Sunday 31 December 2017

Slideshow of old Bridgegate, Howden

I have recently upgraded my computer and have been playing with an application which allows me to create and save slideshows.

Here is my first attempt using some old pictures of Bridgegate in Howden. Try opening it in full screen view.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Memories of Balkholme

Christmas Day has been and gone and today the turkey was made into a pie. It has been snowing in the south of the country but here we have nothing but a bit of frost.

In this slightly quieter time between Christmas and New Year I have been looking at  some of my own family history. I found an interesting reference to my Nurse ancestors in a golden wedding report from 1906. Such reports are always fascinating as they allow one a glimpse of ordinary lives of local people. This one tells of a couple from Balkhome who celebrated their golden wedding in 1906 but who could remember events from the 1830s.

March 1906

On Thursday of last week Mr and Mrs William Gibson, Balkholme, near Eastrington, celebrated their golden wedding, and were the recipients of hearty congratulations and good wishes from a large number of residents throughout the Eastrington and Howden district, where both resided the whole of their lives.

Mr Gibson, who is in his 76th year, was born at Balkholme on the 10th of March 1831, and is the eldest son of the late Samuel Gibson, and one of a family of 12 children. He has not been a great traveller, and excepting odd day's outing, has spent the whole of his life at, or within a mile two of, the hamlet of Balkholme. He only attended school  for a few days sometimes," and had to commence work at a very early age to help maintain the family, he and his mother working day in and day out in all weathers for 1s a day—the mother 8d, and the boy 4d a day; whilst his father's wages as labourer, qualified do any kind of farm work, were but 10s a week. At the age of 13 he was hired at Saltmarshe Grange, under Mr Dunnell, where he rose to be foreman.

After twelve years' service, at the of 25, he wooed and wed Miss Maria Johnson, eldest daughter of a family ten of the late Mr W. Johnson, of Goole, two years his junior, Miss Johnson having been born at Goole, on April 28th, 1835. The wedding took place St. Peter's Church, Howden, on the 29th March, 1856: and during their long and happy married life they have occupied a small holding at Balkholme, under T. Martin, of 'Yorkfleet', where they are able to keep a cow  or two, and are spending their declining years in comparatively comfortable circumstances.

He and Mrs Gibson have had only a small family  of three sons, all of whom are still living, married, and doing well —George, aged 48, living at Barmston; Henry (46), living at Mews; and Jack (40), residing in Hull. Their grandchildren number 11. Mr and Mrs Gibson, despite their advanced age, enjoy wonderful health, and have had little expense with doctoring. The former has scarcely ever had had a day's illness in his life, and thinks nothing now of an eight or nine miles walk. In his own words, he has been used "to roughing it," and is a true type of the robust Yorkshireman of the olden days.

When interviewed by our representative, he related several interesting incidents of 60 years ago. He recollects the old coach running between Selby and Hull, and the opening the Hull and Selby Railway; the days when the threshing was done by the flail and horse machine; the introduction of the steam threshing machine, the first coming into Balkholme belonging to Messrs Thompson and Nurse. Wheat was over £4 a quarter, and flour 4s stone. He has mown as much as 18 acres of wheat, and with the help of his wife, tied up, stooked and raked the same ready for leading in 7 or 8 days, at from 7s to an acre.

Balkholme is not exactly a large place but Mr Gibson seems to have been happy there not travelling far for the whole of his life.

The article  was illustrated but few photographs were published then in newspapers so this is what the reader of the Hull Mail saw.

It would not be easy to recognise the Gibsons from this

Maria died in 1916 and William died in 1918

And I learned that my ancestor, probably Isaac Nurse and his brother in law Stephen Thompson who was a machine maker, had a very early steam threshing machine.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Sandholme brickworks

It is Christmas Eve and I have just tidied up the kitchen, fed the chickens with some old crusts and am looking forward to a busy day of cooking and wrapping. But I thought I would just complete this blog post which I began a few days ago.

I was recently asked about the history of the brickworks at Sandholme. It is now  a landfill site at the side of the M62 motorway..

 I thought I knew all about it as a friend's grandfather was the manager there but when I came to do a bit of research I ran into trouble. My information was that it opened around 1855 and stood on land allotted to the Saltmarshe family in the late 18th century when Bishopsoil Common was enclosed.

