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 old photo pages with some new content and an easier way to order. More new photos will be added on a regular basis.