Wednesday 26 December 2012

East Yorkshire dialect

I have always enjoyed listening to those people I know who still use out local dialect quite naturally. And having been brought up in the area around Howden I too still use some dialect expressions myself - although unless someone tells you that you are doing so how do you know?

One expression commonly used in our family is  'all taffled up' when describing maybe a ball of string or recently the heap of cable and Christmas lights we had pulled out of a cardboard box. It is a version of tangled up and is apparently peculiar to Yorkshire. I am not sure even if  it is only used in East Yorkshire.

Another discussion I had recently, after looking at the weather,  was about words meaning raining. I said 'it's teeming down' which I do not think is East Yorkshire dialect but then someone else used the phrase 'siling down' which I think is.

A sile is  derived from the Scandinavian word for a sieve and a local farmer's wife once told me that it was used of a particular type of sieve in a dairy where the milk ran straight through - hence it's raining heavily.

I could probably think of many more but here are just  a few phrases and words which I know, some of which are from my childhood but many of which I have heard used in the last few months - can you add any more?

it's slape - slippery

that fire is up to the galleybokes [one of my father's from Driffield, describing a fire piled with coal almost up to the gallows balk, which was what a hook hung on and from which a pot hung]

it's wick - meaning alive, often with fleas although a visitor once asked me if a particular cable was wick [live - ie had power through it]

goodies - sweets, although people from West Yorkshire often refer instead to 'spice'

drinkins - the drink taken out to farm workers in mid morning, sometimes also called 'lowance'

flitting - moving house

bairns - children

I will finish with what is supposedly a true story about Yorkshire road and rail signs. I will leave readers to check how true it is!

Several road signs had to be changed after Yorkshire people were  very confused by those at bridges and rail crossings which read 'Do not cross while lights are flashing'. Locally the word 'while' means until - e.g. 'wait there while I come back'.

Meanwhile I will take Molly out for a walk across the claggy field, returning all clarty having walked through countless slop holes but grateful that at least it is now a cockstride lighter.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Christmas Past

It seems appropriate as we approach Christmas to have a look back at how the season was celebrated locally in times past. We are at present having wet weather but it is not too cold.

However in December 1878 the York Herald reported that it was well below freezing and the rivers were frozen. It is interesting in these days of a long Christmas break to read that on Christmas Day the businesses were closed - which suggests that they were probably open on all other days. The report begins with what was happening in York and then moves to Goole and Howden.

From the York Herald, Saturday 28th December 1878

"Those who have sighed for a 'good old-fashioned' Christmas have at length had their wishes realised to the full, for the weather is of a more severe character than any that has been experienced for many years.

In York Christmas Day was observed in the orthodox fashion, the various places of business being closed, and services held in the different churches and chapels.

The hallowed day was ushered in by a gladdening peal on the Minster bells, and as soon as the day was fairly born the waits awoke the stillness by their carols and hymns. The Ouse and Foss being frozen, hundreds indulged in the exhilarating and healthy exercise of skating, of which for several seasons they have been deprived.

The inmates of the York Union Workhouse, numbering about 60 more than last year, were supplied with a substantial Christmas dinner, consisting of roast beef, potatoes, and plum pudding. To supply such a large number of appetites 67 stones of beef, 10 bushels of mashed potatoes, and 55 plum puddings, were called into requisition. The plum puddings were made up of 210lbs of currants, 70lbs of brown sugar, 40lbs of ground lump sugar, 120lbs of moist sugar, 13lbs of sultana raisins, 33lbs of lemon peel, and 60lbs of suet.

At tea, currant cakes, baked out of 20 stones of flour, were served up with as much of the "cup that cheers but not inebriates" as the inmates desired. Various parts of the house were decorated with evergreens and mottoes, and everything was done to render those to whom the institution afforded shelter from the cruel blast of poverty, contented and happy.

For the first time for several years, Christmas Day has come with the river blocked with ice, and with consequently a large number of men unemployed. The companies, in whose hands the steam trade of the port rests, have made strenuous efforts to keep the channel open, but the great block of ice in Goole Reach has baffled their efforts, and their steamers have had to return to Goole after a struggle of an exciting nature, in which the ice was the victor.

The river now presents a very picturesque appearance. Blocks of ice, stranded on the shoal sands, rise to a height of 10 or 12 feet out of the water, dotting the river for miles, while portions of the channel are covered with great sheets of ice closely heaped together, over some of which men and youths have crossed.

The Aire, the Dutch river (or Don), and the Derwent, are all blocked. On Christmas Day the thermometer was 22 deg., or ten below freezing, but until noon the weather was fine and bright. After that hour it clouded over and became very foggy. The parish church, which was very prettily decorated by the ladies of the parish, was well attended, the Christmas sermon being preached by the Rev. Dr. Bell, vicar of Goole.

At Snaith, Rawcliffe, Hook, Airmyn, and the other parishes round, the churches were suitably decorated. To meet the needs arising out of the distress, coals were distributed on Christmas eve, and on Wednesday, at the Market Hall, there was a soup boiling, tickets being given by the committee to those persons suffering from the present stagnation of trade or by the frost.

At the workhouse the usual treat was provided for the inmates by the Guardians, and a number of ladies and gentlemen attended to assist. The guardians present were Mr Huntington, Mr Bromley, and Mr Gleadow, and, notwithstanding the extra number of inmates, the house being full, there was enough and to spare. The visitors included Mrs and the Misses Wells, of Boothferry House, the Rev. T. Dickin, &c. At the close the usual speeches were made, and a very pleasant afternoon was passed.


The usual services were held at Howden Church, which was tastefully decorated, and a service was also held in connection with the Wesleyan body. The inmates of the workhouse had their accustomed treat in the shape of a dinner of roast beef and plum pudding, with other little luxuries for the inmates after dinner. The ice was the centre of attraction in tbe afternoon, and skating was indulged in by a great number of people both down the Selby-road and at the Kilpin Brick-yards."


A later newspaper report comes from the Hull Mail in 1936:


"Goole spent a cheerful Christmas, reflecting the recent improvement in trade of the port, and family parties, football and dancing were the chief attractions.

The aged, the sick, and the poor were not forgotten, and there were the usual festivities at the hospitals and institutions. The Mayor and Mayoress (Alderman and Mrs S. G. Bevan), with a number of other guests, attended the Christmas dinner at the Poor Law Institution, where an original note had been struck in the decorative scheme, the dining hall being bedecked to represent a cruise on an ocean liner.

The Christmas fare included beer provided by Mr Fred Taylor. In the evening a concert organised by Alderman and Mrs Ernest Johnson was given by Mr Geo. Waud (tenor), Mr E. Walker (baritone), Miss D. Bullock (elocutionist), B. Fish (ventriloquist), Mr Harold Dodson (piano accordion), Mr G. W. Jennings (piano), the Cliftonians Mandolin Band, and the pupils of the Bradley School of Dancing.

