Tuesday 24 December 2013

A stormy Christmas Eve

I would like to wish everyone who reads my blog a Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2014. It has been an eventful year and I am looking forward to a peaceful few days, eating roast beef and plum pudding and sitting in front of a log fire eating chocolates.

It was very windy yesterday and one advantage of this is that small branches and twigs fall in my garden, enabling Molly and me to go outside later 'gathering winter fuel'.

On the historical front I have been buying a few old postcards from e bay - it is a good time to do this as many people seem to be too busy with Christmas preparations to keep an eye on the computer! My latest purchases were of pictures of Carlton near Snaith showing flooding around the Bank End area.

I have so many old pictures now that I despair of ever getting them online on my website - but if you ever need an old picture of  this area of East Yorkshire, do ask me if I have one.

 Most people buy copies to illustrate their family history but I have provided images this year for the new Montague Mills factory shop at Goole and most recently for an artist who was designing a book cover and needed a period background image for his heroine [this was a picture of Snaith].

Below is a picture of Coronation Row at Carlton in the snow. It is not  perhaps the sharpest of pictures but as I collect these pictures from a bygone age I have realised that sometimes the picture quality is not the main criterion.

For anyone looking for an old picture of their granny at school, their house, their ship or where their ancestor worked any picture at all is often a bonus.

Coronation Row, Carlton near Snaith

Monday 16 December 2013

Flooding in Faxfleet, Blacktoft, Yokefleet and Saltmarshe

We live quite near the River Ouse and friends have often asked whether we get flooded. Well I can still say no but last Thursday evening I think  we came very close.

A combination of  low pressure, high winds that day and a very high tide produced a storm surge. The water tore up the Humber, flooding Hull and then up the Ouse. Here the water over topped  the banks with a horrible roaring noise and  poured into people's houses with a suddenness that caught everyone by surprise.

Standing on the river bank with neighbours I watched the dark swirling water come almost up to the top of the defences before it seemed to pause. I now know that we were saved because it came over further along and flooded houses and a large area of farmland.  Over a week later, despite  a lot of pumping, much of the land is still under water and in neighbouring communities families have had to leave their homes - the skips full of damaged carpets and furniture line the roadsides.

Last night the church at Laxton was full for the annual  candlelit carol service.  It was a time to think of those  local families who will not be having the Christmas they planned.

The morning after in Saltmarshe Park. A white van, ironically from a firm who help with the aftermath of floods,  had lost the road and had to be pulled out by a  tractor. In the background a trailer with rescued sheep.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Old photos of Howden

It is  the first day of Advent and the sun is shining brightly. Molly and I have been for a long walk and tramped our way through drifts of fallen leaves. Molly enjoys chasing after the squirrels but she is far too slow to get anywhere near them.  I then tidied up the yard, trimming off some of the dead foliage and emptying hanging baskets.

Earlier in the week I planted some daffodil and crocus bulbs where an old wooden shed stood. I thought the crocus bulbs might have more chance nearer the house as all those I have ever planted elsewhere in the garden have not survived the squirrels. Perhaps I should encourage Molly to run faster!

This has been a good week for Howden. In a previous blog post I mentioned that my friend Ken Deacon and the Howden Civic Society had put in a bid for funding for an R100 airship trail in the town. Well this Tuesday was voting day and Howden won. So the next step is to have the plaques cast so they can be embedded in the pavement.

Yesterday I took into Chappelows' paper shop in the town some mounted photos of local views to sell. Howden  has a fascinating history and is very picturesque. I hope that both local people and tourists might like a souvenir of the town and, as not everyone wants to buy everything from the internet, this is an opportunity for me to showcase and share some of my old pictures.

I am looking forward to the Howden Late Night Opening on Thursday 5th December. There is always a real Christmas atmosphere and this year I do not think that snow ploughs will be needed to clear the Market Place as happened a couple of years ago.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Goole Times - Back in Time pictures

Back to the computer after the excitement of watching the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special last night. Even though I am not an avid fan I did enjoy it and even managed to understand it - although I am sure I missed lots of references to previous stories.

I thought I would upload some of the pictures which have recently appeared on the Back in Time pages of the Goole Times. This week's issue included some which, to be honest, I had forgotten I had submitted - one of harvesting was sent in August to coincide with the harvest this year !

However it is always interesting to put names to faces on some of the group pictures as even if I trace when the picture appeared originally often the individual names were not put in.

I am uploading them in small versions but if you want to order a bigger version or a print contact me through my Howdenshirehistory.co.uk website.

Goole British Legion ladies committee
from left Alice Holborough [ standard bearer], Gwendoline Robinson, Esme?, Bella Chesman, Avril Rockett,  Rene Lewis

Howden Brownies - around 1970

Bus trip from Goole Grammar school

Combine harvesting near Goole

Howden cubs around 1970

Sunday 17 November 2013

Molly and a hedgehog

I have just come in from walking Molly. The leaves are beautiful this year and as yet it is still mild enough to walk in just a sweatshirt. I understand however that winter is arriving next week. Molly was on her lead as we passed a dead hedgehog on the roadside. A couple of days ago she was not and it took some time to wash off the smell after she rolled delightedly on top of it.

My old pictures often appear in the Goole Times but talking to a friend earlier in the week she asked when the pictures were going to feature somewhere other than Goole. A fair point and I shall try to submit some of the local villages such as Blacktoft, Holme on Spalding Moor,  Rawcliffe and the town of Snaith. I have hundreds of pictures but  am easily distracted by writing when I should be cataloguing!