I have looked on old maps but cannot find anything until the 1890s and I also noticed that the land where it stood was allotted to Cotness. It seems that Philip Saltmarshe of Saltmarshe and Rev Philip Simpson of Metham, who owned Cotness, swapped some land in the 1860s.

Philip Saltmarshe, at some point, then decided that it would be useful and perhaps profitable to have his own brickworks to provide bricks  for the farms and houses on his estate at Saltmarshe, Laxton and Balkholme. There were already long established brickworks at nearby Newport and there was obviously suitable clay. However the site was a good distance from the Market Weighton canal which offered convenient water transport for heavy bricks and tiles for commercial sales.

But then the Hull and Barnsley railway line was built in the 1880s and conveniently passed adjacent to the site. Transport problems were solved at a stroke and sidings ran from Sandholme station into the brickworks. I wonder in fact whether there was a brickworks before the railway - further research needed.

Sandholme brickyard adjacent to the Hull and Barnsley railway

In 1901 the brickyard foreman was Jarvis Slater, originally from Eastrington and there were three other houses for workers on the site. In all there were five more brickyard labourers and one man who was the stationary engine driver living at the brickworks.

Meanwhile at Saltmarshe in the mid 1880s a new estate manager, John Biggs had been appointed.  He lived at Laxton and was responsible for the operation of the brickyard, in later years arriving there to pay the wages in a large car, an unusual sight at that time.

He employed a new brickyard foreman from Yaddlethorpe brickworks,  John William Clark.  John and his wife Ada and family lived on site but before the First World War  he moved to the brickworks at Crowle. However his cousin, Luther Clark, remained at the Sandholme brickworks.

He had married local girl Bertha Turner and they had two daughters, Bertha and Eva. He became the brickyard manager and remained part of Newport life for many years, being a stalwart of the chapel.

While researching the brickyard I was surprised to find that during the First World war there was an official work camp there for conscientious objectors. There was a barracks which was later converted into a house. As yet I know nothing further about it but more records are coming online all the time.

The brickworks was sold by the Saltmarshe estate and for a time was run by the White family from Eastrington. It finally closed, I think, in 1969.

And now it's time to leave local history and celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas to all who read my blog.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Amid the winter snow

As I sit here there is still a bit of snow on the garden. Last winter we barely saw a flake so it was a great surprise on Thursday evening when I was supposed to be going out to see a mini blizzard. I did not go as the roads around here are twisty and narrow without having to negotiate falling snow.

I like to write a blog post every month but seem to have got a bit behind as now it is December and I wrote nothing in November. But this does not mean I have been idle!

I am a member of a Facebook group entitled Howden the good old days and  I recently posted some Howden junior school pictures on it which created a lot of interest. Two dated from 1981/2 and I am reposting one here which I numbered. With the help of  members of the group I have several names too so here they are. If I'm wrong please tell me.


1 Adam Verney
2 Pamela Williams
3 Shane Hudson
4 Steve Brown?
5 Helen Bateman
6 Sally Atkinson?
7 Debbie Kennedy
8 Caroline Close
9 Paula England
10 Samantha Addy
12 Thelma Coates
13 Jacki Guilliard?
14 Alison Braithwaite
15 Kirstine Simpson
16 Michell Guilliard?
17 Sarah Falkingham
18 Chris Welford
19 ? Gabriella Grendel
20 Tony Leetham
21 Jamie Maltman
22 Mike Ginty
23 Katie Green
24 Tony Wheldrake
25 Melanie Watton
26 Rachel Larard
28 Mark Varney
29 Dawn Arthur
30 Simon Leighton
31 Mike Rhodes
32 Danny Nalton
33 James Stephenson
35 Elizabeth Turner
36 Susan Turner - twins
37 Andrew Bancroft
38 Richard Malkin
39 Amanda Lewis
40 Paul Lightowler
41 Chris Herbert
42 Diane McNorton
43 Vikki Blyth
44 Graham Guest
45 Jonathan Milnes
46 Sophie
47  Jeremy Milnes
49 Nicky Bliss
50 Ayshea Hammond
51 Joanne Hoad
52 Richard Harrison
55 Simon Coult
53  ??Quinn
56 Amanda Kaye
57 Michaela Warrener

In black number 54 -  Kevin Newman, dressed as a photographer!