At the Bartholomew Hospital, each patient received a present and was allowed two visitors to tea. The Mayor and Mayoress toured the wards, and Father Christmas (Dr. K. Barrett) handed gifts from the Christmas tree to the patients and visitors. In the evening Mr H. Dodson entertained with his piano accordion, and on Boxing Day a cinematograph show was given by Mr H. Kay.

Nearly 300 poor children of the town were present at the annual Christmas Day breakfast organised by Carlisle Terrace Church Christian Endeavour Society. The Mayor and Mayoress also attended this effort, and Mr Sam Lister, acting as Father Christmas, distributed toys and sweets to the boys and girls."


I hope all readers of this blog have a merry Christmas and enjoy their Christmas dinner. I hope too that the rivers are not frozen and the weather clement!

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Goole coal hoists

I am hoping to clear up a minor mystery here. I have recently read  two books which include pictures of Goole where the coal hoists are described as 'pepper pot hoists'.

I think the newer book took the description from the first one. I know that the Goole water towers are often affectionately known as 'salt and pepper' because of their shape.

But other than in these books I have never come across the hoists being described as pepper pots - although looking at the hoists it is perfectly possible to see where the idea came from. So is this something I have just never picked up on or is it something written in the books which is unknown to Goole people?

The hydraulically operated coal hoists were invented by William Hamond Bartholomew to lift the floating pans or compartments (called Tom Puddings locally) full of coal and tip them into the hold of a ship. They were in use - five of them eventually - from 1863 and were unique to Goole. One hoist has been preserved and can still be seen today.

Here is a picture of a hoist in action in Goole docks. Was it ever called a pepper pot?

Sunday 25 November 2012

Charles Crump and his memories of Reedness

Some years ago whilst reading the old files of the Goole Times for 1937 I came across some articles entitled 'Marshland of 70 years ago'.  They were written by an anonymous author who recalled his childhood in Reedness when he was aged 6 in 1867.

His recollections were very detailed and the Marshland Local History Group have recently incorporated them into a beautifully produced book entitled Memories of Reedness . The book also includes the memories of present day Reedness residents - and former residents - including my friend Bill Wroot whose memories are included on my website.

Bill Wroot and his wife Gudrun at the launch of Memories of Reedness

The group has used censuses and maps to trace the history of Reedness people and houses in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

There are enough clues in the memories from 1937 to trace the author. He was, I believe,  Charles Crump who was born in Upper Peover in Cheshire. His parents were Samuel Crump born in Warwick and his wife Ann [ Hannah, Anna], formerly Reynolds of Packington in Warwickshire.

They married in 1843 and spent several years in Over Peover in Cheshire where their children were all born. Samuel was the  village schoolmaster and his wife Anna was schoolmistress. In February 1866 they moved with their two youngest sons, James and Charles to Reedness.

Charles and James grew up in Reedness. Charles followed in his parents' footsteps and was a pupil teacher on the opening day of Goole Alexandra St schools on 17th January 1876. From 1880 when his father became ill he took over the school at Reedness until his father died in 1883.

He later was headmaster at Little Harrowden, Northamptonshire where he lived with his family.

He died, I believe in 1942.

If anyone has family connections with the Crump family I would be pleased to hear from them and confirm that the memories were indeed written by Charles Crump.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Howden history book launch

We spent yesterday in the Shire Hall at Howden , meeting people and selling copies of my new book about the history of Howden ('Howden, a Pictorial History').

Friday is when Howden has a small market and so we set up our display of old photos and artefacts amongst stalls selling clothing and handmade crafts. There is also a regular coffee morning in the hall and so while signing books we were able to have coffee and toasted teacakes.

I am very pleased with the book. Broadleys of Goole who have printed it have done an excellent job of reproducing the old photos which are all clear and sharp. There is also quite a lot of text which I hope is informative and interesting.

I have been researching the local history of Howden for some 40 years and people have loaned me many beautiful pictures to copy as well as sharing their memories. It was lovely to meet so many of them yesterday.

My book is now available to buy in Chappelows' newsagents in Howden and Goole  or through my website Howdenshire History at a cost of £10.50.

I am hoping for a peaceful weekend, nursing my cold and sitting over a log fire.

Launch of Howden, a Pictorial History in Howden Shire Hall

Sunday 11 November 2012

SS Mersey of Goole

I am writing this on the morning of 11th November, Remembrance Day and thought it would be right to include here a memorial to some of the many servicemen and women, including those who served in the Merchant Navy.

Captain William Rockett, lost on the sinking of the SS Mersey

Shown above is Captain William Rockett who was lost when the SS Mersey sank on 20th April 1940. It was believed that she had hit a mine.

The report in the Hull Mail of 22nd April 1940 follows:

'Goole Steamer Mined with Loss of 14


GOOLE'S biggest shipping disaster since the outbreak of war occurred on Saturday, when the 1,037-ton collier Mersey sank off the south-east coast following an explosion, and 14 of her crew of 20 were lost. It is believed that she struck a mine.

The ship was only a few miles from the shore at the time of the explosion, and it sank within a few minutes. A man walking on the cliffs at the time said: "I was looking out to sea, and there was suddenly terrific explosion. A column of water shot into the air. The ship I had been looking at a few minutes before had disappeared."

With the exception of two, who came from Hull and Bridlington, all the crew belonged to Goole. The missing men included the master, Captain W. Rockett, of 81, Adeline-street, Goole. The other members of the crew were:

Second Officer, J. A. Vickers, 717, Anlaby-road, Hull
Steward, T. W. Garner, Lime Tree-avenue, Goole
T. Nicholls, A.B., Edinburgh-street, Goole
C. E. Riggall, A.B., Gordon-street, Goole
F. Vaux, A.B., Cottingham-street Goole
T. Wilson, A.B., Estcourt-street, Goole
J. P. Leddy, A.B., Promenade, Bridlington
F. Overington, A.B., Burlington-crescent, Goole
T. Nicholls, A.B., Edinburgh-street, Goole
E. Barker, Deck boy, Chiltern-road, Goole
F. Huntington, fireman, Percy-street, Goole
H. Walton, fireman, Western-road, Goole
H. Ducheman, fireman, Gordon-street, Goole
E. W. Cox, fireman, Prospect terrace, Goole
S. E. Clark, fireman, Bell-lane, Rawcliffe
R. W. Taun, fireman, Cross Gordon-street, Goole

The survivors are:

Chief Officer, J. A. Carr, Rutland-road, Goole
Chief Engineer, W. L. Pollock, Eton-road, Goole
Second Engineer, J. A. Drury, Brough-street, Goole
F. Vaux, A.B., Cottingham-street, Goole
T. Wilson, A.B., Estcourt-street, Goole

Vickers died of his wounds after being landed. Three survivors, Drury, Vaux and Ash, were injured and are in hospital at the port where they were landed. The other three, Carr, Pollock, and Wilson, were unhurt, and returned to Goole in the early hours of Sunday.


