I have lots more information on the history of Howden and pictures

Welcome to my blog

I have been interested in local history for many years and also in family history. My mother's ancestors, the Nurse family, have lived in Eastrington since the seventeenth century and so learning about the history of the village meant I also learned about my own family at the same time.

After several years teaching history to children at Howden School I moved on to teach local history to adults for the WEA and have long-running classes in Goole, Howden and Eastrington.

I also write articles and books about local history and work as a professional genealogist with a special interest in Yorkshire.

In any spare time I am a keen gardener, trying to tame a plot of about an acre although the weeds usually win. I also keep a few chickens, a cat and share the house with my daughter.