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."

Friday 27 April 2012

Trip on the Sobriety

Last Friday I went on a trip on the Sobriety with 12 members of my Goole WEA class from the Waterways museum at Goole. Sobriety is a Humber keel, built in 1910 and now fitted out for day and residential trips either along the canal system or on the river.

The trip was organised by Eileen Sherburn who, with her husband Goff, is  a member of   the class. Goff has spent his working life on such vessels and, as their son Chris, along with Waterways manager Rachel Walker, were our crew, we were in safe hands.

Although it was cold and sometimes wet it was fascinating to see Goole and the local villages  of Swinefleet, Saltmarshe, Blacktoft and Whitgift from the river. We journeyed past Hull up to Paull as we were travelling with the tide which was flowing quickly. The trip took us all day and we returned to Goole around half past six in the evening, passing through Ocean Lock on our way back to the museum.

Below are some pictures of our trip taken by Gilbert Tawn, our resident photographer!

Sobriety at the Waterways museum

Leaving Goole

Passing Saltmarshe

Whitgift church

Yokefleet windmill


Passing under the Humber Bridge


Almost home

St John's church, Goole

Sunday 15 April 2012

Old postcards

This weekend I visited a postcard fair at York racecourse. There must have been thousands of old postcards to look through and it was sometimes quite difficult to find which boxes to search. Goole, for example, is now in the East Riding of Yorkshire but for most of its existence it was in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Some stallholders put all Yorkshire postcards together and I now feel an expert on pictures of obscure North and West Yorkshire villages.

But I managed to find and buy some nice pictures of Howden, Bubwith, Blacktoft and Snaith. I was particularly pleased with an advertising card from Joshua Barrett who moved to Snaith in the 1890s. He sold embrocations and tonics under the name of Mandrake and his house is still known as Mandrake House. His trade mark was a strange amalgam of man and drake, the man supposedly being Joshua himself.

Of course, Mandrake root has long had associations with fertility and witchcraft and JK Rowling in her Harry Potter books makes use of the belief that the root screams as it is dug up.

Joshua was a farmer's son from Bluntisham near St Ives who had formerly lived in London. One wonders why he settled at Snaith.

[The motto beneath the Mandrake logo is a Latin phrase which translates as "Life is more than merely staying alive".]

Friday 6 April 2012

Goole Grammar school 1909-1959

I have been reading my copy of  the Goole Grammar school booklet which was produced in 1959 to celebrate the fifty years of the school's life from 1909.

It is a fascinating read with recollections from both old pupils and staff. Some of the  old pupil contributors were Beatrice Hopley [pupil from1909-1913], Eric Arnold [1909- 13], Frank Schofield [1909-14] Annie Maud [1909-14], T H Hewson [1912-17], J E Jenkinson [1921-27], George Fish[ 1920-4] and Arnold Dufton[1943-47].

The former headmasters and staff also write and without exception they have fond memories of the school. I suppose the school memories page on now provides a similar function.

The booklet includes pictures of early hockey and rugby teams wearing, particularly in the case of the girls, some very cumbersome outfits. And I thought the square-necked blouse with my name embroidered across it in large blue [for Norman house] letters was bad enough.

I gave a talk on Tuesday to the Selby Family History society about how to present your family tree. It was, I thought, a well-planned Powerpoint presentation with various shapes of tree and ways of writing up one's family history.

Unfortunately the cable which should have linked my laptop to the society's projector was faulty and I had to give the talk without any slides at all. Perhaps we rely too much on computers these days. But I think the question and answer session on family research which I resorted to [have you ever tried to give a slide show without slides?] went quite well.

J L Latimer, headmaster of GGS when I began as a new pupil.