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,  www.stevengoulden.co.uk 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  http://www.saltmarsheduo.co.uk/about/ 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.

http://www.howdenshirehistory.co.uk/goole/friedrich-reinhold-muller.html

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 canap├ęs 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.





Thursday, 25 May 2017

Story of SS Frobisher, a Goole built trawler

I recently saw a postcard of a ship on its side [ probably not the correct technical term!] in what was described as Goole shipyard. The date was given as  August 1931.

I looked up the event on an old newspaper site and found that it was a picture of the trawler Frobisher. She was a Goole built vessel, built by Goole Shipbuilding in 1919 for the Admiralty, originally being called the Benjamin Hawkins but launched as the Frobisher in 1920 as a steam fishing trawler.

She was sold to the Hudson Steam Fishing Company of Hull. In February 1931 she went aground off Iceland and presumably this explains why she was in no 3 dry dock back in Goole later that year being repaired. She was apparently being refloated and the props had been removed on one side when she suddenly tilted over. No one was injured but some men had to jump to safety.

Soon afterwards she was bought by the  Royal Netherlands navy and re named Fastnet Z101. She sank, possibly scuttled in April 1942 it is suggested to prevent her falling into the hands of the Japanese.



Two views of The Frobisher after her unfortunate dry dock accident


It has been the hottest day of the year so far today and my enthusiastic plans for lots of energetic weeding were shelved. But I have been watering the various pots and the tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. I have also been watching blue tits in two of our new boxes and the many house martins who come every year to build under our eaves. They bring mud from the river to build their nests.  So far we think we have 12 nests or being built nests. The blue tits are too fast for me to catch but I did get a picture of the martins.

I am looking forward to a good summer - I heard a cuckoo a couple of days ago and the bees are extremely busy.





Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Saltmarshe history booklet

At last it has rained and the vegetables are beginning to grow in the raised beds. I am looking forward to the first boiling of our new potatoes as I do not think you can beat them cooked with a bit of mint and eaten with lots of butter.

I have spent the last few Friday afternoons in the new Howden Heritage Centre. It is lovely to meet a mixture of visitors  as well as residents keen to learn a bit more about the history of their town.

We are receiving too a steady trickle of  photographs, objects, papers and DVDs to add to our collection. Recent donations include a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings all about Howden in the 1980s as well as two DVDs from Chris Goulden of Golden Media Productions, one of which records the unveiling of the blue plaques around the town. It is amazing how Howden has changed even in the last 20 years - and the people too!!

I have just completed an article for Lucy of the Howdenshire Magazine. For this edition I have written about Snaith and in particular about Joshua Barrett who was a 'quack doctor' selling remedies he made from the roots of the mandrake plant. He moved to Snaith in the 1890s and called his house Mandrake House

I have also been working on  a history of Saltmarshe for some time now and thought it might be a good idea to put some of it into a small booklet.

We see lots of cyclists now, some of whom I have to say are a hazard as they cycle two abreast on our single track road or down the middle of the road, refusing to move over. But most just enjoy the ride through the park and often stop to buy half a dozen eggs from our front porch.

As do visitors to Saltmarshe Hall  and residents of the local holiday cottages.

So now for £2.50 they can read about the history of the hall and the village houses, about the wreck of  the SS Aire in 1958 and about the connection between Saltmarshe and the Rank Hovis McDougall empire.

Here is the front cover of the booklet

Saltmarshe Hall dates from the 1820s



Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Leak family - Balkholme flax mill to Utah

I was doing some research on Balkholme recently, looking at the history of the flax mill there. I was interested to come across the story of William Leak who became a Mormon and emigrated to Utah. A book published by the LDS  [Latter Day Saints] church in 1914 records the following information

'William Leak, an active Elder in the West Jordan Ward, Salt Lake County, Utah, was born June 15, 1849, at Balkholme, Yorkshire, England, the son of John Leak and Maria Pousom [Pawson].  He was baptized in 1867 by his brother, Robert Leak, and emigrated to Utah in 1868, crossing the Atlantic in the ship ”Constitution,” which sailed from Liverpool, England, June 5, 1868. 