Some of my most recent acquisitions are pictures of around Drax  - long before it became famous as the site of the giant power station.

This is a view of the Drax Primitive Methodist chapel on the left and the Huntsman Inn a little further down the street.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Howden airship trail

Time seems to fly by at the moment and it is well over a fortnight since I wrote anything. So here is a catch-up on local history matters.

First my friend Ken Deacon from Howden, expert on the airship R100, has come up with the idea of creating an airship trail in the town. His plan, backed by the Civic Society, is to embed plaques of the R100 airship, which was built near the town in 1929, along the Market Place to show how long this magnificent airship actually was. The trail will run from the corner of Market Place up to the Ashes Playing Field.

In order to fund the plaques, which have to be specially cast, Ken and the Society have made a bid to something called The People's Millions. The project has made it to the final and we are all going to vote for it on November 26th after it has been featured on ITV local news programme Calendar. The project with most votes wins the funds.

Read more about it on the Howden Civic Society site.

On Saturday 2nd November Goole library held a family history day which was very successful. I met many interesting people and found more information for our WEA current class project - the fish and chip shops of Goole!

At home the leaves are turning but are still on the trees. Autumn seems late this year and I hope we don't have any more strong winds here until all the leaves are off. We avoided most of  the much forecast storm, nicknamed apparently St Jude, but some of the tall ash trees rocked alarmingly.

Recently on Twitter many people have been viewing old pictures which have been restored and coloured to give them a feeling of immediacy. My friend Pippa has been doing this for some time and has had great success with both local scenes and people. It is amazing how an old cracked and damaged black and white photo can be brought back to life. Below is a sample of her work. Contact me through the website if you would like more details

We believe these men were Volunteers from the Goole area

Friday 25 October 2013

A busy week

I am now able to relax a little after what has been a very busy week.

On Monday I gave a talk on how to trace your family history to the Holme on Spalding Moor history society. I have spoken to them before about Snowden Dunhill and about Saltmarshe and always enjoy it.

They are a very friendly group of people and  I think the talk went well - there were lots of questions which is always a good sign.

Their next talk is to be given by eminent East Riding historian Dr David Neave who will  talk on the Lords of Holme on Monday, 18 November at 7pm in the Scout Hut which is part of the village hall.  It is on the left hand side as you drive in the car park and has a separate entrance round the corner.

I hope to attend.

And then last night I was at Melbourne near Pocklington talking to the Pocklington Local History group about East Riding emigrants.

 I explained some of the reasons why people emigrated - ranging from the Puritans who left Rowley near South Cave in 1638 with Rev Ezekiel Rogers to create a new settlement - Rowley in Massachusetts,  to the Quakers of Knedlington who went a few years later to Delaware and right through to the young men and families of East Yorkshire who went to Canada in the nineteenth century to make a new life.

I am particularly interested in the last group as my own ancestor, Robert Nurse of Eastrington suffered the loss of his farm, took on the village pub, the Black Swan and then, as family lore has it,  drank the last of his inheritance. He then in 1832 took his family to Canada, settling near Port Hope where there was quite a community already established of local people who had emigrated 10 years earlier.

I have some letters from family members which describe the wonderful life in Canada and the difficult conditions at home in Yorkshire. No wonder Robert went. His descendants are still settled near Rice Lake.

Today I shall concentrate on keeping the Rayburn going and walking Molly in the rain.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Clifton Gardens, Goole

This last month seems to have flown by and now we are in October. The pond is still dry and although the grass had grown in some parts of the garden where it is under trees it was brown and flat when I gave it all a last cut.

I have been picking, eating and giving away apples. It is a good year in that there are lots of them and the eating varieties - Laxton Superb and James Grieve are quite sweet - but they are also smaller than usual.

I have now begun teaching my WEA local history classes in both Howden and Goole and in both there are plenty of students. Sadly however the class which I had hoped to run in Gilberdyke did not recruit well and so it has closed.

One of the topics which came up in the Goole class was Clifton Gardens, a street built in the 1890s and consisting of impressive Victorian houses.

Student Pauline Stainton searched the Goole Times files and came up with an interesting obituary for Frederick Chambers who lived at number 17 Clifton Gardens. She has transcribed it and I have included it below.




        It is with deep regret that we record the death, which occurred on Thursday of last week, at his residence, Thorne Croft, Clifton gardens, Goole, of Mr. Frederick Chambers, L.R.I.B.A., architect and surveyor. He was 67 years of age, and had been confined to his house since October 1 as the result of a seizure.

       The late Mr. Chambers was a native of Hatfield. The family subsequently removed to Thorne and later to Goole, where his father was the owner of a number of schooners which at that time were the chief vessels sailing from the port. His son, however, had no inclination for a career connected with the sea, and after qualifying as a sanitary inspector and surveyor, he ultimately occupied each of these positions in turn under the local authority at Goole. He later became a member of the Goole Urban District Council and established an extensive practice as architect and surveyor, which he carried on upon to the time of his death at offices in Belgravia. During the war, in the absence on military duty of the surveyor to the Urban District Council, he occupied the position of consulting architect and surveyor to that body, and at the time of his death the firm was acting as architect to the Goole Rural District Council in the carrying out of their housing scheme.