I will write another post soon about the work we are doing on Old Goole but in the meantime am going to prepare a small  display for tomorrow to put up in the Bishop's Palace aka the Manor House in Howden.

This weekend there is an 'artisan market' being held there and I am having one end of a table  on Sunday. The other end will be occupied by Saltmarshe Honey who are selling their jars of River Balsam honey. The hives are in our garden and although the bees are asleep they will, fingers crossed, be busy again in spring.

In between selling honey the beekeepers, Steven Goulden and Amy Butler, aka The Saltmarshe Duo will be performing live Christmas music.

The Fitch family on the Manor House lawn around 1900

It will be a busy day.

Saturday 21 October 2017

Eastrington memories

Last week I was in Eastrington church singing the words 'Ere the winter storms begin' [from the harvest hymn  "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" written in 1844 by Henry Alford].

This took me back to my childhood when St Michael's was decorated for harvest with fruit and flowers, giant onions and marrows and in particular a miniature beautifully made straw stack which stood on the steps of the font. Sometimes my mother played the organ but last week it was my daughter.

But back to the storms and they do seem to be coming one a week. Now they have names - Ophelia, Brian etc - although I cannot help wondering whether they are just normal winter storms and if we did not have TV weather forecasts we would just accept them as they probably did in 1844.

Of course the winds are blowing off the leaves and apples.

Molly loves eating apples and is eying up these Bramleys

Lovely autumn colours in Saltmarshe Park

Molly loves running through the leaves

I have too, in-between taking pictures, been looking at some history. In both my Howden and Goole classes we have been finding out about different trades and occupations. 

Our most recent topic has been joiners, wheelwrights and undertakers. We have looked at the Hill family of Swinefleet, Fletchers undertakers in Goole, Fred White and David Bullement in Howden and my own family, the Nurses of Eastrington.

My grandfather Robert Nurse was, with his brother Clifford, the village joiner, following in the footsteps of their father Robert Thomas Nurse and their grandfather Robert. 

Their joiner's shop was on Station Road, in the yard of what is today called Bramble Cottage, where my great uncle Cliff lived.

Of course I have lots of family stories, including the one where they could not get some new-fangled flock wallpaper to stay on with glue, so they nailed it up! Also the tradition that when a village girl got married my grandfather made  a rolling pin for her. Has anyone still got one in the family?

Freddie Philips of Howden, left and Robert Nurse, my grandfather, right with a good selection of wheels made at Eastrington

Station Road, Eastrington. The large house, end on to the road was built by my 5x gt grandfather George Wise Nurse.

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Bennett steamship company of Goole

After reading my post about the Bennett family of Goole Harvey Tripp, editor of The Norseman, the journal of the Boothferry Family and Local History group,  sent me the following interesting piece.

Goole Times, 19th December 1975


On Friday one of Goole's landmarks disappeared - the sign on the offices in Stanhope Street which for almost 50 years proclaimed proudly that here were the offices of the Bennett Steamship Company.
The removal of the sign - one of the 'patent' signs made by Gunnill of Goole - coincided with the disappearance of the company as a separate entity after a century of trading from Goole. From the beginning of the month the Bennett Steamship Co. Ltd became part of P & O Ferries (General European).

John Bennett's Red Cross Line of steamers was founded in September 1875 and for 100 years the company has operated a Goole to Boulogne service. Bennett was a Goole farmer who imported fruit, vegetables and potatoes from Boulogne, using chartered ships. Outward cargoes were of coal, and Bennett soon raised sufficient capital to buy his own ships.

His original idea was to establish a regular cargo and parcels' service between Goole, Calais and Ostend but after initial setbacks a regular Goole to Boulogne service was established, largely to replace the service by the General Steam Navigation which was being discontinued. Even today the Goole to Boulogne service still sails weekly. The 528 ton Petrel regularly carries 15 000 to 18 000 cases of whisky for the French market.

The red cross of the Bennett steamship line was soon established and well- known both in this country and in France, but in 1922 its use caused trouble with the War Office, which claimed that the funnel marking of a red cross on a broad white band infringed the Geneva Convention.

