Wednesday 14 October 2020

Richard Cooper of Goole.

Buying an icecream in Richard Cooper Street from Anthony White

It's a cold day and there's gloomy news on the Covid virus front so it seemed a good time to look at a bit of local history.  

There have been questions on the Goole facebook page about the origins of some street names - in particular the now demolished  Richard Cooper and Phoenix streets. It does seem a great pity that these names have not been preserved in some way.

At the time of the demolition [October 2010] I wrote a piece in the Goole Times which, with some editing and additions I reproduce below.

The history of both streets begins with the birth of Richard Cooper  in 1825, the son of Thomas Cooper and  his wife Mary  who were the licensees of the Half Moon inn, which stood on the site of the New Bridge inn.   The year after Richard’s birth the Goole to Knottingley canal and docks were  completed and the Goole we know began to grow as a town and port.

A Richard Cooper cooking range
By 1851 Richard was working at an iron and brass foundry in Bridge Street alongside his younger brother Henry. He married Ann Tait/Tate of Asselby [but born at Cliffe] at Howden on Christmas Day 1858 and by 1861 he was living at East Albert Street, off Bridge Street with his wife and one year old daughter, Minnie. This was the site of his original Phoenix foundry where he employed five men and two boys. The company made, amongst other things, cooking ranges, stamped with the name Richard Cooper and many of these were installed in the new houses erected in the later years of the nineteenth century in Goole and the surrounding villages.

An advert for Richard Cooper's Aire Street shop in 1875
His business prospered and he moved his family into new premises in Aire Street where he also ran an ironmonger’s business. 

These premises were part of the impressive new Bank Buildings, opened in Aire Street in 1870 for the Leeds and County Bank and then described as 'near the Railway Station'. They eventually became  a branch of the Midland Bank and closed as bank premises in 1928 with the business moving to  the Market Place branch [now of course itself closed and a branch of Wetherspoons].

Bank Buildings built in 1870 and pictured in 1952

By the 1880s Richard Cooper was described as an engine maker and brass founder and employed 46 men and boys. The family now also included daughters Lillie and Susan and 12 year old Richard.

Soon afterwards, with Goole growing rapidly and his business interests prospering Mr Cooper bought a piece of land  on a new building site behind the recently erected houses on the south side of Marshfield Road. Here he began building two more rows of new houses and, in September 1886 a warehouse which became the centre of a small foundry and ironworks named, like the one in Bridge Street, the Phoenix works.

The houses on Richard Cooper street and Phoenix street were probably built by Walter Dixie who also built some of the properties in  the Marshfield area although the mid eighties provided work for many as housebuilding went on all over the town.

Between 1880 and 1890 Ouse Cottage on Hook road, Carlisle Cottages on Carlisle St., the old water tower, the bank and other buildings  on the west side of  Aire Street,  more Hook Road houses north of Marshfield, the first house in Clifton Gardens, the new court house and police station, Anglesey house, now the Nat West bank,  Tower View on Boothferry Road, part of Weatherill St as well as  Montagu, Gordon and Jefferson streets were all built.

By 1891 numbers one to 40 Phoenix Street were occupied and there were 34 occupied in Richard Cooper Street, which was so new it had not been given numbers.

Number four Phoenix Street was already in business as a grocer’s shop while the first house in Richard Cooper Street was where Mr Dixie had built himself a new house.

Many of the occupants then were mariners, tug boat captains, clerks and carpenters. For example at 39, Phoenix St. was John Sherburn, captain of a steamship while at 34 was Mrs Elizabeth Claybourn, like many in the street described as wife but also as head of the household on census night as her husband was away at sea. At number 28 was Erastus Haigh, a shipwright with his wife Rhoda and their nine children while in Richard Cooper street were, for example, three families named Depledge, all mariners, Alfred Steele a coach painter and Richard Huntington who had a grocer’s shop.

Ten years later in 1901 the street was numbered and several of the houses still had the same occupants: at 29 was still Mr Huntington, at number 33 was Mr Steele and the Depledge families lived at 16, 20 and 26. It was still largely a street occupied by mariners: Robert Alcock, George Gill, William Blakey, Albert Watson, George Arnold and Thomas Eyre all made their livings by going to sea.

Walter Dixie, who had originally come to Goole in 1864 as a ten year old boy and lived in a wooden hut with his father, a navvy working on the Staddlethorpe to Thorne railway line, was in 1901 living in his own house now identified as number two Richard Cooper Street.