 Among the numerous buildings designed by him were the Temperance Hall at Thorne, the Wesleyan Chapels at Reedness and Rawcliffe Bridge, and Ashfield, the residence of the late Mr.G.B. Wadsworth in Hook Road. He also took an active part as architect in the erection of houses in the more recently developed portions of Goole, notably in the Marshfield district, and his last work was the successful transformation of the Sailors’ Institute, Goole, into the local headquarters of the Y.M.C.A., a task which he carried out for the good of a cause which had his keenest sympathy.

      Mr Chambers was an active member of the Wesleyan body, and was closely associated with the church in Boothferry Road. He was a local preacher, and held every lay office in connection with the Goole Wesleyan circuit. He was a welcome attender at various church functions, and could always be relied upon to give a pithy and appropriate speech on any occasion. Interested in education, he served on the local education committee, and was a member of the governing body of the Goole Secondary School.

       An ardent student of archaeology, the late Mr. Chambers was well versed in the historical associations of the district, and he was also an authority on wood-carving.

       He leaves a widow, four sons and three daughters.

Goole Times 30 December 1920

Goole was an expanding and flourishing town in the 1890s and it is interesting to find out about the local architects and builders who gave us much of today's townscape.

One of the sons of Frederick Chambers was Herbert E Chambers, for many years headmaster of Boothferry Road school. Herbert's daughter Kathleen who died in 1990 taught music to many local children, including the late Frank Ella.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Life in Old Goole

 It has been a long hot summer and we have been busy moving lots of old local photos and newspaper files into their new home in my now restored old building.  Some are in very poor condition and will need careful handling if they are not to fall to bits but others are quite sound and make fascinating reading.

It is salutary however to realise how the years have passed as events of maybe 25 years ago seem quite fresh in my memory when I read about them.

I have come across some fascinating articles about the history of the Goole, Howden and Selby areas.  I  particularly enjoy the letters where readers reminisce.

Here is an extract from one which takes us back to the building of the 'new' Dutch River bridge in Goole, now itself replaced. It comes from  the Goole Times of 1966 and was written by an anonymous contributor who was then over 90. That means they were born around 1876!!

I was born in Old Goole opposite the bridge. I can remember the old wooden bridge, which used to open in the middle to allow ships to move through with their masts up. I also remember seeing the farmers' wagons, filled with hay and other produce, crossing the bridge. There was no other way for farmers and carriers' carts to bring farmers' wives to sell butter, eggs, and other produce from what we used to call the "low towns," as far away as Garthorpe, to Goole.

It was considered a long way in those days, with bad roads and an uncomfortable ride, which was not too kind on the ladies' dresses.

Many a time I have seen a load of hay stuck in the middle of the bridge, so that the hay had to be unloaded before the horses could pull the wagon through.

Then, I remember, there was a temporary bridge built which must have been used at !east until the present one was built. I also remember, many years afterwards, when I was married, watching Barnum and Baileys' circus crossing the bridge. It really was an anxious  moment, for we actually saw the bridge bend under the weight of the elephants

The circus was held in what used to be Corner's Field. It was wonderful for for we "Old Goolites," for we were almost cut off from the town. Mariners Street was a cul-de-sac and we had to go down  St John's Street, passing by the old Free Church, to the station. 

Old Goole used to be a tidy, even pretty, spot. It was delightful to look down on the moonlit river in the evenings, or take a walk on the river bank.

At our side of the bridge was Blyth's horse-shoe shop, where there was always a delightful fire. The children used to gather round to get warmth from the fire in winter, and watch the Blyth brothers make horse-shoes. 

I also remember Old Goole School- just one big room with boys and girls mixed, plus a small infant school, where Miss Morley was headmistress. Cottingham Street was a cul-de-sac, with no buildings except the entrance to Thorpes' farm. Mr. Thorpe used to drive into Goole every day and whoever opened the gate for him received a penny or a halfpenny, but we youngsters hadn't a chance
with the big lads. We had great times playing on the sand heaps while the builders were enlarging the school and building the schoolhouse, in which I was to spend so many years of my married life.
But it is fatal for someone over 90 years old to look back.

I would love to know who the writer was. Below is a picture of the bridge which explains why carts sometimes got stuck.

The old Dutch River bridge, Goole

We have now updated our Howdenshirehistory.co.uk old photo pages with some new content and an easier way to order. More new photos will be added on a regular basis.

Monday 12 August 2013

Dog days

Suddenly it is early August and the garden is beginning to look autumnal. I have just been cutting the grass in the part of the garden where I hang out washing. Every so often my foot went into a soft patch of soil and the lawnmower balked. It is the moles which have returned. I do not really mind them but would prefer them to be elsewhere!

It is still very dry - the duckweed in the pond is brown and clinging to the damp part at the very bottom and when we were digging potatoes yesterday  they were much smaller than normal. Perhaps they would have benefitted from more water - and perhaps some old fashioned 'muck'.

But the apple trees are covered in fruit and the self sown brambles near the shed are soon going to  be ripe enough to be made into pies. I know that strictly speaking the bush is the bramble and the fruit  is the blackberry but as a child we always called them bramble pies and so I continue to do so.

Friends have been helping us convert an old brick workshop into somewhere to store historical objects and pictures. It has been hard work - although my contribution has largely been tea-making and enthusiasm as clutter has been removed, a floor laid and wiring put in to reveal a lovely building which has been long neglected.