The managing director of the shipping line, John Bentley Bennett, son of the founder, replied that the red cross was a well-known and valuable trade mark, and had sentimental value from its associations.
The War Office was not impressed and stated that "the continued use of the red cross emblem on the flags and funnels of your ships .......... could not be reconciled with the international obligations entered into by His Majesty's government."

Help was sought from Goole Chamber of Commerce and Shipping and from Goole's M.P., Captain T. E. Sotheron-Estcourt, who asked the finance secretary to the War Office to intervene.
It was all to no avail and in April 1933 Bennett was given two years in which to remove the red cross from the ships and house flags. A compromise was, in fact, reached and the house flag was redesigned to show a red flag on a blue background with a white border.

During the Second World War the three Bennett Steamship Co.'s vessels, Corea, Sparta and Hydra, carried munitions to France and food supplies to the population of Boulogne. The first loss was the Corea,  which was blown apart by a mine off Harwich on 7th December1939. Six of the crew were lost in addition to the master, Captain Harry Needham.

Sparta also struck a mine in the English Channel in March 1941 and sank. She was originally the Petone and came to Bennett's from New Zealand. The third vessel, Hydra, was a lighter and was sold for scrap after the war.

John Bentley Bennett died in 1946 and the original family name of  the company disappeared when the concern was taken over by General Steam Navigation, restoring the Goole to Boulogne service they discontinued 45 years earlier. General Steam Navigation in its turn was acquired by P & O lines.

At the height of the Goole to Boulogne trade - between the wars - Bennett's had a staff of almost 400 in Boulogne and nearly as many in this country. Today the service is run by a handful of staff at each end, headed by the general manager, Mr Douglas Longhorn, who has been with the company in Goole for 25 years.

Cargoes handled by the company in its century of trading have varied enormously. The first consignment for Goole 100 years ago included seven cases of silks from Lyons, and other cargoes included fruit, flowers and vegetables, and thousands of wicker baskets shipped direct to London and northern markets between the wars.

A quick turn-round was the secret of Bennett's success and in 1908, on the day before the Bank Holiday, 67 000 packages of vegetables were loaded on to the three ships which left between 3 p.m. and midnight to catch the Covent Garden market the next morning.

At one time the line carried cars, and in 1926 Bennett steamers crossed the Channel 534 times to carry 8 000 Citroën and Renault cars, mostly for use as London taxis. Recently cargoes have included raw wool, ores for smelting, steel strip and whisky, of which Bennett's carry 60% of France's importation.
Now the company has disappeared, bringing to an end one of the port's oldest shipping lines and a link with the 19th century entrepreneurs who built up Goole's prosperity.

Bank Chambers, Goole showing the Bennett sign mentioned above

Visitors from Seattle

It is definitely now autumn. The leaves are turning and coming off in the wind. And it is conker time. Although we no longer string them on a bootlace to play with I still could not resist picking up a pocketful this morning as I walked Molly and putting them in a small bowl on the kitchen table. I know they will soon lose their brown shininess but for the moment they are attractive to look at.

I had a lovely time last week showing Tammy and her husband who are from near Seattle USA around Howden. Her great grandfather Arthur  Weatherill was born in Howden in 1862 and later emigrated to the USA. Arthur was the son of a Methodist minister so I could take Tammy to exactly where Arthur was born in Hailgate and also show her the site of the old Methodist chapel where her great great grandfather would have preached. I really enjoy meeting the people with whom I have been communicating over e mail. E mails are great but nothing beats a face to face contact. And they loved Howden!

Inside the Howden Wesleyan chapel

I spend a lot of time looking up things on the British Newspaper archive site. It can tho' be very distracting as you look up one topic and then find the search has thrown up several other articles to read.

This is how I came across this charming description of Howden from July 1891 which appeared in the Hull Daily Mail. I have edited it slightly but, like my American visitors, the author was impressed by his visit to Howden over a hundred years ago. I must admit to being impressed myself by the eloquence of his prose.


 I travelled 20 odd miles by the Hull and Barnsley Railway yesterday, and discovered a new county - by no means a fruitless afternoon's work.