And living nearby at number one Phoenix Street, with his widowed daughter was Richard Cooper himself. In 1891 he had sold his Hook road works to Messrs Earle of Hull, shipbuilders. They expanded the premises, installing new machinery and even electric lighting but times were competitive and the firm went into voluntary liquidation in 1900, putting 70 Goole men out of work.

Mrs Ann Cooper did not live to see this sad day, dying in 1892 and Richard Cooper then moved to live with his eldest daughter Mrs Minnie Cluff. Mr Cooper died in 1908 aged 82.

This was his obituary in the Goole Times

 Goole Times  March 27th  1908 

Death of a Goole Tradesman.- Our readers will learn with regret the news of the death of Mr. Richard Cooper, a retired tradesman of the town, which occurred on Monday at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Cluff, Phoenix-street. 

For many years the deceased carried on business as an ironmonger in Aire-street, from which he retired some years ago. Although he took no active interest in the municipal affairs of the town, Mr. Cooper was ever ready to promote its welfare, and was connected with the engineering works which he built in Hook-road. He had built considerable property in the East Ward, one street being named after him. Mr. Cooper had been in failing health for a considerable time, and latterly was confined to bed, and died as stated at the advanced age of 82.

At the time that the new houses were built on the site of these two streets several of us as local historians signed a letter which was printed in the Goole Times asking that new street names should reflect the town's heritage. So maybe one day Goole will remember Phoenix Street and Richard Cooper.

Monday 12 October 2020

Howden, Barmby and the Forest School Walthamstow

In the early hours of Wednesday 9th October 1929 the townsfolk of Howden were woken by shouts and noise as the tower of the Church went up in flames. An itinerant farm worker later claimed he had been paid to start the fire by a sacked worker of Bostock and Wombwell's menagerie which was set up in the Market Place.

The cages with lions and tigers inside were dragged onto the Marsh and inhabitants of Churchside were evacuated as a huge crack opened up at the top of the tower.

A view of the tower on fire- it never  fails to horrify me

The fire was out by morning but the damage was severe. Much restoration work was needed before the church could re-open in 1932.

I was reminded of this, and of some research I did some years ago, and so as often happens in local history, I have followed a trail of connected events.

Rev Thomas Guy

We need to go back to 1791 when a son was born in Ravenstonedale in Cumbria to parents John and Isabel Guy. They were not rich but their son Thomas received an excellent education at the local grammar school in the village. He was ordained priest and came to Howden to be master of the grammar school there which was held in the church.

Aged 23 he married Mary Whitaker in Thorne. They had at least eight children including their son, Frederick Barlow Guy who was born in 1825.

This was also the year that Rev Guy, who also held the post of lecturer at Barmby, was appointed vicar of Howden to replace Rev Spofforth who had died. But Howden then had no vicarage house and Rev Guy and his growing family lived in Bridgegate in the area opposite the PA building. For a time in the 1840s and 1850s he and his second wife lived at Barmby.

Rev Guy agreed with the trustees of the Garlthorpe charity in Barmby that two poor houses, which they owned,  should be demolished and a new school built on the site. This was opened  in October 1834. The datestone is still on the end of what is now known as the Garlthorpe Institute. 

Built as a National school in 1834 it is now a community building known as the Garlthorpe Institute

But Rev Guy at this time was suffering tragedies in his personal life. His eldest son John William died aged 19  in Nov 1833 and his wife Mary the following year. He remarried in 1835 to Helen Wikeley.

John Gilderdale, a Barmby boy

One of Rev Guy's pupils at Howden Grammar school was a boy from Barmby called John Gilderdale born in 1802. John's father George was a shipowner, probably born at Thorne and young John initially too considered a career at sea.

But instead aged 18 he went to study with great success at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. After gaining his degree in 1826 he married Rebecca Smith of Airmyn in November at Hook church.

He was ordained priest in 1827 and his first post was as a curate, then vicar, at Huddersfield. The young couple set up home there and it was where their two daughters Rebecca and Lucy and son John Smith were born. 

Rev Gilderdale also ran a school in his house Edgerton Lodge where a tragedy occurred in 1840  on November 5th.