Below is a picture of Molly who first appeared on this blog as a small puppy. Now two years old she is a good-natured and fairly obedient companion who likes nothing better than mooching around with us outside and trying to creep onto the settee in the house.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Airmyn and Hook churches visit

Last week,  members of my WEA history groups and also members of the Holme on Spalding Moor history group, visited two local churches.

We began by visiting Airmyn church where local expert David Galloway explained the history of the church to us.  The church is dedicated to St David, an unusual dedication in Yorkshire and is believed to be the second church on the site.

We then visited Hook church, St Mary's, where, before the opening of Goole parish church in 1848, the many inhabitants of the new town of Goole came to be 'hatched, matched and despatched'. A small and simple building Hook is today once again a village church.

The churchwardens here were very welcoming and we all enjoyed the tea and delicious cakes. Inside the church is a plaque recording its restoration in 1844.

This was reported in the Leeds Intelligencer of May 1844 as follows:

The small church at Hook, near Goole. has undergone considerable repairs and restorations both internally and externally, which have been executed in a simple effective, but characteristic manner under the direction of Messrs Hurst and Moffatt, architects of Leeds and Doncaster.

 Much care and attention has been paid to having every part correctly restored, an aim in which they have been ably seconded by the Rev. J. Paley, the Incumbent; and aa a whole this little edifice may be pronouneed a model of what a parish church ought to be in a rural district.

 The necessary funds have been obtained partly by rate and partly by contributions but chiefly from the liberality of T. H. S. Sotheron. Esq., M.P. for Wiltshire and one of the landed proprietors of Hook.

An old postcard view of Hook church

Percy Jeeves of Goole - new book

In an earlier post I mentioned meeting the biographer of Percy Jeeves, professional cricketer whose name was used by P G Wodehouse for his famous butler.

Percy Jeeves was brought up in Goole and learned his cricket there. I read and enjoyed an early draft chapter of the book which describes Jeeves' life in Goole and the matches he played locally.

The book by Brian Halford is now published and I am including here a link to a review  from the Birmingham Post


Next year in particular when we all remember those from Goole and area who lost their lives in the First World War Percy Jeeves will be in our thoughts.

Friday 12 July 2013

The Birks family and Goole Fields mill

I have recently been finding out more about the Birks family who were millers in Goole throughout most of the nineteenth century.

Thomas Birks, son of John was a farmer until 1815 when he became a miller at Goole. I think that he may have taken over what was formerly known as Broadbents' mil, a smock mill which stood on the riverbank where Goole docks is today.

He had to move in the 1820s when the Aire and Calder Co. began building their new canal and docks exactly where his mill stood. So he moved to the other side of the Dutch River and built a new windmill near what we now know as Old Goole, on Goole Fields. It is still there.

Sadly Thomas died in 1828 leaving his widow Hannah, nee Colbridge to run the mill.  She eventually married William Greenfield, also a miller but he was killed when he took hold of the moving sail and was carried up in the air before falling to the ground.

But by then Hannah's son, Thomas Gilderdale Birks was old enough to take over running the mill. He continued milling until in his turn his son, another Thomas Gilderdale Birks took over. This third Thomas was particularly interested in the natural history of Goole Moors.

He was an enthusiastic member of the Goole Scientific Society and its recorder of botany. He studied the algae of Goole and Thorne moors and was a founder member of the British Mycological Society, and the Yorkshire Naturalists Union.

In 1883 he was offering 'Andromeda, the three Droseras, pllujarla, and many other rare flowering plants, characeae, algae, diatoms, desmids, micro- fungi, plants for freshwater aquaria and well-mounted slides in exchange for books on natural history, cabinets, slide boxes,
or apparatus.'
Anyone interested was invited to reply to Thomas Birks, jun., Old Goole Mill, Goole.

By 1899 he had moved from Goole to become the manager of the Cleveland Flour mills but still returned to Goole to study the moors. In 1911 he was living in New Southgate, Middlesex, a corn dealer and shopkeeper.

In 1911 both William Gawtry, a waterman and William Phillipson , a jobbing gardener gave their address as the Mill House, Goole Fields.

If anyone can add any more to the history of either the Birks family or the mill I should be pleased.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Saltmarshe Hall visit

Since my last blog post I have been on holiday and returned to a garden which looked more like a field.  The grass had grown amazingly and the grasscutter would only chug through it very slowly. As for the vegetables they are temporarily lost in a sea of sow thistle, chickweed and goosegrass. But when I look carefully I think they are growing well.

Molly has been in kennels for the first time and did not like it.  It took her three days to wag her tail properly and accept that she was safely home with her friend Poppy the cat.

Last week I took a group of students and friends to Saltmarshe Hall for a visit. The new owners, the Whyte family, have been there around a year now and were very welcoming.

We were able to look around the formal rooms, dining room, drawing room and library, all accessed off the magnificent hallway with its cantilevered staircase. We then were able to explore part of the former servants' wing and the cellars and the beautiful gardens.

If I am honest I think that the most popular part of the visit was when we looked at the servants' bedrooms, left as they had been probably 60 years ago with the original wallpaper and bedsteads. Maybe it was because most of us felt that our ancestors would have been servants rather than part of the much richer family who lived 'upstairs'.  Shades of Gosford Park perhaps?

Tonight I have tried to deal with two wasps' nests, one in the roof of  the part of the house where I am sitting now typing and one a only few feet away from  the house and near our picnic table. I have sprayed them with a foam bought from our local diy store and await the morning to see whether it has worked.

