Sunday 22 January 2023

Farming, Ropewalk and Skating

 It is cold and foggy today but I hope we are soon going to see the last of the hard frosts and the chickens will not then need jugs of hot water twice a day. Our snowdrops are just showing white and the daffodils are well up. The woodpecker is busy hammering in the large ash tree seemingly all day and last night I  heard two owls calling. So nature at least thinks we are heading for spring.

On the history front too the new year is off to a very busy start.  I spent one Wednesday evening at the Wellington in Howden speaking to a large group of  Howden Young Farmers.  My talk was about local farming and how it has changed over the last hundred years. I have always been interested in particular about how cleverly nineteenth farms were designed with, for example, stables facing east so that horse lads could see what they were doing -feeding and preparing the farm horses for work as the sun rose.

And on Monday afternoon the local history group resumed meetings in the Scholfield Memorial hall at Skelton. There was a good attendance and my pictures of Eastrington went down well I thought. The next meeting will be about Portington, Ousethorpe, Hive, Sandholme and Gilberdyke. If you are interested in coming please contact me on

Then at short notice I was asked to stand in at the meeting of the Howdenshire Archaeological Society as the speaker was unavailable. Not being an expert on archaeology I talked instead about how Howden has changed over the years.

But perhaps one of the most interesting meetings I have been to this month was the small research group which meets in Goole on Thursday mornings. Earlier this year the Goole museum publicised an album of old photos they had been given which showed some lovely Victorian photos of Goole.

This was not new to me as a friend and I had been shown the album some years ago and had been given permission to copy it. But the Thursday morning group had not seen the pictures and so we have spent a couple of weeks looking at them

The earliest picture shows the newly built Pomfret and Goole lifeboat visiting Goole in December1865 before being put on station on the mouth of the Tyne.

Some of the pictures are taken from the top of the water tower and one shows the town rope walk and how therewas no direct connection then between Bridge Street and the town centre. Goole has changed a lot.

We have also been trying to find out who took the photos but with no definite results. But we do have  some dating evidence. An extract from a photo of the old Goole Times shop [beautifully coloured by my friend] dated 1896 shows some of the pictures for sale - look at each side of the main windows.

Another of the photos showed Carlton fish ponds and we discussed how they were used well into living memory for ice skating. By coincidence some lovely pictures on the same topic have been added to the Snaith facebook group and here is one, with acknowledgement to Chris Robinson - in the pram!!