Saturday 20 February 2016

Hugh McIntosh and Goole

 A couple of weeks ago I wrote of how in my WEA local history class we were studying the canal contractors who had connections with Goole.

One of my students, Pauline Stainton was particularly interested in what part  Hugh Mcintosh played in the building of Goole docks and whether the Mcintosh Arms in Aire Street was named after him.

She has written the following interesting article.

HUGH McINTOSH  (1768 – 1840).

     Towards the end of the 18C a new profession arose in the construction industry. Leading architects and planners, with large public contracts on the drawing board, no longer had to advertise for the various skilled craftsmen, navvies and general labourers that were needed. They only needed one man – the contractor. Hugh McIntosh was one of those men.

      Hugh was born on the 4th December 1768 in Kildrummie, Nairn, Scotland. His background was in the local farming community. After a short period of education in Inverness, he began his working life as a navvy on the Forth and Clyde canal.  From there he moved down into Lancashire where he worked on the Leeds and Liverpool canal. His first contracts in that county were with the well-known engineer John Rennie (1761-1821) and it is recorded that they remained friends until Rennie’s death. Such was Rennie’s reputation that the Aire & Calder Navigation Company frequently called on him when their chief engineer and planner, George Leather, felt in need of a second opinion.

    At the beginning of a new century, Hugh McIntosh was in London. It became the base of his expanding business and his permanent home. In the first decade, he made his fortune excavating and expanding the East India Docks. He supervised this work personally – his workforce being estimated at 400 men and 100 horses. He continued to work on numerous contracts in London’s dockland for another twenty years.

    McIntosh’s contracts for canals, docks, roads, railways, gas & waterworks are far too numerous to mention. So too are the people & engineers who employed him, but one or two examples are included here to show the respect those contemporaries had for him.  The great Thomas Telford (1757-1834), who was invited to become the President of the newly formed Institute of Civil Engineers, frequently worked with him and probably their most famous collaboration was the Gloucester & Sharpness canal. This ship canal was, when it was opened, the deepest & widest in the world. When Telford was approached to take control of this project, it had been in the planning stages for far too long and he offered the contract directly to Hugh McIntosh.

   He also worked for many famous engineers and appears to have had good business relationships with all of them – except one – Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859).  Hugh McIntosh worked on the Great Western Railway for Brunel but when he sent in a bill for some extra work, Brunel refused to pay. McIntosh employed a lawyer on his staff (his son David was a lawyer too) and the dispute went to court. In true Dickensian style, the case rumbled on for many years, long after both men had died, but eventually David McIntosh was awarded the money.

     In London, he worked continually on government buildings, Royal houses & some famous bridges. At the beginning of the 19C, the English monarchy had numerous homes but no palace fit for a king.  George the Third lived in Buckingham House which was just a rather large town house suitable for his growing family. When he became ill & his son became Prince Regent, “Prinny” decided that something more palatial was required. He called in the London architect John Nash (1752-1835) to draw up plans for the refurbishment of the existing building, the proposed new wings and an impressive archway as an entrance from the road. The work wasn’t put out to tender but offered directly to Hugh McIntosh. In Nash’s opinion, he was the only man with the men and equipment to get the job done.

     Throughout his life McIntosh continued to work on the canals and he was already in his sixties when he began his association with the Aire and Calder Navigation Company at the end of 1834. The new Port of Goole, barely eight years old, was already in need of a new dock and lock big enough to accommodate the new paddle-steamers. The steamboat lock was to enter directly into the River Ouse. Also on the plans was a graving dock. The steamboat dock was opened on the 25th April 1838 accompanied by the “roar of cannon” and day-long festivities. The graving dock was opened in March 1841 and immediately put to good use.

       Hugh McIntosh didn’t live to see this contract completed. He died on 31 August 1840 at the Strafford Arms Hotel in Wakefield while checking on his contracts with the A. & C. and the Manchester and Leeds and North Midland railways.

    McIntosh was one of the key individuals in developing the British engineering industry. He relied on his family, chiefly his brother James and his own son David, to manage his works and many famous contractors worked under him. They enabled McIntosh to establish himself as the first contractor with a national organisation.
                      M.M. Chrimes. Former Head Librarian to the Institute of Civil Engineers.