Seen by a "Mail" representative, the men would make no statement beyond saying that they had had shocking experience. 

The SS Mersey, owned by the Goole Steam Shipping (L.M.S.R.) Co., served throughout the last war as a cable ship. The last ship to be lost by the company was the SS Calder, which foundered on a voyage from Hamburg to Goole on April 19 1931, nine years ago almost to the day. 

Captain Rockett, who was 47 years of age, entered the service of the company as a chief officer in 1924, and had occasional temporary commands until 1929, when he became a permanent master. He was one of the company's youngest captains, and had been in command of the Mersey for about 12 months. 

During the last war he was both mined and torpedoed. 

Two years ago his 19 year old son, Jack Rockett, was killed by falling from the mast of a ship in port at Cartagena, Spain, while adjusting the wireless aerial. 


Captain Rockett was a Younger Brother of Trinity House, and a member of the Goole (Aire and Calder) Lodge of Freemasons. He leaves a wife, two sons, and two daughters. 

Garner, the steward, was a married man with four children, and most of the other missing men were married with families. Riggall was injured when the Goole trader Lowland was mined in the early days of the war, and this trip on the Mersey was his first since coming out of hospital. 

Able Seaman Joseph P. Leddy, of tbe Promenade, Bridlington, was making his first trip for 12 years. A married man with one child, he had lived at Bridlington for about eight years. He was 37 years of age and the son of the late Mr P. M. Leddy, who was senior clerk to the Customs at Goole during the early part of the last war. For some time before joining the merchant service Leddy had been unemployed. His mother, Mrs Leddy, lives at Priory-crescent, Bridlington. '

William Pollock was sadly lost in another incident in 1941

SS Mersey of Goole

Saturday 10 November 2012

Howden book launch - Friday November 23rd

It is a lovely sunny November weekend and I have been out with Molly having a bonfire of hedge clippings and old cardboard boxes. Molly has enjoyed snuffling in the undergrowth in the wood and I have been collecting fallen twigs to bring in to dry. They make good firelighters for both the Rayburn and the front room fire.

I have now fixed a date to launch my book about Howden. I have booked a table in the Shire Hall for Friday 23rd November from 9 am  (there is a market in Howden on Fridays) and am going sit behind it,  sign my books and hopefully meet lots of old friends and make new ones!! There will be an exhibition of old local photos and objects as well as refreshments available.

I am selling my books that day at £10 a copy - the normal price will be £10.50. I hope readers will enjoy it - I have enjoyed writing it. Many people have shared information and photographs with me and although like any author I am always a bit nervous about possible mistakes I am looking forward to sharing what I have written with a wider audience.

It seems appropriate to launch it actually inside the building which is shown on the front cover - see my previous blog post for the front cover picture.

Back cover of my Howden history book 

Thursday 1 November 2012

Goole family history day and new Howden book

Just a reminder that there is a family history day in Goole library on Saturday 3rd November from 10am to 4pm. I shall be there, as will the Boothferry History group, the Goole First World War research group, the Marshland history Group and, I think, the Isle of Axholme family history society.

We all have lots of indexes and information and will try to help anyone who needs help with their family history.

I am relieved this week to have taken my new book on Howden to the printers. I hope to have it on sale by mid November.

In 1994 I wrote a book on the history of Howden [ Howden an East Riding Market Town] with my fellow local historian Ken Powls. This book told the story of Howden from its earliest beginnings to 1900. It has long been out of print and so I decided to continue the story into the twentieth century.

This new book is a pictorial history of the town and contains 88 pages of old photographs as well as a detailed text describing how Howden developed from late Victorian times.

I have been lucky to talk to many local people who have both loaned me pictures and shared their memories.

Now I can perhaps spend a bit of time in the garden before it gets too cold. The leaves are coming down fast and our lawn is a beautiful orange carpet. There are far too many to collect and so I shall just enjoy looking at them.

Front cover of new history book about Howden

Sunday 21 October 2012

East Cowick church book

Recently published is a fascinating booklet on the history of Holy Trinity church, East Cowick. Written by local historian Ken Sayner [for the Snaith and District Historical Society] the beautifully produced A4 booklet is entitled A Walk around Holy Trinity Church East Cowick.

The foundation stone for the church was laid in 1853 at the same time as the stones for churches at Hensall and Pollington. All three churches were designed by architect William Butterfield.

While the Cowick church was being built  church services, including baptisms took place in a room in nearby Cowick Hall. There is a list of these baptisms in the book.

There is also a lot of detail about the clergy and other families involved with the church as well as details of those local men who have been lost as a result of war; not only the world wars but also the conflict in Northern Ireland and the war in Iraq.

One of the families who were long associated with the church was the Clark family who were solicitors in Snaith. Sadly the plaque recording the dedication of the lychgate to Miss Frederica Louisa Clark in 1938 was recently stolen, presumably for its scrap value.

The proceeds of the sales from this booklet will be used to replace the plaque.

Copies of the booklet are available from Ken Sayner at 8, Walnut Crescent, Snaith at a cost of £6. [plus £1.50 p and p].

Below is a page from the booklet showing the church interior and some of the stained glass.

Inside East Cowick church

New local books

I spent yesterday at the Local History bookfair at the Treasure House in Beverley. It is a popular annual event and I met many friends from the local history world. We had a stall selling books on Eastrington, Goole and Gilberdyke as well as ephemera and prints and photo discs.

I bought  two new books and am enjoying reading them.

One was a history of the drainage around the Market Weighton and Wallingfen area written by John Waudby. The book has a lot of detail on the history of the  Market Weighton canal and includes detailed information from the board minutes. From a family historian's point of view you can read about the lock keepers at both Sod House lock and the Humber lock. But I am also enjoying reading about the development of the canal and the problems caused by the fact that it was both an industrial canal and a drain.

The book is available from the drainage board offices in Howden.

The other book I bought was about  the transport history of Selby [ A History of Transport through Selby]. This is by local historian David Lewis and although I have not had time to read this book yet it certainly has some lovely illustrations of Selby's hidden heritage.

The next event in my local history calendar is a family history day on 3rd November at Goole library. I have no further details as yet.

Below is a picture of the inscription on the Market Weighton or Humber lock commemorating the building of the canal and lock.

Stone at Humber Lock near Faxfleet

Sunday 7 October 2012

Beverley local history book fair

It has been a busy week for local history. On Wednesday I attended the Howden Civic Society awards evening. The room was full as Mike Smith presented Tom Asquith awards to Howden Junior school pupils who had made superb pencil drawings of Howden's heritage.