After the manner of Gulliver, I found a county (as he did a country) which is "not on the map," and of which not one Englishman in 50,000 is aware. And, oddly enough, I only set out to make acquaintance with a somnolent country town and a flower show. But I unearthed, I have said a "county" and one of the handsomest perpendicular parish churchcs in England.

 Oh! no! I do not claim to be the pioneer of unknown land ! It has all been "discovered" long since, no doubt. Still I mean to make it more widely known, and if possible more generally exploited. Let me present to you, then, Howdenshire and the Church of St. Peter! The district is veritably known as "Howdenshire." l am not making any play upon words. And it is  the capital—Howden —where this beautiful ecclesiastical edifice is to seen.


'' Come and see Howden ! Come—and—see— Howden! " Thus sing the bells in the tall church tower! " Here —Is —a Flower—Land! Here—ls —a—Flower —Land !
Thus do they vary their refrain! I hie thither as quickly as I can over the tortuous cobbles of the corkscrew streets. Would that the day were finer ! It has been raining, though is not doing so now, being early afternoon, and it means to rain again (though happily I do not know it or I should flee away home) with an overwhelming arrogance which forbids even tearful entreaty. However, just now it is fine, with faint gleams streaming from storm-laden clouds. So I go at once to the Church, being devout, with my eagle eye soaring in aspiration to the summit of the said Church tower.


 The streets are picturesque and pretty, like all village highways in the broad county, and the houses are demure with age, as they present their faces straight to the footpaths and their backs to the greenest of old time gardens, like folk of frosty exterior with genial hearts. The soft stately splendour of the old church rises benignly before us. Its grey buttresses and sad hued walls, its weather-chipped pinnacles and crumbling niche-figures, speak of the never ceasing war between the elements and the stone.

Founded in 1267, the church has stood its ground well, but it is going, vanishing though imperceptibly, and' some of it has already been ravaged to the state of ruin by time. Witness the once splendid Choir and dainty-lined Chapter House. And above all soars the splendid tower, with its deep, perpendicular transoms —the windows of its soul !
Breathless with mounting the 140 odd steps of the stair turret  I gain  the leads, and gaze down from and beyond the embattled parapet. There is a magnificent view. Far across the smiling land of the great Plain of York one's eyes flit until Selby is sighted, and Ebor City itself is almost discerned. Many miles to the east the Wolds undulate in one long ridge, hiding Scarborough, Bridlington, and the whole of the eastern littoral. In the west earth and sky seem to meet in a diffusion of pale sungleam. Southward the Lincolnshire hills gleam out against a bank of cloud ! Lo, I will not tear the veil from that view by further words.


 In the tents of the show ground I see some of the finest blooms out of London —that city which reveres the best flowers. The cut roses are ideals of the English floral emblem. The season is late, and this suits the roses of Howdenshire. What could be more chastely beautiful than this wax-like Mereille de Lyon, more rich and glowing than that Marie Van Houtt ? What more delicious than the old time Gloire de Dijon, more tender than the cream-yellowed and blissful folds of the Marechal Neil.

Dahlias, too, are remarkably good, considering the season, but I do not care for dahlias. They look best, though, in serried ranks on their stands where they are now. I pass the floral epergnes, which demonstrate emphatically what can be done with varied grasses, a few poppies and stocks, common roses, and a frond or two of exotic ferns. Bridal bouquets bore out the same view as to modest means combined with taste and artistic fingers. What strikes me most is the excellence of the amateurs' exhibits. Their cut roses are not quite so good those of the professional growers, but their dahlias and some other blooms are every bit equal.


Vegetables make a brave, bright show; the brilliance of the tomatoes, the florid tones of beet and shalot, the greens of peas, cabbages, and spring onions, and the browns of the humble potato, setting out in respective trays quite pleasantly, with a suggestion to the substantial accompaniments which they obtain at the prandial board. Mr Lynch, head gardener of Carlton Towers —Lord Beaumont's place—assures that he has not seen a better display of vegetable produce out of London. 

Sunday 10 September 2017

Bennett family of Goole

It's Sunday morning and September but I think we are a long way from an Indian summer. I had hoped to be outside this afternoon picking apples and damsons but it is blowing, rainy and cold outside.