This bedstead is in the former servants' wing at Saltmarshe Hall

This view shows one of the several cellars on which the hall is built.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Eastrington show 2013

Today has been Eastrington show - and apart from one light shower it did not rain.  The show has had several bad weather years and for a small village show this is disastrous. The crowds don't come, the gate money is down but still the tents etc need to be paid for.

I hope that financially today was a success. Events were perhaps on a smaller scale than some years - in my childhood I remember all the big name show jumpers - Andrew Fielder, Malcolm Pyrah- used to come for what was a qualifier for the bigger show in London.

But the handicraft classes were well supported with eggs, jam, flower arrangements and children's writing all looking good. There were rows of cakes, bread loaves, bownies and buns and, after the judges had done their work, the prize cards were closely scrutinised. And I have to confess that, as ever, there were a few moans from those who thought the judges had not go it quite right.

Elsewhere on the field a man made owls with his chain saw, dogs wagged tails and looked shiny and the fair was there for the children.  Quite a lot of beer was drunk and the Trinity Steel Band, made up of young people from Hull played an excellent selection throughout the day.

I had a display of old Eastrington pictures and objects in the craft tent and thoroughly enjoyed meeting old friends and new visitors. There is nothing like old school photos in particular to revive memories.

 I also had, as well as my Eastrington history book, some mounted prints of the village streets for sale.  I was surprised by the number of people who did not quite recognise where they were as I had not thought the village had changed very much - but looking at these old views with new eyes I realise it has.

Here is a picture from my collection of old photos - they are all available to buy as prints. It is a small version of a picture which dates I think from Edwardian times. I have added a bit of colour to it by the wonder of Photoshop and I think it evokes well  the centre of the village in the days before motor cars. Click on the picture to see it bigger - and then you can see how the road then had even more potholes than our roads today!

Sunday 9 June 2013

Goforth family of Knedlington

At last it is warm and sunny and the garden is growing. Today we ate our first few strawberries from the greenhouse and this week we have several times heard a cuckoo.

On Thursday we met a lovely couple from USA who were following in the footsteps of their seventeenth century Quaker ancestors. I have written before about them -  William Goforth from Knedlington who emigrated with his wife Anne Skipwith  from Hull in 1677.

We were able to show our American visitors Skipwith church and the moated site opposite which was where the Skipwith ancestral home once stood, Quaker farm at Sandholme where local meetings took place and of course Knedlington where the Goforths lived.

Although it is not possible to say exactly where they lived I was able to point out the field which was the Knedlington  Quaker burial ground although it is now cultivated.

We then toured Howden and visited the church. I think those of us who live locally sometimes take the church for granted. Our visitors were surprised at the size and splendour of this magnificent building in such a comparatively small market town.

It is always enjoyable meeting in real life those  people that previously I have only met through the medium of the internet.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Shops of Goole

It is sometime since I wrote a post and so there are several local matters I would like to mention.

The first is the death, at the age of 99, of Ken Powls. He was a native of Howden and a keen student of the town's history. He and I wrote a history of Howden - Howden an East Riding market town - in the 1990s and I treasure the memory of sitting with him in the Powls family shop and signing copies of the book.

He went on to write three more smaller books about Howden - including his autobiography Many Lives. He will be sadly missed in Howden  and the wider area.

Last weekend I attended the Family history day at Goole's Waterways Museum and thoroughly enjoyed it. More people came than in previous years and I met visitors from many areas of Yorkshire whose families had roots in Goole and had come to see if we could help them with their family history. One of the commonest queries is about whereabouts in Goole their ancestors lived. In earlier times much of present day Goole was in the parishes of Hook and Airmyn and this causes considerable confusion.

I have also been busy preparing and giving two talks. The first was to Goole Civic Society at their meeting in The Lowther.  The society was having a re-launch but unfortunately due to a mix up with the publicity no one knew! So I talked to a small but enthusiastic audience about the early days of Goole in the very appropriate setting of The Lowther hotel, the first building of New Goole.

The second talk was to members of the Marshland History group who meet at Swinefleet. This was a talk about memories of Goole shops and was, I think, well received. Goole had several locally owned shops and in the audience were workers and relatives from some of them.

Do you remember Foster and Tetlley's outfitters, Anthony White's ice-cream, Hackforth's cafe and Branson Bowles outfitters and toy displays? I would be delighted to receive any memories and pictures as I hope to write a series of articles in the Goole Times.

Below is a picture of Boothferry Road as I remember it, before it was pedestrianised - and when Goole had both Woolworth's and Marks and Spencer.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Family history at the Waterways Museum 2013

It has been a lovely sunny day for the May bank holiday and we went to Helmsley for the afternoon. The rest of the world was there too and it was difficult to park. But we managed, ate an icecream and I bought a secondhand book about the Maister family of Hull.

The garden is very dry and various seeds have yet to appear but the courgettes and tomatoes in the greenhouse are growing. Molly loves being outside but disgraced herself this morning by rolling in something indescribably smelly. She had to be shampooed and hosed down but at least we could wash her outside.

On Sunday we are going to have a stall at the family history day at the Waterways Museum in Goole. Last year was very quiet but we are hoping to see more people this year. We are taking lots of old photos to display and some CDs we have made of old pictures of Goole and area.