The head teacher of the school then explained to us how the school was celebrating its  centenary in  2013 - previously I had always believed the date to be 1912, but this was when the school was being built and it did not open until April 7th 2013. She asked for our help to gather photos and memories for an exhibition. Can you help? Please do get in touch if you can.

On Friday I gave a presentation at Newport Wesleyan chapel to celebrate its opening in May 1812. I began by playing the 1812 overture and explaining how Europe was at war whilst in Newport they were peacefully opening their new and impressive chapel. I showed pictures of many of the 48 villages who had had grazing rights on the old Wallingfen Common before it was drained and the settlement which became Newport grew up where the road crossed the new canal.

I always enjoy giving talks at such community events as the atmosphere is so friendly and I often learn a lot from listening to the audience.

Don't forget that October 20th 2012 is the local and family history book fair at Beverley in the Treasure House. I shall be there with the Gilberdyke Local History stall. If you are coming and have any particular photograph requests then please do let me know in advance (you can contact me through my website) and I can have a look for you:

I have hundreds of old photos of the East Yorkshire, Howdenshire and Goole areas - most of which haven't made it onto my website so do ask. There will also be our Gilberdyke Remembered book on sale and my books on Eastrington and Goole.

Do come and say hello.

Friday 21 September 2012

Howden tomatoes and grapes

While researching material for my book on Howden I often become distracted and spend much longer than necessary following up ideas.

One such distraction this week has been market gardening around the town. There was a lot of soft fruit grown which was transported by rail to the fruit markets of Hull, Leeds and sometimes London. Apparently Howden was a good plum growing area.

But most interestingly I have been reading and talking about the grape growing industry. There were grapes grown in hot houses in all the large houses such as Howden Hall, Sandhall and Knedlington Manor but in the later nineteenth century commercial vineries were established.

Mr Henry Holmes Moore is credited with beginning this - his vineries were down Hailgate. But soon afterwards Mr George Henry Shaw built grape greenhouses at the end of St John St. I have seen a lovely picture of a wedding reception held in the greenhouses where the tables are laid out under the vines which are bearing huge bunches of grapes.

An area of new housing in Howden has been named The Vinery but as yet I have not found that grape growing took place on the site [do get in touch if you know differently]. It lies off Kensington Gardens where I know that tomatoes were grown.

Howden Tomatoes were famed throughout Yorkshire and travellers from the West Riding to Bridlington and the coast would often stop and buy them on their way home. I recently sampled a Clibran's Victory tomato - grown from an original Howden tomato seed. Its taste was delicious and I could understand why they were so popular.

Thursday 13 September 2012

WEA local history classes

It seems some time since I wrote a post and quite a lot seems to have been going on.

On Sunday we spent some time in The Lowther hotel in Goole as it was the heritage weekend and members of the public were welcome to visit the murals in the upstairs rooms. There were quite a few visitors and several were local Goole people who had heard of the murals but had not previously seen them.

We are still not sure who painted them but they represent the docks at Goole sometime in the 1830s and are beautifully detailed.

My WEA local history classes begin next week.

Monday afternoon [ September 17th ] 1.30pm in Howden upstairs at the East Riding customer service building  where we will study the history of Howden, the  local villages and Goole.

Tuesday afternoon [ September 18th] 1.30 pm at Eastrington village hall where we shall study the village of Eastrington, the local villages and Snowden Dunhill

Thursday morning [ September 20th] 10am at Ilkeston Avenue Community centre in Goole where we shall study the history of Goole and the Marshland.

All these classes are very friendly and you are welcome to contact me for more details or come along to the first class to see what it is like. No previous enrolment is necessary.

My book on the history of Howden is coming on well and I still hope to have it out for Xmas - but I find it hard not to write too much!!

Sunday 26 August 2012

Molly and the washer and the Howden beadle

This has been a busy week for family history with visits to both the archives at Beverley and the Borthwick Institute at York.

Whilst at Beverley I looked at the Howden vestry minute book  [PE 121/63] which is full of fascinating information about the highways and the poor.

I was interested to read that Howden had a beadle in 1780. Samuel South was chosen in place of Matthew Iveson. He had to provide his own utensils - wheelbarrow, spade, cowl rake, besoms etc and use them to clean the causeys [causeways - which could refer to either streets or footpaths] including St Hellin's Square, Northolmby Causey, Langton's Causey and Pinfold Causey.

A beadle was a parish official with several duties, as mentioned in Oliver Twist, although in Howden one of his major roles seems to have been street cleaning.

Today our quite new Hotpoint washer made a strange whirring noise and came to a halt in the middle of washing a load of clothes. It refused to pump out and we could not open the door. The chances of summoning an engineer to arrive on a Bank Holiday seemed low.

So we read the troubleshooting guide which came with the washer and found there was a filter we could examine at the front of the machine. It said 'a  little water may leak out'. In fact a lot of water poured out all over the floor. Then eventually, after a little more research on the internet, we found that we should check something called the impeller which should rotate freely. It did not.

We could see something caught in it and using a pair of pliers we extracted a small piece of cane. It had been chewed off the log basket near the washer by Molly. How it had got into the washer is a mystery. But the washer returned to life and is now recovered.

We love Molly dearly but since she also recently managed to cut off the power we are waiting, possibly vainly, for her to realise she is no longer a puppy!!

Saturday 18 August 2012

Charles Briggs of Howden

I am researching details for a book I am writing about Howden. It is some years since I wrote a history of Howden with Ken Powls. The book was very popular but is now out of print. So I am now writing a pictorial history  (probably in several short volumes as I have done for Goole) which will include both pictures and text.

Whilst writing about the Ashes Playing Field which, along with the Manor House was given to the people of Howden by Charles Briggs in 1927 I came across an article about Charles Briggs' will which I thought was interesting. It appeared in the Hull Daily Mail in 1950:


Charles Briggs, of Howden, who left £75,933 (£75,612 net), said in his will, published today, "In a previous will now revoked I had provided a legacy of £12,000 to establish and endow six rest houses for the poor of Howden. Since then the various trade unions have caused a general unrest among the working class and, in consequence, I have thought it necessary to provide for more deserving persons than the misguided working class.

"I consider that by taxation to meet the unemployment, old-age pensions and assistance from Government in these ways I have already contributed sufficient to a trade union-ridden class, whose extravagant demands for higher wages, shorter hours and restricted output, and unwillingness to work overtime, has resulted in withdrawal of my sympathy from them to the suffering and neglected middle class, who are so deservedly looked after by the said Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association."

 Mr Briggs. a benefactor to Howden, died at Bournemouth in February, aged 86. Probate of his will has been granted to Gerald R. H. Wright, of Homeland, Greyfriars-crescent. Beverley and Charles A. C. Wilkinson, of Wakefield. He left £400 to Charles A. C. Wilkinson, and the residue upon trust for his wife for life and then:

 Two thousand pounds to the Royal UK Beneficent Association, to found the "Charles Briggs Annuity," to show my sympathy for the suffering middle class as present - day legislation only tends to ease the lot of the worker, and entirely overlooks the condition of the class that is eligible for assistance from this excellent association.