 The company with which he traveled spent six weeks and two days on the ocean.  Traveling by rail as far as Laramie City, Brother Leak came with an ox team in Captain Gillespie’s company as far as Echo Canyon, where he stopped to work on the Union Pacific Railroad until Christmas, when he came to the Valley. 


 After staying a short time in Salt Lake City and in Weber County, he obtained employment on the Central Pacific Railroad at Promontory, and in the spring of 1870, he settled permanently at West Jordan, where he soon became an active Church worker and laboured for many years as a Ward teacher.  In 1876 (June 19th), he married Ann Brown, by whom he became the father of eight children, five of whom are now living.  The names of his children are William J., Martin A., Lily Ann, Maria E., Angus, Reu M., Walter B., and Olive E.  His wife is the daughter of John Brown and Elizabeth Matthews.  Brother Leak is a farmer by occupation.'


But  how did  Robert and William become members of the church. Balkhome is a very quiet village with not many houses. Then I came across a much more detailed account of William's life, written by his daughter in law, Esther, the wife of William John Leak. I have edited it slightly. It explained that William emigrated with his parents, John and Maria, his brother Robert and other family members.


William Leak, the father of William John Leak, was born in Balkholme, Yorkshire, England, March 6, 1849.  He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England and was baptized by his older brother, Robert, in 1867.

His parents were John Leak and Maria Pawson.  John Leak owned a small flax mill where flax was dressed  and William started working in the flax mill when only eight years old.  Consequently, he had no opportunity of attending school and so was unable to read or write.

The family consisting of the parents, John Leak and Maria Pawson, together with their children, Robert, William, Aaron, Emma, and Isabella, who emigrated to Utah in 1868. Frank Leak, the son of one of William’s sisters, accompanied them.  However, William’s sister, Mary, had previously died in England and his sisters Tamar and Hannah remained there.  Isabella later died in Alta, Salt Lake County, and Aaron died in Montana.  He was married to a girl named Jane and had a daughter named Ida.  After Aaron’s death, his wife Jane discontinued writing and so hers and Ida’s whereabouts are unknown.


 The family left Liverpool, England, June 5, 1868, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the sailing vessel, Constitution, and arriving in New York on July 19, 1868, being six weeks and two days on the water.  The family came here as converts to the Mormon Church.


John and Maria Leak, William’s parents, lived first in Midvale, Utah, east of the sampling mill.  Later they separated and John Leak lived east of our house (9670 South Redwood Road) in a small house below the South Jordan canal.  Frank Leak lived with him until his grandfather died, when he made his home with William Leak.  After the parents’ separation, Maria Leak came and lived with her son and his wife, William and Ann Leak.


Maria was badly afflicted with asthma and sat in a chair day and night until just before she died when she asked to be laid down.  She died in December 1883 and is buried by the side of her husband, John Leak, in Wight’s Fort Cemetery in West Jordan, Utah.  Her parents were John and Hannah Chaffer (Shaffer).


[nb Maria was in fact born in Eastrington and was the daughter of Mary Chafer whose parents were John Chafer and  Hannah Pawson]

The family, after reaching New York, July 19, 1868, traveled by train as far as Laramie, Wyoming, then came with an ox train in Captain Gillespie’s company as far as Echo Canyon.  From there the family came on to Salt Lake City and later to Midvale, all but Robert and William, who stopped to work.  He was a cook on the train that ran from Echo to Ogden.  He arrived in Salt Lake City on Christmas Eve, 1868, walking from Ogden through a foot of snow.  After staying a short time in Salt Lake City and Weber Country, they obtained employment on the Central Pacific Railroad at Promontory.

In the spring of 1870, William settled permanently in West Jordan, but in order to obtain funds to buy a farm, etc., he got a job herding sheep for the Irving Brothers of West Jordan – he and Edmund Price, another young Englishman.