Thursday 2 May 2013

A mystery picture

I have a friend who, like me, collects old pictures and postcards of the local area. She is also very skilled at adding colour to old photographs which brings them to life - you really do feel that you have stepped back in time.

But sometimes you  buy a postcard which is said to be somewhere in the local area around Goole or Howden and then have a problem identifying exactly where it is. It looks familiar - but where is it?

Below is one such picture. It should be so easy. The name over the shop is Lockwood and the style of the house is certainly popular in this area of Yorkshire.  It may even be a post office too but the sign is not clear.

We have searched for the name in the 1901 and 1911 census but no one called Lockwood comes up as a shopkeeper.  We wondered about a house in Bubwith main street which was once a shop but it is maybe not quite right.

So does anyone recognise this house? Is it your family standing outside?

Postscript  June 16th - we have identified where the picture was taken. It was in Belton in the Isle of Axholme.

 A lovely picture of a Yorkshire house and shop - but where is it?

Saturday 20 April 2013

East Yorkshire Family History society

This week I went to the Carnegie Centre in West Park in Hull to give a talk to the East Yorkshire Family History Society. There was a good audience and my talk about Howden and the Howdenshire villages seemed to go down well.

I still think that 'our' area of Yorkshire is not very well known and so I am keen to spread the word, showing that evening pictures of  Knedlington, Booth, Asselby, Barmby, Skelton, Sandhall, Saltmarshe, Laxton, Eastrington, Portington, Gilberdyke, Staddlethorpe, Broomfleet and Newport.

I still have not got my potatoes in and we have been struggling to get our old Merry Tiller rotovator to run. It starts but then soon splutters into silence. I think there is a problem with the fuel but we are a bit daunted at the thought of taking it to pieces. Might have to resort to a spade.

This week too I have written a piece about the history of Howden Show to go in the programme. I remember watching the cycle racing in the dusk, sitting on the wooden grandstand and seeing Howden's own cycling champion Bill Barrow fly by. He won races all over Yorkshire, sometimes cycling to the event, racing and then cycling home. When not cycling he painted the names on many of the local signposts. I should be pleased to add any more memories of the show or Bill Barrow.

Friday 29 March 2013

Cold weather

It is Good Friday, the day when gardeners traditionally plant their potatoes. I have been outside today, wrapped up in woolly hat, gloves and scarf and looked at my veg plot. It is barren with just a few weeds and certainly in no state to plant into.

Like everyone else I am fed up with the cold, the wind and the light but definite snow showers we keep having. Even the chickens, who were laying quite well have gone on strike. I gave them a lot of hay today in their nest boxes to keep them warm and encourage them to lay again.

The Howden junior school centenary celebrations went well and the children released their 100 balloons in the Market Place last Friday morning.

We have been researching the very early history of Goole and looking at the work of Jolliffe and Banks who were the contractors for the construction of the docks in the 1820s. There is a lot more to be found out about the mechanics of exactly how the work was carried out and how and from where the stone for example was transported.

We are still updating the website and working particularly on the old picture pages. They are very out of date at the moment and there are a vast number of old photos and pictures waiting to be uploaded. I have been collecting pictures of Yorkshire towns and villages and include one here of Bridlington in the hope that we are heading for a lovely warm summer when we can visit 'Brid' and enjoy a walk in the sunshine.

an old picture of Bridlington Spa

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Howden council school 1913-2013

I have been busy for the last two weeks writing a booklet about the Howden Council school. The school is celebrating its centenary with an exhibition this week in the Shire hall. I have been reading the log books and have picked out some of the main  events and printed them with a few old pictures in a short booklet which I hope will act as a souvenir .

The school was built in 1912 and opened in April 1913. What stands out in those early years is how many times the school was closed for epidemics of various illnesses such as whooping cough, measles and diphtheria as well as flu.

The first headmaster, Mr Frank Platt retired in 1929. The second head was John E Cooke who was keen on music and stayed until the early 1950s. Mr Ernest Wray who followed him set up a school farm where they raised chickens, pigs and lambs. Every year the school held a chicken dinner where some of the chickens were prepared and cooked by the children for selected guests.

Other heads were Fred Wright, Dennis Lucas, Avory Brown, Stuart Collins and Tim Wilkinson.
The present head is Mrs Judy Scargill.

The centenary is being celebrated in the Minster on Thursday evening - I am giving one of the short talks and am planning what to say.

In fact although both my parents taught at the school and my daughter was a pupil I attended Eastrington school and so cannot reminisce about schooldays in Howden. But I am sure I will think of something.

These children attended the school in 1985 and are pictured with headteacher Mrs Avory Brown. Do you recognise anyone?

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Percy Jeeves of Goole

On Saturday 2nd March the Goole Rotary club are holding their annual hobbies exhibition in the Leisure Centre. It is always very popular and, as I have done for the last few years,  I shall be having a stall.

I am busy now putting my old pictures, many of which originally appeared in the Goole Times,  into albums so that they are easier to look at. It seems a never ending task! I am taking my printer so that I can make copies on the spot for anyone who finds a picture of themselves or their families.

Molly is keen to go out for a walk but it is so cold and grey that I am not very enthusiastic. The snowdrops in the garden are looking well - but I  am appreciating them from out of the window.

Today I have been talking to a gentleman who is writing a biography of Percy Jeeves, the cricketer. Percy was brought up in Goole, played for Warwickshire and was killed in on the Somme in 1916 while serving with the Royal Warwickshires.