 £8,000 to York Diocesan Board Finance upon trust to pay the income to the curate for the time being of the parish of Howden. or to any existing stipend fund of the said parish.
 £275 upon trust to pay the income between  the bellringers of Howden Parish Church as a Christmas honorarium,
 £165 to the parochial church council on condition various family graves are maintained, and £165 towards the general maintenance of the churchyard.

 He desired that a tablet commemorating all his and his wife's benefactions to the church and town of Howden be erected on the wall of St. Peter's Church, Howden.

 He left £100 to Richard Tiplady, whether or not still employed as groundsman at the Ashes Playing Field, Howden, "to mark my appreciation of the interest he has always shown in my playing field scheme."

Other bequests included: £500 to Hull Guild of Poor Brave Things; £300 each to Dr Barnardo's Homes, and the NSPCC; £250 to the Yorkshire Home for Incurables, Harrogate; £150 to Leeds Children's Holiday Camp Fund; £3,000 if a spinster, £500, if not, each Janet, Evelyne, Ethel and Hilda, daughters of the late Henry Green, solicitor, of Howden; £50 to Mrs Jane Loving, of  Bridport, Dorset; £5.000, if a spinster or widow, otherwise £1,000, to his wife's niece. Neta: £1,000 to Gerald Wright, and £1,000 upon trust for Mrs Edith Wright and then to her son, Gerald Wright: £1,500 upon trust for Laura Wright for life and then for her sons, William and Ruby, and £550 each to them.
 Other legacies, and one fourth the remainder to Ashes Playing Field, Howden, upon trust for the maintenance of the 16 acres of recreation field, which he had given to Howden, and three fourths to the vicar and churchwardens of Howden, to one part for the church fabric fund, providing a memorial tablet  which has been or will be erected to the memory of Rev William Hutchinson. MA (vicar there from 1862- 1902), and two parts for the assistant curate fund."

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Goole library

Yesterday I visited the newly re-opened Goole library. I was particularly interested to see how the move of the local studies library downstairs had worked out.

I have been using the local studies library upstairs for some 40 years [writing that it seems an awfully long time!]. I remember writing articles in the Goole Times about local history when I was a student and finding an untold wealth of information in the library.

The librarian then was Miss Isa? Thompson who was very helpful and keen to make the library somewhere that Goole could be proud of.

Anyway I think that this move downstairs may work out well. Not everyone who visited the library knew how many resources were available upstairs and now many of the books seem  more attractively displayed.

There is still a wealth of material behind the scenes which I hope will come out - Howden parish books and the original Saltmarshe book manuscript to name a couple - as well as many lovely old photographs. It is a difficult balance between protecting material and making it accessible.

And we have yet to see how easy it is to work there when the library is very busy.

Goole library - built originally as a furniture store!

On my way home I did some shopping and after unloading it left the rear door of my car open. Sometime later I noticed and shut the door. Much, much later, around midnight I went out to the car and opened the driver's door.

 I was shocked to be attacked by a mad creature hurling itself out of the car in the moonlight. It was Poppy, our cat who had obviously climbed into the car when the door was open and had gone to sleep. When I got over the shock I was pleased that I had inadvertently rescued her from her prison.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Churchyard visits

Today has been a day of churchyard visits. I had been asked to take pictures of gravestones at both Snaith and Howden and travelled from one to the other. In many ways they are similar towns - both market towns with many impressive houses built in the eighteenth century and both with interesting religious connections.

Snaith is historically linked with the Abbey at Selby and was the centre of a parish which reached as far as Whitgift and included Hook, Goole and Airmyn.

Howden is linked to the bishopric of Durham and Howdenshire reaches from North Cave to Barmby on the Marsh. Both towns are surrounded by rich agricultural land.

This is shown by the size of their respective churches which still dominate their towns.

It might be thought to be slightly depressing, peering at gravestones on a dull summer day. But there was a sense of peace and calm and we were not the only visitors. While standing in a light drizzle at Howden I looked down and saw I was being watched by a small hedgehog happily snuffling in the long grass for slugs. It seemed quite unbothered by my presence.

The priory church of St Lawrence at Snaith

Friday 20 July 2012

The Knights Templar in Yorkshire

On Tuesday members of my WEA local history group went on their travels again. This time we went further afield and visited Foulbridge near Snainton in North Yorkshire.

This was the site of a Knights Templar preceptory and we were particularly interested as Faxfleet, much nearer home, was also a preceptory but nothing remains of it above ground.

Here at Foulbridge is a medieval Templar hall, once hidden within two separate farmhouses but now revealed and restored by the Nutt family who kindly allowed us to visit their home.

The trees from which the hall at Foulbridge were built were felled in 1288, and it is thought that the hall was built between 1288 and 1290.

There are eight timber posts supporting  the roof and by looking at the markings on these posts it is possible to see that there were probably aisles on either side. 

We had a very enjoyable visit and a welcome cup of tea afterwards at Brompton.

Here we are at Foulbridge with Mr and Mrs Nutt

The following day I went to Driffield show, the sun shone and despite the ground underfoot being a bit spongy in places we had a good time.

Yesterday my missing brown hen re-appeared with one small chick in tow. We have put them in a coop,  made by my grandfather probably  60 years ago.  Molly has been ordered to look but not touch.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Men and tractors

I write a regular article in the monthly magazine Howden Matters. This usually consists of an old picture and a long caption describing the scene or people shown. Sometimes I get feedback, particularly where I have been unsure of names and by far the most popular recently has been a picture entitled simply "Men and Tractors".

I thought I would reproduce the photo here as I now have been given more information about it including the names of the men [do let me know if you think I have got it wrong!] and where the picture was taken. If you double click on the picture you should get a larger image which you can download and print.

The event was an open ploughing match held by the Goole Young Farmers in a field on Rawcliffe Road lent by Mr N G Silvester. The event was won by R A Backhouse. Date not yet known.

 Left to right:  Roger Thompson, Geoff Tune from Hensall, John Sykes, Bob   Backhouse, Geoff Tindall, Norman  Webster, Alma Wilson, Willie  Saville,  Roland Backhouse,  Robert Chantry,  Claude Brignall, Ken Tattershall , unknown,  William Bayston.         

Saturday 7 July 2012

Wressle visit

Members and friends of my WEA local history classes visited Wressle this week. We met at the brick church, built in 1799  to replace the chapel within the castle which had been destroyed by fire in 1796.

We then went on to visit Wressle Castle which is very visible from the Howden/ Selby rail line. What remains of the Percy family's magnificent castle however is now only a fraction of the original. It is on private property and our visit was specially arranged with the owners.