But I am looking forward to starting teaching my local history classes this week in Howden and Goole. Tomorrow is the History of Howden and area at 1.30pm in the Town Council offices where we shall begin by looking at the history of local railways. Thursday morning is the History of Goole at 10am in the Ilkeston Ave community centre. I have been working as a tutor for the WEA for many years now and always enjoy meeting new faces and making new friends.

But as ever I am also busy with local history research. I have been looking at the history of the Bennett family of Goole. John Bennett, originally from Adlingfleet, founded the Bennett Steam shipping company of Goole and lived at Grove House in Old Goole. He began by transporting cargoes of potatoes but soon expanded to running a shipping company and owning several ships.

But as well as his shipping interests he also played a prominent part in the growth of the town.  He was involved with the local government of Goole and was  too a canny entrepreneur.
For example in 1875 he bought the land now around the Market Hall and Alexandra St, had it laid out with streets and sewers and then sold it to anyone who wanted to develop it. It was called Bennett's Town.

His son, Herbert Thomas Bennett, lived at Old Potter Grange. He married Mary Taylor whose father John was also a prominent  in Goole, originally arriving in the town from Liverpool where he worked for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. He was sent to Goole  at a day's notice as what we today would call a trouble shooter when the firm of Watson Cunliffe and Co who ran many of the Goole steamships went bankrupt in 1865.

The history of the Bennett and Taylor families is in many ways a microcosm the history of the port and town of Goole. Perhaps Goole should have a Bennett Street!

This is the funeral report from February 1904


 Amidst many manifestations of regret, the remains of the late John Bennett, Grove House, Old Goole head of the firm of the Bennett line steamships, Hull, London, and Boulogne, and a well known agriculturist, were laid rest in the ancient and picturesque churchyard of Whitgift, about seven miles from Goole. near the village of Adlingfleet, the birthplace of the deceased.

Close by runs the river, along which ply the steamers that trade with the Ouse port, and along which the deceased has times without number passed in journey to and from the continent. It may be the late Mr Bennett selected that quiet spot partly for this reason. Whitgift has been the family burial ground of the Bennetts for many years past.

The time fixed for leaving Grove House was one o'clock. and one of the largest funeral processions seen Goole for many years past was formed. The hearse, with numerous floral tributes, sent bv sympathising friends from all round the country side, from Boulogne, from London, and other distant places with which the deceased had business and friendly connection, from the various staffs, from the various local public bodies, and stores other acquaintances, was followed by the mourning coaches, numerous private coaches, carriages, traps, etc.

In addition there was a large concourse of townspeople foot, including members of the various public bodies, magistrates, shipowners, and others connected with shipping, friends from Boulogne, London, Hull, and many other places, members of the various staffs, workpeople, and servants, captains. mates. engineers, sailors and firemen of the Bennett Company—all work having ceased for the day— and those of other steamers in port and others. The cortege extended a considerable distance. Those on foot followed from Grove House to Earnshaw's drain, the extent of the Goole urban boundary.

Here they joined the Goole passenger steamer Empress, which the Goole and Hull Steam Packet Company had placed their disposal free of charge. They were taken down the river to Whitgift jetty, where they were landed, and thence walked to the church, a distance of about quarter a mile, there again joining the funeral procession. Meantime the cortege itself passed along through Swinefleet, where drawn blinds showed signs of respect to one who was personally known to the villagers. The same respect was manifested the villagers of Reedness and Whitgilt, and at each place the procession augmented farmers, villagers, and others from the extensive district of Marshland. The service in the church was conducted the Vicar Goole and Rural of Snaith (Rev Canon Carr M.A.), who was assisted by other clergy. The church was able to accommodate but a small number present, but the scene at the graveside was such one that has not been witnessed for years.

Grove House in Old Goole, now demolished

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Howden Minster music history

I think I have been overtaken by events over the last month and so this post is probably overdue. The garden has 'escaped' as every time I think I will cut the grass it rains and the bindweed has twined itself around everything, indiscriminately around flowers and nettles.

The good news is that we have now decided to let out our chickens and they are so pleased to be scratching amongst the grass and aforementioned weeds. We hope that this might cure them of laying soft shelled eggs as although they have access to plenty of grit it is not the same as pecking bits up from the garden. We have also put some cider vinegar into their water as we read this might help.