His name was noticed by author P G Wodehouse who was watching a match and immortalised in his books.

Percy's parents lived down Manuel Street where Percy and his two brothers grew up and are buried in Goole cemetery.

How many people know of this Goole connection?

Monday 25 February 2013

Howden Milton Rooms performance of Red Riding Hood

As regular readers of the blog will know I contribute a piece every month to a local magazine called Howden Matters.

Some two months ago the editor published a photograph which had been sent in for which he had no identification.  Since then I have been contacted by several people who knew both the event and the names.

It was in fact a performance of a pantomime organised by a lady called VI Phillips who ran a dancing school in Howden and who put on regular shows in the town's Milton Rooms.

Howden's Milton  Assembly Rooms were built as a schoolroom in 1857 behind the  Congregational chapel in St Helen's Square. The rooms were used for a multitude of purposes. At various times they  were an auxiliary classroom for the Council school, a sale room, a lecture theatre and of course a venue for Vi Philips' dance shows. I remember  going in there when my mother was teaching dancing to senior girls from the Hailgate school in the 1950s but am not sure when it was demolished. Any more memories or pictures of the Milton Rooms  would be welcome.
 Thora,  who played Red Riding Hood, wrote that

'The photograph would have been taken in 1936/37 in the Milton Rooms.   What a pity the place was pulled down. It was a large hall with stage and several changing rooms behind'

Back row: Mrs Jeeves, Mrs Smith, Vi Phillips, Methodist minister, Mrs Jackson, Percy Jeeves,  Edwin Turner, unknown, Bob Dennis, Robert Dennis.

Middle row:  Josephine Wilson, Ethel Tasker, Mildred Long, Bill Seddon [the fox], Betty Waterhouse, Rene Talbot, Ida Jackson, Jack Watson, Thora Turner, Margaret Talbot, Mrs Talbot, Marie Turner, Eunice Lumley.

Front row [left]: Kathleen Dennis, Roy ?, Betty Naylor, Elsi Proctor, Enid Nutbrown, Barbara Smith, Gwen Jeeves [ the fairy].

Front row [right]: Pat Naylor, Marjorie Gamwell, June Phillips, unknown, unknown.



Monday 11 February 2013

Howden area Quakers

I have been looking this week at Quaker history and specifically at some of our local families who emigrated in the late seventeenth century.

The Quaker movement was founded by George Fox. Early Quakers (or Friends) stressed the importance of a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ and a belief in the universal priesthood of all believers. They emphasised a personal experience of Christ acquired through both direct spiritual experience and the reading and studying of the Bible.

Their beliefs meant that came into conflict with the 'establishment' and were often imprisoned for non-payment of tithes, for simply attending their meetings as the law then forbade religious gatherings of more than five people outside the Church of England, or for not taking an oath of allegiance to the king. Quakers did and do not agree with swearing oaths.

In Yorkshire there were many Quakers and several local men and women spent long periods in York Castle, several of them dying there. This took place mostly in the reign of Charles II.

Meetings of Friends were held at Elloughton, North Cave, Shipton, Barmby, Ferriby, Hotham, Sancton, Metham, Brantingham and Sandholme.

Meeting-houses were later erected at North Cave and Elloughton and records of their meetings survive including their minute books and records of suffering. These two local meetings later became incorporated into the Hull monthly meeting

At Sandholme there is still a Quaker farm, once owned by Sebastian Ellythorp who died in York Castle in 1695. 

Cornelius Empson was another local Quaker and member of the landowning Empson family of Goole Hall, where there is still a private burial ground. This is referred to in 1673 when Katherin Empson, wife of James, was buried as a Quaker in "Rich[ar]d Empson’s ground, Gowle".

On the 24th of the 6th month 1680 (the Quakers had their own dating system, beginning with March as month one), the Hull Monthly Meeting of Friends registered the birth of a son to Cornelius Empson. He was named Richard and was the eldest son of four born to Cornelius and his first wife Mary.

Cornelius Empson emigrated to America in 1684. In 1685 he was described as living on Shellpots Creek, a small stream in Brandywine Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware.

On the 12th December 1710 his will was proved. He was then described as Cornelius Empson, gentleman, of Goal [sic - Goole] Grange, New Castle County, Pennsylvania, later Delaware.

Some records suggest that Cornelius Empson was born at Booth. There were at least two Quaker families in the  nearby Knedlington area. I am not sure where they lived in Knedlington, which now consists of only a few houses, but early maps  do show a Quaker burial ground there.

The Wright family

Another local Quaker family were the Wrights of Howden and Knedlington. Robert Wright, a butcher in Hailgate, Howden and his wife Alice Lawtie had at least three, possibly four sons who all emigrated to America.

The eldest son was Thomas Wright. In 1677 he emigrated to the Jersey shore of the Delaware river on the "Flie Boat Martha" from Hull. Thomas Wildbuys or Wildcup was the master. The Martha arrived "at the end of Summer 1677" carrying "114 passengers" for the Yorkshire Tenth in Burlington. Thomas Wright wrote home to his wife on October 28th 1677, having just arrived. His family followed him. He died in Burlington County, New Jersey 1706.

The second son was Joshua WrightJoshua married on June 10th 1669 Elizabeth Empson of "Gowle Field House", Goole. I am not sure how she was related to Cornelius Empson, but she was possibly his sister.