What remains is the south range which contained the hall and lord's tower. The rest was demolished in the mid-seventeenth century on the orders of parliament in case the Royalists occupied it. This was despite the fact that the Percy family were then supporters of Parliament.

The south range survived and was occupied as a farm house until it was destroyed by a fire. We walked around the outside first and I had a good audience of both people and cattle as I talked about the castle.

We then looked inside the castle which is open to the elements - no floors or windows are left and the stonework is badly cracked. But it was still possible to imagine what it had been like when there were over 200 servants and Henry VII visited.

We then enjoyed tea and scones at the farmhouse and were lucky enough to avoid this week's rain.

Wressle Castle around 1905

Not much to say about the rain except that I wish it would stop. Yesterday was a deluge and my garden pond which takes the water from the house roof is over its banks and overflowing into the woodland. Molly has enjoyed jumping in and swimming in it, coming out covered with duckweed.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Aughton church

On Friday I went in the evening to Aughton church. Every year there is a service there  to remember Robert Aske, the leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace. He was born in the village and was put to death at York on 12th July 1537.

This year's event was special as Carole Readman had written a moving cantata which told the story of this Yorkshire uprising. She conducted the Weighton Waytes who sang magnificently and whose Tudor costumes were equally magnificent. The church was full of local people who are still proud of the man who worshipped in the very church where we sat and who died for his religion.

In the interval we ate [everything was free and contributed by local supporters] from groaning tables of food ranging from potted salmon and asparagus to honey cakes and jelly.

As we came out it was dusk and a little eerie -  one could imagine what it was like all those years ago when national politics and the long arm of Henry VIII affected the family who lived in this remote part of East Yorkshire.

Monday 25 June 2012

The Pepper family of Goole

Yet again it has been cold, wet and grey. There has been flooding in West Yorkshire and a local gardener I talked to said all his vegetables were just sitting in the soil, not growing and looking a bit yellow. So my garden is not alone in looking very sorry for itself.

The poor weather has meant I can spend more time on the computer. I have been researching a Goole family called Pepper who spent much of their life on Goole barges and billyboys.

George Pepper was born on a canal boat and after his marriage to Emma Ward in 1880 he worked variously as a boatman and as a dock labourer. The family were living at The Barracks on the road to Swinefleet in 1911.

George had a few brushes with the law being summonsed for poaching and for salmon fishing without a licence.

At least two of George's sons, Paul and John Henry, served in the army in World War One. Paul survived but John Henry was killed in 1918, just before the end of the war. He was awarded the Military Medal.

Chris, who has recently set up a blog on Goole men who were killed in the war, provided the following entry from the Goole Times.

Taken from ‘Goole Times’ Thursday November 1st, 1918.


            Official news has been received of the death in action on September 18 of Sergt. John Henry Pepper, Manchester Regiment, of 21, Antis Street, Plymouth, son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Pepper, of 23, George Street, Goole.
            Sergt. Pepper, who was 36 years of age and was well-known in Goole, had left the town some two years before he enlisted at the beginning of the war, and he had been out in France some three years. He leaves a widow and six young children.
            Writing to Sergt. Pepper’s widow, his officer, Lieut. J.A. Corley, says:- “Please let me offer you my deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement in the loss of your husband. I saw him a few moments before he was hit. A more gallant or brave soldier I have never commended for his bravery. I had already mentioned him to my Commanding Officer, who promoted him to the rank of Sergeant and recommended him for a decoration. His death is a loss to the company and myself; we greatly appreciated his services, and his cheerful disposition was a magnificent example to us all.”
            A brother of Sergt. Pepper, Pte. Paul Pepper, has just been discharged from the Army after being wounded five times and gassed twice. A brother-in-law, Mr. Chas. Abson, of 32, Gordon Street, is a minesweeper, and is at present in Russia.

In 1911 John Henry Pepper was in Dartmoor prison but nothing is known of why that was or indeed what happened to his family after the war.

George Pepper survived until his early 90s and in 1930 was featured in an article in the Hull Daily Mail as 'England's oldest boatman'. He claimed to have fathered 20 children and to have 100 descendants.

If you are one of them please get in touch!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Samuel Shirtcliffe/Shetliffe

Well, I did go to Eastrington show yesterday but as the field was so wet the horse and cattle classes had been cancelled. It was not actually raining when I was there and there was a good entry in the handicraft section in the village hall but it must have been disappointing for the organisers who had put so much work in.

On a completely different topic I have been contacted by David Shetliffe from Australia whose ancestors came from Goole. He is hoping to visit Goole later this year and would be delighted to meet any relatives. He has sent me details of his ancestor Samuel Shirtcliffe/ Shetliffe which have been passed down through the family and is happy for them to appear on my blog in the hope that he can find some Yorkshire relatives!

Samuel was born on 29th September 1816, one of five children of Thomas Shirtcliffe (the 'e' on the end of the name comes and goes) and Grace Clayton. Thomas was originally from Deptford in Kent and Grace was from Cowick.

Samuel married Ellen Rimmington at Snaith on July 14th 1838. Samuel was a seaman and  on one occasion brought his wife Ellen a silk shawl home from China in 1840 after a voyage on the Alexander Baring. He afterwards captained local vessels Bessie and Margaret and Sarah. 

Samuel and Ellen's first son, another Samuel, was born in 1846. In 1848 Samuel and the Margaret and Sarah were caught in a terrible storm in the North Sea and afterwards Samuel decided to stay nearer home and worked as a river pilot.

Their second son Joseph was born on December 1848 at Selby. The following year in September 25th 1849 the family sailed on the barque the Douglas for Australia and arrived at Port Adelaide on January 11th 1850. They then travelled by bullock dray to Burra Burra where Samuel worked in the copper mines. In February 1852 they moved to Goolwa where Samuel had heard news of shipping developments. Initially they lived in a tent.

Samuel worked for a time building the horse drawn railway between Goolwa and Port Elliott. Around this time the Shirtcliffe name began to be written as Shetliff[e] as this was in line with the way that it was pronounced by Samuel's workmates.

On March 6th 1854 Samuel and Ellen's daughter Amelia was born, the first white girl born in Goolwa.

Samuel put his shipping background to good use and went into business building ships, particularly paddle steamers which sailed along the River Murray. One wonders if he ever returned to Goole to get a few ideas!

If you can trace your ancestry back to the Shirtcliffes and Rimmingtons David would like to know. We do know that there is a connection with the Goole Hopley family. Robert Hopley married Mary Rimmington in 1827 at Hook.