While they were herding sheep out on the Weber River, they attended a dance at Oakley one evening.  They noticed two young English girls standing in the crowd, William said, “We’d better show these English girls a good time.”, so they walked over and introduced themselves and asked if they could accompany them home.  The girls were willing, so the two boys walked home with them.  These two girls were sisters who had come to Oakley from England with their parents.  They were Ann and Emma Brown, daughters of John Brown and Elizabeth Matthews.   

When Ann told her mother, her mother said, “He seems to be a nice young man.  I don’t want you to make a fool of him.”  It was love at first sight.  Ann said, “I’m going to marry him if I can get him.”  


This romance lasted until June 19, 1876, when they were married.  The ceremony took place before breakfast.  Later they were married for “time and eternity” in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City by Daniel H. Wells.  Temple marriages were performed there until the Salt Lake Temple was finished and dedicated in April of 1893.


After their marriage they moved to the Van Etten farm in West Jordan, just northeast of Wight’s Fort Cemetery.  Here they lived in a two-story adobe house and farmed the place on shares.  Ann’s brother, William Brown, lived with them part of the time, at least, and helped run the place.  Here their first child, William John, was born June 24, 1877.  


 In the meantime, William built a three-room frame house at about 2500 West 9000 South on the South side of the road, just west of the canal, and they moved into this house when it was completed. 


[ further detail here about their house and life]

William could never read nor write.  He cooked the breakfast many a morning because of Ann’s ill health.  Each morning everyone gathered around the table and knelt by their chair and William offered the family prayer, praying for knowledge and wisdom.


William Leak died of the flu January 16, 1931, in his home after about a week’s illness. Olive and Angus lived home and cared for him faithfully and tenderly in his illness.  His wife, Ann, had preceded him in death twelve years.  Olive and Angus remained in the home and rented the farm to their nephew, Lawrence Leak.  They sold the sheep, cows, chickens and turkeys a few years after his death, and Olive obtained a job clerking at the Center Street Store in Midvale, driving back and forth each day in her car.


Mormon records are, as all family historians know, excellent and so I was able to find the following information about the voyage [ I am sure the dates below are the correct ones]

From the journal of John Thomas Lazenby. He was a Hull man, a widower with a young son, Walter.

I left Hull June 22nd after staying at my mother's, in company with Walter [Lazenby] and Annie Tether (who became my wife), Sister Tomlinson and her family, for Liverpool. A company of Saints joining us on the steamer to cross the River Humber to New Holland. Brother John Leak and his family, Robert J. William and two daughters, Brother Busly, Elder Hide came along. Stayed in Liverpool at the house of Mrs. Ramsden. Monday night and embarked on board the ship Constitution in the Bramley Moore Dock with a company of about 400 Saints, some Welsh, some Scotch, some Swiss, and English under the presidency of W. Cluff [H. H. Cluff], [G. B.] Spencer, [J. S.] Thorne and others and hauled into the River Mersey on Tuesday and towed down the river on Wednesday, 24th of June, 1868. After a six weeks voyage "to a day" we arrived and dropped anchor in the River Hudson.

A fascinating story. I have read around it a little about the many European Mormons who travelled to Hull and then on to Liverpool on their way to USA. But I still think about this family who had lived most of their lives in and around Balkholme making the giant leap into the unknown by emigrating to the USA and also embracing a religion which was then persecuted.














Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Marshland, Howden and Goole Grammar sports

Looking out of the window it is a lovely bright, sunny day but once outside it is obvious that there is a cold northerly wind - one of those lazy ones which goes straight through you. So back to winter coats. As for the garden I think growth has stopped as plants adapt to a coating of hail. So it's a good time to cook a lamb stew in the slow cooker and catch up with inside jobs.

Last night I gave a talk to the Marshland Local History group who meet in Swinefleet village hall. They are good friends and so the atmosphere was relaxed. I talked about Howden and was fascinated to listen to the memories of a 90 year old lady who had been brought up in the town.

She remembered living down Thorpe Road, taking an old pram to the Co-op down Churchside first thing in the morning to collect her mother's groceries [her mother always shopped at the Co-op so she could get her 'divi'] and then walking home. She then walked to school which was where the health centre is now, walked home again for her dinner, back to school and then home again after school.

