Saturday 19 September 2020

Milners of Goole and the history of Batty Lane Howden

 As we wait for news about whether we are going to spend more time in lockdown I am turning to history and harvesting as a relaxing distraction.

Today I have been gathering tomatoes out of the greenhouse and picking up eating apples from the garden. Our dessert apple varieties are James Grieve and Yorkshire Cockpit - but I have been collecting the windfalls carefully as the wasps are keen on them too.

Normally at this time of year I would be meeting my local history groups in Howden and Goole but of course we cannot meet  this term. I shall miss our weekly sessions.

But I am asked through my website a variety of local history queries, most of which I try to answer. And the range of queries certainly keeps my brain active!!!

They range from finding out about Mr Gordon,  a well-known Goole piano tuner who lived in Henry Street and thanks to facebook I was able to tell his relatives that he drove a Ford Anglia and played backgammon. 

To a more lengthy project finding out about the origins and history of the Milner family, florists and nurserymen of Goole and Hook.  I am enjoying this as it includes the history of Booth Ferry house at Airmyn where the first Mr Milner came as a professional gardener and the establishment of the family's large plant nurseries at both Hook and Skelton. 

Boothferry House where Thomas Milner came to work as the gardener

Now I know why the row of cottages at Skelton is called Milners Row. The family's retail shops began in Goole in Ouse Street, then moved to Aire Street and now of course their premises are in Boothferry Road. So the story reflects a large part of the history of Goole.

Aire Street in 1952 showing Milners' shop

But I have been briefly side tracked by a query which came in yesterday. Why is Batty Lane in Howden so called? So far I have not found the answer!!

Today Batty or Batty's Lane runs through from Bridgegate and out onto Selby Road. However the Bridgegate end has variously been known as Hewson Lane and Angel Lane. This was because the large Angel Inn stood where the Aquarius Bathroom shop is  - and was owned by Mr Hewson. It was built up with a row of cottages and at the end was a clay pipe manufactory.

The  OS map surveyed in 1849 shows Batty's Lane as just the bit of the lane which runs straight from the corner out onto Selby Road.

There are some interesting newspaper references to it. An 1865 sale notice describes a  house and shop for sale [now Boots]
 'situate in Bridge Gate, fronting the Market Place. The Premises are very eligibly situated for business, being in the best part of the Town; and the Garden has a frontage into Batty Lane, and is well adapted for Building purposes. 
Times don't change!

But a few years later we read of an accident at the annual horse fair where two horses collided on the lane. The report reads

A lamentable accident occurred when two valuable cobs, one belonging to Mr. Archibald Ledley, of Belfast, and the other to Mr. J. Stephenson, of Leeds, which were bei)g shown off in Batty-lane, cannoned against each other. They were going at full speed  and each dislocated his shoulder and sustained other injuries which will, in all probability necessitate their being destroyed. The riders were thrown to the ground with great violence, and one of them was carried away insensible on a shutter to the Angel Inn.

It is interesting that the owners of the horses are named, the injuries to the horses described and then only finally do we hear of the unnamed riders.

And a third extract leaves some doubt as to other events which took place in Batty Lane. In 1903 at the local magistrates court Mrs Lavinia Murgatroyd of Market Weighton, was charged by Martha Newham of Howden with assaulting her. Newham stated that about midnight she saw her son in the company of the defendant in Batty Lane and requested him to come home. Defendant struck her, giving her a black eye She was fined £1.

Bridgegate showing the Angel Inn on the left. The entrance to Batty Lane is just beyond where the lady is standing.

So we know of Batty Lane but not who it was named after. It is a well-known name now in Howden but having researched the family I cannot find any connection with a Batty family who may have lived there or owned the nearby land in the early 1800s. My only result has been a family who left Howden for Leeds in the 1840s and a John Batty who emigrated from Howden to Illinois and served with the Unionists in the civil war.

If anyone knows any more about any of these topics I would be delighted to hear from them - contact me via my website.