Ellen Shirtcliffe

Samuel Shirtcliffe

Samuel [jnr] and Joseph Shirtcliffe/Shetliffe

Friday 15 June 2012

Eastrington show

I hope to attend Eastrington show tomorrow as I have done now for more years than I care to remember. Although these days I have no connection with the show I used to look after some of the horse and pony entries and my parents and aunt were for a long time show officials. In particular my dad, Doug Watson, was the secretary, a job which took a surprising amount of work even for a small village show.

In the past I put up road signs, gave lengthy telephone directions to Eastrington (before the days of sat nav) and sat for hours in a tent which some years was very hot and other years was very cold.

More recently I attempted to have a history and old photo display in a tent the year after I published my book on Eastrington. Unfortunately the wind blew strongly and the tent blew down.  Some pictures and objects got very wet. I vowed never to have an outdoor display ever again.

This year I look forward to good weather (!!!!) and walking round as a spectator. I hope it all goes well.

The picture below was taken by my dad at the 1977 show and if you look carefully (double click on the picture to enlarge it) you can see a fancy dress competitor dressed as a queen.  It was the year of the Silver Jubilee.

Monday 11 June 2012

Howdenshire History

We have been thinking for some time that my Howdenshire History website needed an overhaul. One of the main problems was that it did not have a proper address and so this weekend after many hours labour we have moved. The new address is:

Further updates are planned and I am hoping to add some new content including more photos and a page on Saltmarshe history.

I have just watched the Wheldale going past on its way home to Goole after taking part in the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames. I expect the crew are exhausted - last week's weather held up their return and it is still very cold and grey - but congratulations to them in bringing  Goole and its history to the forefront of the national and international consciousness.

I have recently been reading my copy of the bound files of the Goole and Marshland Gazette (covering Goole and Howden area history from 1854 until the late 1860s). It appeared monthly and is  is a fantastic resource for the history of this part of Yorkshire. The whole volume is very fragile but I have experimented by copying an extract  using a hand-held scanner. Here is an extract from the edition of January 1862 (please click to view a larger version).

Saturday 9 June 2012

Will it ever be summer?

I have just listened to news of flooding in Wales and have listened to yet another weather forecast of below average temperatures and heavy showers. It does not feel yet like summer and the garden is sodden.

I was pleased to see the Wheldale from the Waterways Museum at Goole on the TV coverage of the Jubilee pageant but was disappointed not to learn more of the other vessels from the BBC commentary. I was not the only one.

I have not mentioned Molly for a while and have been asked how she is. She is now 11 months old and is doing well.  She is being trained not to jump up at visitors as, although she means no harm, a lively black Labrador can knock you off your feet. She still enjoys fruit and vegetables but a piece of orange peel that she insisted on carrying round was perhaps a step too far even for her.

The fig tree which was almost killed by the hard frosts over a year ago is now in leaf but will, I think, take a couple more years to recover completely. One of my apple trees looks sickly - the ends of the branches, with the blossom on, have died back - I have looked it up and think it could be something called fireblight.

The potatoes, which went in so late, are up and need 'banking'. Perhaps a job for later today?

Monday 4 June 2012

Henry Bell Thorp, Goole architect

Members of the Goole Civic Society have recently been compiling a list of 'local heritage assets' - buildings which are an important part of the town's heritage and which planners  should therefore be aware of.

It became clear that several of these buildings were designed by Henry Bell Thorp, a local architect. So far we have found that he designed Bank Chambers (now the council offices) opened in 1892; the Clifton Gardens Methodist schoolroom [1890] and the adjacent Trinity Methodist church [1898] as well as the new Half Moon in Howden (now the Co-op shop) in 1890. I am sure that further research will add more buildings to this list. However no-one seemed to know much about Mr Thorp.

As I have  a lifelong interest in, and have written about, the Eastrington and Portington area I wondered whether there was a connection with Henry Bell of Portington Hall (see my recently published Eastrington history book).

After some research I found that there was.

Henry Bell of Portington [1729- 1816] was a landowner and farmer, lord of the manor of Portington and a friend and supporter of John Wesley. He and his wife, the former Mary Guy, had three sons and a daughter. Their eldest son Henry [1768- 1839] married Eleanor Wade and they had at least nine children.

One of their daughters, Maria [born 1800], married Robert Thorp at Eastrington in 1820. The couple lived at [Monken] Hadley in Middlesex (now part of Greater London) where their children were born. Their eldest son was Robert Hayton Thorp [b 1821], followed by Ellen Maria [1824], Henry Bell [1826] and Mary Ann [1828]. Both daughters died young - Mary Ann in 1843 aged 14 and Ellen aged 20 in 1844 and are commemorated in Eastrington church.

Robert also died and in 1841 Maria had married again to James Adcock, a linen draper. They lived in Wellingborough and their daughter Ellen Bell Adcock was born in 1844. Presumably she was named Ellen in memory of her sister.

By 1851 James too had died and Maria and Ellen were living at Temple Hirst with Maria's eldest son Robert, where he was farming. Robert's brother Henry Bell Thorp was living in York with his aunt and uncle.

Maria's younger sister Helen had married William Leak from Goole, a draper. Later uncle and nephew went into partnership as well known York drapers Leak and Thorp.

Meanwhile Robert married Ellen Acroyd in 1853. They had six children including another Henry Bell Thorp who was born in 1861 at Temple Hirst.

By 1881 the 20 year old Henry Bell Thorp described himself as an architect and was  lodging in London. I can find nothing about his training.

Although we know that he was designing local buildings by 1890/91, he also found time to make a trip to Canada. On 26th August 1891 at Toronto he married Emily Georgina  Hanning. They arrived in England aboard The Etruria on 12th September, having made the passage from New York to Liverpool.

Their son Henry Guy Hanning Thorp was born in 1895 at Goole. It is possible that he was born in a house in Clifton Gardens as it is known that Mr Thorp owned much of the land there.

The rest of Henry Bell Thorp's family had moved to Moorfields Farm on Goole Fields in the 1880s. His father died in 1890 and his mother in 1908 at Clifton Gardens.

His brother Robert Hayton Thorp lived at Willerby and another brother, Robert Justis Thorp, emigrated to Canada and lived at Telkwa in British Columbia.

Mrs Emily Georgina Thorp died in 1911 at Belle Vue House Doncaster. Henry Guy Hanning Thorp attended Haileybury School and was killed in France in 1915 whilst serving as a second lieutenant with 3rd battalion KOYLI. He was 19.

I believe Henry Bell Thorp died in 1953 but as yet have found no further details of his life.

If anyone can add further details to this account I would be pleased to include more about Henry Bell Thorp, who provided Goole with some of its impressive Victorian buildings.

Bank Chambers, Goole. Now East Riding Council offices.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Goole Old Boys rugby

I recently saw in the Goole Times a picture of a Goole Old Boys rugby team but unfortunately no names were given.

I immediately recognised it as I have a copy of the same picture. It was loaned to me by Ernest Butler, former editor of the Goole Times, who is one of the team members and who, before his death, was able not only to identify most of the team members but also to remember the exact occasion the picture was taken. Here is the picture with caption.