The McIntosh/MacIntosh Arms

As to whether the 'Mac'  was named after him - it seems most likely. It was not listed as an inn in 1834 but in 1837 there was listed in Aire Street an inn called 'McIntosh's Arms' kept by John Watkinson.

I found a piece in my notes written by Mr H T  Gardiner, a nineteenth century editor of the Goole Times and keen local historian [his notebooks are in Goole Library]. He wrote in August 1891

‘the old Mail Coach Inn in Old Goole, where Mr Plowes now keeps the Post office.... is part of the property bought by John Green. The licence to this house was removed by Sir J [sic] Macintosh to the present Macintosh Arms. Afterwards a beer licence was taken out to the old Royal Mail and the house was called the Blacksmith’s Arms and kept by Mr Burton. Part of the sign remains above the door [ a horse shoe painted above the door] and in the yard is an old stone, part of a skittle ground.’

In 1834 the Mail Coach inn in Old Goole was kept by Elizabeth Watkinson. It also appears that the Aire Street pub was owned by the Watkinson family as when in January1880 the McIntosh was sold the newspaper reported that

January 1880 sale at the Lowther by Mr Woad of ‘the public house under the name of the McIntosh Arms, with the shop adjoining, now in the occupation of ?Messrs Boult and Son, together with 4 cottages in Chapel St. The property was sold to Mr Pemberton for £2,200. Solicitors for the heirs of the late Mr Watkinson were present.

If anyone can add any more to this information about the pub we would be grateful.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Newport [East Yorkshire] village hall

I have been asked recently about the history of Newport village hall. I have added East Yorkshire into the title of the post as there are so many Newports around! Our Newport [sometimes New Village, New Gilberdyke or River Bridge] came into existence when the Market Weighton canal was dug in the late eighteenth century [ for more history of this look at my Howdenshire history website].

The present village hall is properly the Recreation Hall or 'The Rec' and dates from 1927. I looked up the reports of its opening and also the opening of the associated playing field. Both are still in use.

The playing field or Recreation Field was opened in April 1927. Williamsons were brick makers in both Newport and Broomfleet.

Hull Daily Mail 25th April 1927


The village of Newport was en fete on Saturday afternoon for the opening the Recreation Field, presented to the village by Messrs Henry Williamson and Co., Ltd. 

Mr Alfred Williamson, of Brough, has had the field laid out with tennis court, bowling green, cricket pitch, play corner equipment with swings for children, park seats, pavilions, etc. There was a good display of bunting from many of the homes of the residents, and row of streamers from large flagstaff the entrance to the field.

 In spite of the cold and dull day, there was a large gathering. The opening ceremony was performed by Lord Deramore, of Heslington Hall (chairman of the East Riding County Council and the East Riding Playing Fields' Committee), Major W.H. Carver, M.P., J.P., presided and was supported on the platform by Lord and Lady Deramore, Mrs Carver and A. Williamson. There were also present Mr J. R. Proctor (clerk to the East Riding County Council), Mr Godfrey Macdonald (secretary of the East Riding Court of the National Playing Fields' Association), and Mr T. Clark (director of Messrs H. Williamson and Co). Major Carver said he was glad to have the honour of being chairman. A more auspicious day than St. George's Day could not have been chosen for such an event. The cross of the patron saint of England stood for religion and service, and that service for others was exemplified there by the munificent gift to the village which Mr Williamson had made.

The National Playing Fields movement had as its aim the ensuring of adequate facilities for recreation, and such provision for young people in particular was desirable. The president of the Playing Fields' Committee for the East. Riding was Lord Deramore, and they were therefore delighted to have him with them (applause). Lord Deramore said he was proud to have been asked perform this duty, but he felt Williamson was the man to do it, for it was through his munificence they had these magnificent grounds. This was just the kind of thing the National Playing Fields Association wanted. The Association's aim every village was to provide what Williamson had done Newport. He was glad say that in most places, there were cricket and football fields, but such splendid grounds as Newport now possessed, were few and far between. A great appeal was to be made, when the Duke of York returned, for money for playing fields, but they would not find many people who would give as Mr Williamson had done. He had great pleasure in declaring the recreation grounds open for ever for the inhabitants of Newport (applause). Lord Deramore then hoisted a blue flag, bearing in gold letters the words, Newport Recreation Club. As this ceremony was performed, heavy rain drove the large crowd to shelter.'