Joshua obviously had a 'falling out' with the local Friends around the time of his marriage. The Friends records of 1669 (which are hard to decipher) for the South Cliffe meeting state that,

"Joshua Wright of Howden, having been convicted of frequenting friends meetings, denied the worlds went from it, paid tithes, forsooke ... and ... he being admonished and warned faithfully by friends, and afterwards proceeded ... world, and ...  marryed by a drunken priest."

Joshua was disowned in 1669 by the Cave Monthly Meeting for marrying Elizabeth Empson on 4 mo. 10. 1669, contrary to Discipline.

Joshua Wright, along with his wife and children Elizabeth, Joshua and Robert, seems to have left the area and eventually emigrated from Ashford-in-the-Water near Bakewell in Derbyshire. The family embarked for West New Jersey at Hull, in August 24, 1679 on the same ship as Joshua's brother Samuel (see below) and arrived at the falls of the Delaware, now Trenton, about December 20th 1679.

Joshua's will, which was written in 1690 although he  died in 1695, includes bequests as follows which show he was Samuel's brother.

"I give to Mary, late widow of my brother Samuel Wright, that farm or plantation whereon she now dwells during her life and to Samuel Wright her son to him and his heirs forever.

 I give to Peter Fretwell, my son-in-law, and Elizabeth his wife, my only daughter, our lot in the town of Burlington, belonging to the first part---------to them and their heirs forever.
 I give to Robert Wright my son - 100 acres of land and 30 pounds to him and his heirs forever. I give to Thomas Wright my son - 350 acres of land and 30 pounds to him and his heirs forever.
 I give to Joseph Wright my son - 350 acres of land and 30 pounds to him and his heirs forever.
 I give to Samuel Wright my son - 350 acres of land and 30 pounds to him and his heirs forever.

 I give to Elizabeth my wife one half of the farm or plantation whereon I now live during her natural life and after to my son Joshua with all the rest of my lands and herby give to him and his heirs forever. And the rest of my goods to Elizabeth my wife and Joshua my son, whom I make executors of this my last will and testament."

The third of the Wright sons was Samuel Wright, yeoman of Knedlington, who was born about 1645. He married Mary Starkey, daughter of John Starkey of Knedlington, on the 1st July 1671.

In 1675 Samuel Wright, of "Nedlington", grassman, was imprisoned for refusing to pay a demand of 4d for the wages of the parish clerk.

The Elloughton monthly meeting minutes of 1676 show that Friends of the Howden meeting were ordered to "enquire into the present condition of Samuel Wright's family (he being prisoner at York for the truth sake) and to bring in account the next meeting".

It was also minuted that "considering the condition of Samuel Wright of Knedlington, he being straitly kept prisoner and his wife great with child, and his estate but small; [they] sent her by Christopher Graves 10 shillings".

In 1677 another 10s was sent to Samuel's wife as she was "in weakness and her husband in prison, by a Capias Writt persecuted by the wicked Bishop's Officers".

Samuel Wright emigrated to America with his brother Joshua Wright, leaving Hull in August 1679 with his wife and children, Alice and Samuel. His daughter Mary was apparently born at sea on October 25th 1679. Samuel Wright settled in Burlington Co. along the south side of Crosswicks Creek. He died Burlington Co., New Jersey before 25th March 1690, when his wife was described as a widow in his brother's will. 

A fourth Wright son, Richard Wright, born in 1651, may have emigrated and lived at Cooper's Creek, Gloucester Co, New Jersey.

The Goforth family

William Goforth was born in 1631 at Knedlington. His father Miles had three known children, William,  George and Elizabeth.

Miles Goforth died in 1674 at Knedlington. William, who may have been married before, married Anne Skipwith in 1662 in the Friends meeting house in Hull. Anne's mother Honora Skipwith, wife of Willoughby Skipwith, was also a Quaker and died in 1679 in York Castle.

William and Anne and their family emigrated to  America on the Martha in 1677. Thomas Wright, also of Knedlington (mentioned above) was a fellow passenger. Sadly, William died in Burlington the following year. Ann remarried to another fellow passenger, William Oxley.

I am sure that there is much more to discover about the Quaker families in this area of East Yorkshire. I briefly mentioned Sebastian Ellythorp of Sandholme earlier in this blog piece. The Ellythorps are a fascinating local family and I researched them in greater detail for my book about Eastrington.

When I have time I will have a more detailed look at some of the other local Quaker families and their 'sufferings' which are available to read in the archives at Beverley.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Winter weather

I am busy with several history projects at the moment. With my Goole WEA class we are looking at the early history of Hook as well as trying to find out more about Ousefleet Hall, which was locally often known as Empson Hall.

I am also researching the history of Saltmarshe - the family and the village. The family claimed ancestry back to the Norman conquest although sadly when Philip Saltmarshe died in November 1970 he was the last of the male line. I am talking about Saltmarshe at both the Boothferry group meeting on January 28th and the Marshland History group on January 29th. I had agreed some time ago to speak at both groups but had not realised the meetings were on consecutive nights.

But life is not all history projects and the present spell of wintry weather has produced some interesting travelling conditions as well as some stunning winter landscapes. We are finding too that the house is cold even though the Rayburn and oil boiler are both going. I think it is the wind which whistles around the walls of what is partly an uninsulated old house which makes the difference.

Above are some pictures from last week of the sheep in Saltmarshe Park. It was a grey day with snow flurries when we took the pictures. I like the skeletal shapes of the trees in the background.