One of the reasons I have been busy is that I have been researching, writing and printing out a display on the history of music in Howden Minster. This is to coincide with a  Yorkshire Day concert in the Minster on Saturday 5th August given by Steven Goulden, a locally based tenor who is singing a variety of music ranging from the Howden Horse Fair song to Nessun Dorma.

He is accompanied by Amy Butler who will also be playing a piano solo entitled Souvenir de Sand Hall, written in the early twentieth century by F Reinhold Muller of Goole, for Mrs Scholfield of Sandhall.

I put the display up on Monday- it covers the medieval history of music in Howden, the grammar school, the organ, the 1929 fire and includes a lot of Minster choir photos. There is also a section on Steven's fund raising concerts in the Minster in the 1990s and on his grandfather John Goulden of Rawcliife who was a semi- professional tenor himself.

Interestingly most of the choir photos were loaned to me by Malcolm and Margaret Watson, former choir members. Margaret's father, Fred Swales, often sang in concerts in Howden Church with Steven's grandfather John.

While researching I was looking through the 1971 files of the Goole Times. I found a picture of Howden which I could not believe was taken then as it seems so timeless.

 I also found in the same year an article about  the shoe shop on Pasture Road in Goole where I remember going to get my school shoes. This was run by the Misses Flower and I remember sitting on a sort of throne to have my feet measured. Then I was fitted for the sensible shoes which were part of the uniform at Goole Grammar. Black lace up for outdoors and brown flat shoes for indoors. Happy days!

Sunday 25 June 2017

Howden Minster visit

Last Saturday  I was at Eastrington show, sitting behind our stall, displaying and selling old photos and honey. It was a good day, hot outside but cool enough in the village hall where our stall was and - as an added bonus - we were able to buy a very good bacon sandwich for £2.

Our eggs won first prize too - but since then we have lost another hen to a visiting fox.  Very upsetting to see the evidence. We think our hens are not frightened of a fox as they are so used to Molly. So until we can be sure the fox is not going to come again the remaining birds are confined to quarters with large heaps of green weeds to compensate.

On Tuesday afternoon we visited Howden Minster. The students from my Howden and Goole WEA history classes joined together along with a few friends and we looked in real life at the building we had studied over the winter months.

There is so much to see and the church members - Hazel, Maynard and Dave could not have been more helpful. Gilbert Tawn, a member of my Goole class has produced a small booklet about the MInster stained glass while another student, Pauline has been looking at the hatchments in the Saltmarshe chapel. We were able to walk outside in the ruined choir

and a few intrepid people climbed the tower. I  made it to the top some years ago but this time decided that I would stop at the ringing chamber. The spiralling stone staircase was obviously designed for longer legs than mine!!

The photo above was taken the morning after the fire in 1929. We were initially puzzled as the window shown is clearly not the one there today. But then we read that a few days later all the glass fell out and a completely new window was put in.

It has been a historical week as on Friday night I went with some friends to Harswell church near Holme on Spalding Moor. The church is very small and down a long track and this was a fundraiser to repair the uneven floor tiles.  We listened to fascinating talk about the history of the church and village given by historian David Neave. And the canapés afterwards were good - although it was a bit chilly.

Now looking forward to more rural pursuits such as dog walking.

Thursday 8 June 2017

Eastrington history

As I write the sun has come out after several days of heavy rain. It is good for the garden but the ground is strewn with leaves and twigs and the begonias which we are experimenting with growing straight into the soil are a bit beaten down.

It is election day and I have been to vote - it will be interesting to see the results tomorrow morning.

We are going next weekend to Eastrington Show where I shall put on a display of old photos and try to sell a few of my books on the history of the village. Sadly the village shop and post office where they were on sale closed a few weeks ago so for the first time for hundreds of years there is no shop in the village.

In my childhood there were two shops - Mr and Mrs Dove's and Mr and Mrs Holland's. Hollands' shop was I think bigger and I seem to remember there was a side room with extra goods on sale. My mother however tended to go to "Joan Dove's "as she had been at school with her and I was often sent to buy cooked meat for tea or paraffin for the heater in our kitchen. Harry Dove delivered newspapers and Mr Holland [Wilf?] delivered milk.