Re-assembling after a short delay, Mr Williamson, who was cordially received, moved a vote of thanks to Lord Deramore, and said that Newport felt greatly honoured by his presence. They all knew how great interest Lord Deramore took in village life, and how much he had at heart the welfare of the countryside. There had in the past been a feeling that education and recreation would not fit a man for undertaking laborious work, but happily had been demonstrated that human nature responded to the best conditions of employment and social life. Hence the movement in the country to obtain improved housing, and now strong effort to provide playing fields. It was with great sincerity he thanked Lord Deramore (applause). C. A. Carr, in seconding the vote of thanks, said Newport was very proud of its recreation field. He thought they were the pioneers the National Playing Fields movement. They were glad to have got so far with their scheme, but they were not at the end yet. He appealed every one loyally to support the scheme. They were delighted to have Lord Deramore with them (applause). The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation. Lord Deramore, responding, said should always remember this as the first playing field provided in the East Riding since the National Playing Field movement began. Moving vote of thanks to Major Carver, Mr E.  C Wright said their Member's presence showed he was heart and soul in favour of the movement  which Mr Williamson had so generously started. He would like to express the gratitude of Newport to Messrs Williamson and Co., and to Mr A. Williamson particular, for the great work they had done for the village (applause). Mr J. J. Underwood seconded in humorous vein. Mr Williamson, he said, had done his share, and it was now for the people of Newport  to work  to raise funds for the erection of the Hall. Major Carver, responding, wished the scheme every success. Lord Deramore then proceeded to the bowling green, and played the opening game.

Amongst the attractions was a friendly football match between Gilberdyke and Newport teams. The vicar kicked off.  A good game resulted in a draw, each side scoring a goal, B. Exley for the visitors and C. Haig for Newport. Messrs J. W. Benson and H. Clark had charge of the balloon bursting competition; sweet stall, Mrs J. Kirk and Miss J. Thompson; aerial flight, Messrs G. Hutchinson and A. Underwood; wireless, Mr S. Mothersdale; bowling the wicket, Mr Haigh. The prize winners in the cycle parade for 'children were: 1, Zoe Underwood; 2, Arthur Kitching; 3, Willie Kirk; 4, Norman Haigh.

 The playing ground was in charge of Messrs S. Lennon, W. Cressey, and B. Kitching;  the tennis court in charge of Mr S. Mothersdale. Capital music was played at .ntervals by Mr Harry Hotham's orchestra. Tea was provided in the schoolroom, supervised by the ladies' committee. In the evening, a whist drive and dance was held in the Council School. Messrs S. Lennon and  Mothersdale were the M.C.'s. The prize winners were: —Ladies: , Mrs F. Woodall; !, Mrs A. Wainman; 3, Mrs F. Coultires. Gentlemen: 1, Mr W. Johnson; 2, Miss A. Williamson (as gent) ; 3, Mr Oldfield. There was a crowded company at the dance. Messrs C. A. Carr and J.  Kean were the M.C.'s. The music was supplied by Harry Hotham's orchestra.

Building the hall in 1927

The hall was opened later in the same year.

Hull Daily Mail 12th December 1927

There was a large gathering at the opening of the new hall at Newport on Saturday afternoon. Major W. H. Carver, M.P., occupied the chair, and on the platform were Mrs T. C. Gurney and Miss Gurney (Hotham Hall), Mrs Carver, Mr Alfred Williamson, Mrs Mackenzie, Mr E. P. Scholfield, J.P. (Sand Hall), Miss Williamson, Mr J. J. Underwood, Mr E. C. Wright, Mr C. A. Carr, and Mrs Stevenson

 The chairman said it was far better that they should pay for such place themselves, which he understood they were doing; they would appreciate it all the more. Such Institutes made people more tolerant with their neighbours, and promoted good feeling amongst the people and the desire to help others. Wishing the hall every success, he called upon Mrs Gurney to declare it open. 

Mrs Gurney said it was the best of its kind she had ever seen, and they must be greaty indebted to Mr Williamson, who had made a scheme possible. She could not see how people of Newport could have 'lived much longer without such place. declaring the Hall open she hoped they would aek her many times in the future to help them. A bouquet of flowers was presented to Mrs Gurney by Elsie Kirk on behalf of the Recreation Club committee.

Newport Recreation Hall on the right. The Primitive Methodist chapel beyond it is no longer there.