The Leeds Mercury reported it as follows

At the Rev. Mr. Gilderdale's establishment at Edgerton, near Huddersfield, the pupils, under strict caution  to observe prudence, were amusing themselves in letting off fireworks, when a quantity of these combustibles in the pocket of a fine youth, the son of Mr. Jones, surveyor of Birkhouse, became ignited,  and burnt him so much that his life has been all but sacrificed [he later died] .  The other case was similar in its origin, and resulted in the death of a promising youth the son of Mr George Wilson, of Lindley. who died in great agony Sunday last. Being a pupil in the Huddersfield College, his remains were followed to the grave on Wednesday last near 200 of his fellow collegians, whose spontaneous desire testify their respect for the deceased, and their expressed wish that the melancholy event may have a lasting salutary impression, operated much to diminish the aggravating circumstances of the case. Their appearance, dress, and demeanour elicited much admiration ; and the melancholy event has excited general feeling of commiseration for the afflicted parents and relatives of the unfortunate youth.

One of the pupils at the time was fifteen year old Frederick Guy. 

Two years later John was appointed to Walthamstow where he became headmaster of what is now called the Forest School. It had had an auspicious beginning in 1834 with shareholders including Spode industrialist William Copeland, William Morris senior, father of the artist and poet William Morris and Governor of the Bank of England William Cotton,

But it went through a bad patch and was on the verge of closure when Rev Gilderdale was appointed. He is credited with turning its fortunes round.

And in 1852  the two strands of the story come together when  Rev Frederick Barlow Guy married Rebecca Gilderdale at Walthamstow. They were entwined even further the following year when Rev John  Smith Gilderdale married Rev Guy's youngest daughter Agnes at Howden. 

Frederick and Rebecca eventually had a family of twenty children. He became headmaster in 1857, taking over from his father in law.

William Morris

William Morris lived near the school and was initially a boarder at Marlborough College but there was a  pupil 'rebellion' there in November 1851  and so he left and studied with a private tutor,  the Reverend  F B Guy, who was then assistant master at Forest school. They remained friends all their lives.

After F. B. Guy’s wife Rebecca died in 1875, the school commissioned the firm of Morris & Co. to install a memorial window in the south transept of the school chapel, which was designed by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris’ lifelong friend and partner.  It was destroyed in 1944.

Howden church stained glass

In the mid nineteenth century much restoration work was undertaken at Howden.  It was completed in 1858. The Forest school had a new chapel built in 1857.

After the fire at Howden in 1929, when some windows were destroyed, an article appeared in the Goole Times describing how some of the Howden glass had formerly been lost but fragments had been rescued and were now in Walthamstow.

Extracts from the 1929 article

In the vestibule of the school chapel is a small window into which is leaded a panel of glass of early 14th century. It is the top section of the painted glass filling of one of the main lights of a 14th century window. The panel shows parts of  white glass and of a border. Also in  the top of the light is a little picture of two eagles looking skyward, one bird much larger than the other. This,  shows the mother eagle teaching her young to gaze at the sun, an idea which has been taken from very ancient times to symbolise the sacrament of baptism. The eagles are yellow on a patterned green ground. This symbolical idea of eagles is rare.

In  the window of one of the classrooms is another piece of ancient glass of the same period as the eagle panel although very fragmentary. It represents a deacon holding a thurible or censer beneath a canopy yellow on a ruby groundall  within a border of oak leaves as in the eagle panel. Unfortunately the figure has lost its head, its place having been supplied by another head of much later date than the lost original and  there are many repairs - lost pieces of glass replaced by fragments of 14th century date such as such as geometric white glass, yellow tabernacle and scroll draperies and so forth, telling a sad tale of the breaking up of the ancient painted glass of Howden Church and its chapter house. 

With regard to the identity of the mutilated figure it probably represented Laurence the Deacon for there are pieces of glass beneath the feet which may be parts of a gridiron  Below the figure is a large square panel entirely made up of fragments of old painted glass of the kind already described.

These pieces of ancient painted glass were originally parts of the glazing of a window or windows of Howden church whence they came about 80 years ago a bad time for remains of ancient art. having been thrown aside as rubbish in the course of repairs or restoration work at the church they were rescued from destruction by a kindly hand and ultimately  found their way to Essex.

We can detect the hands of the Guy family in this story and wonder whether the glass is till there. Incidentally the glass was not the only casualty of the restoration. A newspaper report of 1858 describes how the ancient Howden church pulpit  was pressed into service as a judges' box in the Howden steeplechases that year.

Rev Thomas Guy died in 1862.  His grave is in the church yard.

The Forest school retained its Howden and Barmby connections; several Howden pupils were educated there in the 1880s and even today it has a Gilderdale Hall.

Repairing Howden church - before health and safety!