Wednesday 6 March 2019

Hudson Ward of Goole

I'm a bit behind with my blog posts so far this year. It seems to have been a busy few weeks and I have been researching several topics which have come up in discussions with my local history friends. We have been looking particularly at the history of Spaldington and the Vavasour family who lived there and have found a surprising amount of information.

But what I wanted to write about today was the Hudson Ward premises in Goole. This iconic building is in the process of being demolished and will be sadly missed as part of Goole's skyline.

The three cottages in Princess Street, which were used partly as offices were demolished a few weeks ago.

Recently the building showed the TimmGrain logo but before that the name Hudson Ward was prominently painted on top of the silo.

Here is a vessel moored in South Dock showing the silo and next to it on the left the original roller mill.

In February 1886 the Aire and Calder Navigation leased a half acre plot in Albert St [which included 11 tenanted cottages] for 106 years  to Thomas Francis Hudson of Conisborough, Robert Robinson and Thomas Hanley, both of Doncaster.

On this site was built  a five storey high brick building [constructed by Arnold and Sons of Doncaster. The same firm later built the second Goole water tower].

The building was designed as a roller mill to mill flour from imported wheat. The machinery was supplied by ER and F Turner of Ipswich.

It was innovative and even more so when it was equipped with electric lighting in 1889 supplied by Wilson Hartnell of the Volt Works in Leeds.  Apparently Robert Robinson had visited America in 1883 to gain ideas on mill design - using electric lighting was one of them as it was safer than gas in a flour mill.

In 1893 the partnership of  Hudson, Robinson, and Hanley was dissolved and a new company was officially registered to be known as Hudson Ward and Co. Ltd.  at Dock Mills, Goole.

The subscribers were :  Thomas Hudson, his wife Florence [nee Broadbent] , Robert Robinson [who was Thomas's brother in law and married to his sister Alice],  Thomas Hanley and his son George and John and Kate Ward.

Soon afterwards Robert Robinson retired from active partnership and eventually,  after travelling the world, returned home and became mayor of Doncaster. Thomas Hanley, who had a large mill in Doncaster too, died in 1903 so  this left the Goole mill to be run by Thomas Hudson.

But we must not forget the new name - John Ward. John was born at Clifton Campville in Staffordshire. In 1881 he was a miller in Sheffield living with his wife Amelia.  In 1891 he was aged 48 and was a flour milling engineer in Rochdale. By 1901 Amelia had died and John had re-married. 

He and his wife Kate and their three children John Wigfull, Nellie and William Rickett were living in Railway Street in Snaith. John was a 58 year old corn miller. Their 9 year old daughter  Nellie had been born in Rochdale but 5 year old John had been born in Goole.

But the family did not stay in the area for long. In 1911 they were living at Sheene Mill, a traditional weatherboarded watermill in Melbourn near Royston  in Cambridgeshire. The mill is now a wedding venue. John Ward died in 1915 leaving £2000. His widow Kate and son John 'Jack' continued the business. 

They may have kept their shares in the Goole firm of Hudson Ward - their name certainly lived on -  but the Wards do not seem to have had any hands on connection with the mill after they left the area.

So that leaves the Hudson family.

Thomas Francis Hudson was born in 1856 at Finningley. His father was a farmer and miller and young Thomas had, for a time, charge of a watermill at Conisborough.

Thomas and Florence had three sons - Francis Jennings,  Reginald Peace and Vernon Broadbent- all born at Goole. By 1901 the family were living at Thorne. Francis, who died in 1972 leaving £27,000, was a mining engineer but Reginald and Vernon actively took part in the Goole milling business.

Thomas  died in 1930 at Bridlington, having 'partially retired' in 1928 but was still visiting the mill once a week. He was a Wesleyan, supporting both the Goole Boothferry Road and North Street chapels. He also served as a governor of Thorne Grammar school. He was buried at Thorne after a service at the Thorne Wesleyan chapel.

The Hudson Ward tableau for the Goole 1926 centenary celebrations

In 1947  Vernon Hudson became mayor of Goole. The newspaper report reads

 Coun. and Mrs Vernon B. Hudson, of Vernon House, Old Goole, have accepted the invitation of Goole Borough Council to become the town's next Mayor and Mayoress. Coun. Hudson was elected as a South Ward representative on the Council in 1933, the year thai Goole became a borough,  He  is president of Goole Chamber of Commerce and Shipping and managing - director of the firm of Hudson, Ward and Co., Ltd., of which his father, the late Mr T. F. Hudson, was founder.  Coun. Hudson is a member of the National Association of British and Irish Millers and sits on the industrial and negotiating committees. He has also been chairman of the National Joint Industrial Council for the Flour Milling Industry. 

The German coaster Collhusen unloading at Goole. The original Victorian mill is in the background

The firm of Hudson Ward ceased trading in 1973 and the silo eventually  became part of the Timmgrain operation. The original mill was demolished ?in the 1980s and now in 2019 the silo which features in the Dambusters film has gone too.