Later, when the family moved into the middle of Howden, it was her job in wartime to deliver the Hull Daily Mail to the many evacuees from Hull who lived in the rooms above the shops in Market Place. They wanted to read the lists of names of those killed in the bombing the previous night - hoping not to see names of friends and relatives.

I bought a copy of the Marshland group's latest publication on the history of Ousefleet. It is very interesting.

The Howden Heritage centre is now open and we are beginning to accept donations. We have ordered copies of the Monumental inscriptions for the local churchyards. I know I get a lot of queries in summer as visitors visit local churchyards looking for ancestors.

Finally I am sorting my old pictures and wondered if anyone could identify these pupils who are pictured in the field at the rear of what was then Goole Grammar School.



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Howden heritage centre

Friday sees the opening of the new Howden Heritage Centre in what was the old HSBC bank in Howden Market Place. Under the enthusiastic leadership of Philip Mepham a small team has worked hard to transform the ground floor interior  from bank into heritage centre.

I have been involved in the production of a set of poster sized display boards and am loaning items from my own small museum collection. Ken Deacon has a display about the airship R100, built at Howden. So we hope to see a good crowd at 12.30 to look at old pictures and other displays about the history of the town.  Once open the centre will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 3pm.

Last Friday  afternoon I gave a second presentation in the Manor House about the history of The Ashes Playing Fields. It was very well attended - no doubt the lovely free tea and cakes helped draw the crowds -  not everyone who came could actually get in. Some stood along the walls but it was lovely to see so many people interested in Howden's history.

In between history projects we have been working in the garden. The daffodils are just finishing but the turnip seeds in the raised bed have germinated, the potatoes are showing and courgette and tomato seeds in the greenhouse are doing well.

The bees have come safely through the winter and  we are hoping for a good honey crop. But perhaps best of all are our chickens, laying as many eggs as we can eat, sell and give away to friends.  We have noticed that the chickens enjoy pecking around the hives and a bit of internet research suggests that this can be a good thing as they peck up dead bees and other detritus. Not sure yet whether chickens get stung!

A 1970s view of High bridge and the United Carriers depot taken from the church tower.

The Midland Bank, later HSBC and from Friday the home of the town's heritage centre.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Charles Briggs of Howden

Almost a month has passed since I last wrote here and a lot has happened in between. The snowdrops are now dying off and being replaced by daffodils. The bees are flying and seem to be  particularly enjoying the hellebores which apparently provide nectar for them at a time when little else is in bloom. Daffodils, I understand are too highly bred to provide much food for the bees but I have several varieties and will watch to see if the bees go on any of them. Looking forward to lots of honey this year.

 I am looking forward too to spending some time outside in the garden but it has been very busy on the history front. Last week I gave my presentation in Howden Manor House about its history and the history of The Ashes Playing field. It was a lovely evening - it rained but the atmosphere was friendly and the wine and cheese was popular.

 Towards the end of the talk, when I showed pictures of local people playing cricket, tennis and bowls and of Howden show, they stirred lots of memories. Although perhaps the picture which stirred most memories was one of the giant slide which I was assured was 40 feet high. I only went down it once as the climb up was quite frightening.

Here is the slide. Does anyone recognise the boys?



I am pleased to say that The Ashes Trust has asked me to give the talk again as several people have said that they would have liked to have heard it but did not want to come out on a dark, wet evening. So, if you are interested it will be on Friday 7th April in the afternoon. I am not sure of the timing as yet.

While researching the Ashes story I looked into the background of Charles Briggs who was the local benefactor who gave Howden the manor house, the Ashes and the Shire hall. I knew that he was born in Hailgate where his father ran a brewery. I had assumed that this was where he obtained the funds to give his gifts to Howden.


But I was wrong and am still finding out more about him. I think he and his brothers and sisters inherited property but he and one of his brothers were also civil engineers in the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.


Charles was the last surviving member of the large Briggs family and there were no descendants so  he left his fortune to Howden. He loved his native town and would, I think, be pleased that there is now a street named after him.


Charles Briggs

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