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