Pictured at the Victoria Pleasure Ground are the winning members of the Goole Old Boys team of 1932/3 who beat a Hull University team 19 points to 18 in February 1933.

From the left, Back row: Ken Powls, Tommy Waterland, Bill Bateman, Sherwood.
Next row down : HJOlphin [history master], Greensitt, Ron Boddy, Fred Cooke, unknown, White, Dick Flower.
Third row down: Ernest Butler, Ron Houghton [captain], Ted Willmott.
Front: Roy Charlesworth, Fred Amery, Bill Flower.

If anyone can add any further information about the team members I would be pleased to  add it in here.
For example those who are interested in Howden's history will be pleased to see local historian Ken Powls on the back row. Ken is still an enthusiastic writer of pieces about the history of the town.

Sunday 27 May 2012

WEA celebration day at The Lowther

Yesterday I joined students and tutors at The Lowther Hotel in Goole for a celebration get- together and tour of the famous murals. There were around 50 of us from classes held in Goole, Snaith, Howden and Eastrington.

 I have been teaching local history classes for the WEA for over 30 years and many of my students have become good friends.  We all enjoyed a buffet, had our pictures taken and were then taken on a tour  by owner Howard Duckworth who, with his wife Julie, has restored new Goole's first ever building from near dereliction into a prestigious hotel.

Today was Pentecost and we went to church. The day is often also known as Whit Sunday and the following day, Whit Monday was traditionally a holiday. Villages and towns had processions and everyone wore new clothes.

 It was a lovely hot sunny day and I spent the afternoon gardening. My broad beans are not doing well but the greenhouse tomatoes are romping away.

All the time I was outside I heard the incessant call of a cuckoo in nearby woods. It seemed a timeless sound.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Newport (Yorkshire) new bridge

I have recently been looking at some fascinating pictures of the bridge at Newport showing it with several steam rollers parked on top of it. I was not sure of the date and looked it up using the newly available newspaper search site where you can look up articles in the Hull Mail.

As soon as I realised that the Hul Mail newspaper was available I took out a subscription as there is so much information to be found about East Yorkshire, including Goole [of course Goole used to be part of the West Riding of Yorkshire].

Anyway, I found the reference which told me all I needed to know. Have a look at the extract which appeared on September 17th, 1930.

There is not much to say about gardening at the moment. It remains cold and I have taken a risk by planting out my broad beans. They were growing leggy in the greenhouse but I hope the move to the cold wet soil will not be too traumatic and that they will get going!

There is a rumour that it might be warmer next week. I do hope so.

Monday 14 May 2012

Family history day

I spent yesterday at the family history day at Goole Waterways Museum. Sadly we did not have many visitors. Some people, who had come for a boat ride round the docks, wandered around the stalls but, along with the Boothferry History group, the Isle of Axholme family history group and the Marshland history group, I was in a room down a short corridor and so few general visitors  found us.

This, we all felt, was a pity as there was a lot of information on display and we were all there keen to help family historians but there had not been much publicity for the event and I do not think local people knew it was taking place.

Those of us manning the stalls in the main already knew each other and so we had some pleasant conversation but looking out at the sunshine I felt I might have been more profitably been doing some gardening!!

I had my new DVDs on display - 5 compilations of Goole pictures [ about 30 on each disc] covering the shipyard and launches, ships visiting Goole, the docks, the railways and the town. I shall be putting more information about them on my website.

Below is  one of the more 'modern' pictures from the ship disc showing the paddle steamer Lincoln Castle visiting Goole in, I think, 1976. I remember going on the trip and looking at the engines as they thudded their way along the Ouse.

Lincoln Castle visiting Goole

Friday 11 May 2012

Country notes

I have just been looking in my greenhouse where my seed potatoes are looking very wizened and sickly.  It just never seems to stop raining at the moment. The plot where the potatoes are going is rotovated and ready for them but we never seem to get a dry spell which coincides with my having a bit of spare time.

At least we now have plenty of logs to keep us warm in this miserable weather. Robert came last weekend and sawed down  two dead elms and some elder bushes. Locally they are always referred to as 'bottery' bushes or 'blummin ole bottery' and grow like weeds. They take their dialect name from the phrase 'bore tree' as when they are dried out the centre becomes hollow and in country areas the smaller trunks were sometimes used as simple water pipes.

As I was outside looking at the trees I heard the cuckoo - once so common but now quite rare. My mother always quoted the rhyme,

 'The cuckoo comes in April and sings its song in May.
 In the middle of June it changes its tune and in July it flies away'.

This is a very old rhyme but possibly less popular today as fewer people hear this evocative sound and thus have no opportunity to quote the verse.

In the meantime I am working on making DVDs of some of my old photographs so that even those without computers can look at old pictures of Goole, Howden and the surrounding areas. They will be for sale at £5 each, initially at the family history day at the Goole Waterways museum on Sunday [13th May].

Thursday 3 May 2012

Goole boxing pictures

I was contacted by a friend who had read my previous post about the Smithson family of Goole. She was particularly interested in the fact that at least two of the family were well-known boxers and has sent two pictures of Sam Smithson.

She has also sent me some  other pictures of local boxers which were taken by Goole photographers but as yet we do not know who they all are. The only other Goole boxer I have any knowledge of was called Joe Carroll  but I would not know whether he is pictured here.

Tommy Gilchrist on the right and officials

Goole boxer

Another Goole boxer

Sam Smithson

Lance Corporal Eric Lawton KOYLI

Sam Smithson and man in suit

 If you can help identify any of these men do please get in touch.

Saturday 28 April 2012

The Smithson family of Richard Cooper Street, Goole

I was recently contacted by a descendant of John B Smithson of Goole and his wife Edith Mary [nee Binnington].  The couple lived at first in Estcourt Street, where John had a rag and bone yard, and then for many years in Richard Cooper Street, at number 52 where they were well known and respected. John was a chimney sweep.

Their great grand-daughter is happy for me to share this information about them here:

 "John and Edith reared a pig in their backyard and the residents of Richard Cooper Street would take their scraps of food to feed the pig until it was ready to be harvested. My Great Grandfather would then distribute the meat to the residents who had helped to feed it and a feast was had by all!

 My Great Grandmother was a very stern, stiff upper lipped lady who had her own wooden chair, pride of place, adjacent to the wood burner in the Queen Victoria public house on Hook Road, Goole. There she would sit smoking an old Warden pipe. Not one of the locals would ever dare to sit in this chair for fear of the wrath of Edith Mary, my great gran.

John and Edith had six children; John, Billy, Owen, Sam, George Henry and Mary. Sam and my Grandad were both boxers known as  Sam 'Boy' Smithson and 'Sonny Boy' Smithson."