Sunday 19 October 2014

Ouse ferries

 I do not know how it has happened but it is a month since I wrote anything on my blog. It must be that it has been a very busy time with lots going on.

I have been teaching three classes for the WEA this term - local history in both Howden and Goole and family history in Goole at The Courtyard. In both the local history classes we have been looking at the local rivers, ferries and bridges.

It is surprising how many there are. We began with the Ouse and the looked at Whitgift Ferry which was used by both Charles I and John Wesley. Next we looked at Saltmarshe where in the early nineteenth century two rival ferrymen came to blows and ended up in court.

Then Howdendyke which crossed to Hook on the opposite bank and of course Booth ferry which has a long history and many stories associated with it. Few people realise that the Boothferry parks and roads in the city of Hull twenty miles away take their name from this river crossing.

In July 1929 Boothferry Bridge was opened and the ferrymen given new jobs as bridge operators. Members of their family still live at Booth today. There was also a ferry across the Ouse from Barmby on the Marsh to Long Drax and then we come to the toll bridge at Selby.

We are still working on the ferries on the Derwent and the Aire. It is salutary to realise how the rivers have shaped our area.

In between we have been peeling apples and walking Molly. She loves having the chance to run and roll in indescribable patches of horrid smelling mess. We, meanwhile, appreciate the changing colours of the leaves and watch and listen to the several skeins of geese flying over, their cries quite eerie at times in the dusk.

On Wednesday I am going to the opening of the R100  trail in Howden. It has taken almost a year since the Civic Society won a grant from the Peoples' Millions to create the trail but now the plaques are laid I think they look lovely - and as if they have been there for ever. The airship was designed by Sir Barnes Wallis and flew from Howden in December 1929.

The trail is to be 'opened' by his daughter, Mary Stopes Roe, who was two when the airship was launched.

An early car being ferried across from Booth to Airmyn