There was also a post office run by Arnold Hoggard, two butchers [ Lilleys and Rewcastles], Dennis Hanson's stamp business, a small library in the [old] village hall, a garage [ George Benson, then Joe Kendrick] and an off licence [Mrs Clara Betts].

The Flint family ran the village stores and also  had a travelling shop

I do not remember but I know that in the 1930s and 40s there were also two fish and chip shops,  the Cross Keys pub [ where the garage is now],  a joiner and undertaker [ my grandfather Robert Nurse and his brother Cliff]  a saddler and shoemaker [ Mr Ellis],  a sweet shop [ Stan Kay in an old tram] a blacksmith and a family in Amethyst House who baked bread.

Most villages the size of Eastrington were self sufficient although with two stations and an hourly bus service to Goole and Hull travel was easy.

But the show, always the third Saturday in June, has survived. This year our stall will be under cover and as well as books on the history of Eastrington, Howden, Goole and Saltmarshe we are selling jars of our Saltmarshe honey.

It takes a lot of bees to produce a pound of honey - around 50.000 in each hive

We hope to be busy but have time too to have a walk round and see old friends.

Show committee in the 1960s. 

Sunday 28 May 2017

Honey and history

Today we have been putting honey in jars after extracting it yesterday. A very sticky business but the  honey tastes delicious. It is a spring blossom honey and our bees have done us proud as they have been foraging on the tree blossoms in Saltmarshe Park as well as on the local fields of oil seed rape. This is our first harvest of honey this year and it looks like there is plenty more to come.

 I am hoping too that we will have good apple and plum crops later in the year as of course the bees have pollinated them.

We have put some jars  in the porch outside our house, Joiner's Cottage in Saltmarshe along with our eggs and my booklet on the history of Saltmarshe -  is this what they mean when people talk of a cottage industry?!

But I have had time for a bit of historical research too.  I wrote recently of the Leak family from Balkholme who emigrated to Utah. Well now I have found another local family who made a similar journey.

Charles and Mary England [nee Pears] lived at Skelton near Howden and had fourteen children. Their daughter Mary was the tenth child, born in August 1816.

An American descendant wrote that 'She grew to be a pretty woman with fine features, gray eyes, and black hair. She was a very refined, quiet, genteel lady -gifted in the art of needlework'.

Mary had two daughters, Elizabeth born 1837  at Skelton and Maria born 1840 at Portington before her marriage. In 1848 at Howden she married William Scott Cawkwell. He was a widower, then living at Sandhall and she was living at home in Skelton.

Soon after their marriage they moved to the Sheffield area where William worked as a carter.  Mary's daughters Elizabeth, who had married William Ball  and Maria, who had married Robert Boole and their families lived nearby.

Life was hard and the families were poor. In a description of the early life of Elizabeth's son Alfred we read he went to school for half a day and worked the other half  in a cotton mill tying knots to set the loom for weaving cloth.

Then one day in 1863  Elizabeth heard the LDS.[ Mormon] missionaries preaching. She became interested and started to attend meetings. So did her mother Mary and both joined the LDS church.
Meanwhile the Mary and daughter Elizabeth's families moved to Rosedale where the men found work in the ironstone mines and the children worked loading coal into the furnaces.

But sadly Elizabeth was not well and the doctors said she had little time to live -  it became her hearts’s desire to go to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mary and Elixabeth sewed and sold quilts to raise money and in 1870 Elizabeth and her children set off.  They left Liverpool for New York and travelled from New York to Salt Lake City by steam boat. arriving in Salt Lake City on August 5, 1870.

Elizabeth died February 24, 1871 and left her five children in the care of the church members. Meanwhile back in England Mary  continued to work and save and the rest of the family left England on 11 June 1874 on the steamship Nevada, arriving in Salt Lake City on 2 July 1874.

Mary and William bought a small farm in Sandy, Utah, where they apparently enjoyed life.seeing their grandchildren marry,  have homes and great grandchildren.

When I give talks people often say to me that people did not travel far in Victorian days. In fact it is surprising how many of them did.

I haven't any pictures of nineteenth century Skelton but here is the village celebrating Coronation Day in 1953.