Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

The turkey is out of the freezer, the Christmas lights are turned on and our guests are installed in the spare bedroom. Whatever is not done or bought by now will wait until after Christmas. Molly and Poppy are unaware of the vast number of scraps about to come their way.

We are having two weeks off from the computer and family history. But before I turn it off I thought it might be interesting to look at what was happening in Goole a hundred years ago. The following was dated 26th December 1914:

"Christmas, which a keen frost had made "seasonable,'' was a quiet time in this district. There were numbers of people out and about but never before have there been so many men in the port wearing the uniform of His Majesty at the festive season. Some of these are stationed in the town, but numerous others whose homes are in Goole, and who are training in various places, were over on leave. 

"Christmas morning services were held at various local places of worship and each was fairly attended. A band was out playing carols, and quite early the youngsters had commenced Christmas boxing.

"At the workhouse the inmates had their usual treat of roast beef, plum pudding, etc., at noon, in the dining hall, which had been tastefully decorated with evergreens, etc. Numerous gifts of Christmas fare had also been received for them. The distressed poor of the town, affected by the war, were not forgotten, and the distribution, which in the ordinary course would be made on Monday next, took place on Thursday, in order that everybody would have food in the house for Christmas. The Secretary of the Distress Committee and his assistants gave out a large quantity of flour in 1-stone bags, cheese in 1 lb parcels, and tins of salmon together with potatoes. The families of the soldiers and sailors have also received gifts of  coal, and new boots for the children through the Soldiers' and Sailors' Association. Special Christmas greeting cards have been printed for the British civilian prisoners of war in the Ruhleben (German) Camp, and several have been received by the relatives of the sailors interned there. The following appears on the card:—"Xmas, 1914. Englanderlagei, Ruhleben-Spandau, Germany. Wishing you a happy Xmas and brighter New Year. From  -  British Civil Prisoner of War." On the other side is the address, and also the sender's name and barrack number.

"Once again the post office staff have experienced a busy time during the festive season. All the week had been gradually growing, but, as Mr Bennett (the postmaster) explained to the writer, any perceptible increase there may have been over previous years was in the dispatch of  parcels to the troops at the front. One might almost say there was a "special line" this year. All letters and parcels for the soldiers with the fighting forces and for the sailors afloat are, of course, forwarded first to London. The postal staff, both inside and out, was, as former years, augmented, and everything was done to give the utmost dispatch. The members of the public responded to the request to post early, and consequently no delay was occasioned. Breakfast was again provided for the staff at Mrs Clarkson's cafe.

"The boys of Standards VII. and ex-VII. attending the Alexandra-street School gave a capital concert the other evening for the benefit the school football club The programme included sketches of various kinds, patriotic songs, choruses, pianoforte solos, etc , and was greatly enjoyed, reflecting much credit on the coach, W Appleyard. Mr Harlington was the pianist, and Mr I. Schofield (the headmaster) presided, in the absence of Councillor S. G Bevan. The proceeds realised £2. An interesting presentation took place at the Alexandra Street Schools on Thursday afternoon, prior to closing for the Christmas holidays, when Mr Alf Sherburn, a certificated assistant, who has been connected with the schools since he was a boy, and who has received an appointment as headmaster at a school near Ripon, was the recipient of a  turned oak salad bowl with servers. This was a gift from the teachers and scholars, and was handed to Mr Sherburn by the Headmaster (Mr Schofield), who regretted the loss of one his principal teachers, but wished him success in his new position. Mr Sherburn made a suitable acknowledgment."


Monday, 1 December 2014

Laxton photos

Now Christmas is around the corner I really think it is time to bring in my geraniums. Although today is the first day of December I still have a nasturtium plant straggling all over the seat outside the back door and I am loathe to pull it up as the frost will surely soon nip it off.

Everywhere is muddy and I am trying to feed the chickens on a different patch each morning as they trample the ground into a mini quagmire. I am having a rest from history for the next few days as we re-decorate the spare bedroom ready for Christmas visitors. We have a new carpet coming on Friday and so tomorrow I hope to get a coat of gloss onto the skirting boards.

My WEA classes have all now finished until January and we all enjoyed a meal together last Thursday. I went to the Borthwick Institute yesterday to look at some wills on microfilm - very annoyingly the  machine which lets you top up the money on your card so you can use the copying machine was broken. The only way round this was to do a lot of transcribing and so it took much longer than we thought.

I think the dark nights mean that people's thoughts turn to  working on family and local histtory history. Recently I have been looking at the Parrott family of Saltmarshe, the Leaks of East Yorkshire and the histories of Rawcliffe Bridge paper mill, the brewery at West Cowick and  families who worked at Ousefleet Hall.

I  am working too on my own history of Saltmarshe and have just bought three postcards of nearby Laxton and one of Carlton Towers sent when it was a First World War hospital.

It is a good job that TV is so boring at the moment as I am not tempted away from the computer - I think the TV companies are saving everything up for Christmas. And as for the plots on the Archers - every night is a new storyline. I might have to give up listening as it is now a long way from being An Everyday Story of Countryfolk!

Finally I am including a picture of SS Broomfleet of Goole which was lost on 13th December 1933, almost 80 years ago. I am hoping to write more of what happened in my next post.

SS Broomfleet of Goole

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Saltmarshe museum update

It is now definitely autumn but I have been outside this afternoon giving the grass one last cut. It is unseasonably warm and so the grass is still growing. Our Bramley apple crop is quite good and I have some baking in the oven with golden syrup and cinnamon as I write this.

Next Saturday - 8th November- is the family history fair in Goole library [ 10am - 4pm]. I am attending with lots of monumental inscription booklets and old photos to give advice on finding your family in the Goole and Howden areas. Do contact me if you have any special requests for material or old pictures.

I have just bought some more display boards to take with me to Goole as it is a nuisance moving pictures on and off those in the museum. We have had several visitors - and donations of interesting objects. We are still really only open for visitors by appointment but hope in spring to open regularly.

In the meantime the collection is growing - recent additions are bread pancheons, early weighing scales, a clock, a Box Brownie camera and a brass instrument for doing unmentionable things to horses! It is all fun and I enjoy listening to the memories some objects evoke.

Last weekend we went to a postcard fair in Lincolnshire and amongst other cards I bought two of Breighton, near Bubwith. I had never seen any before - they can't have had a wide sale originally as Breighton is very small.






Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ouse ferries

 I do not know how it has happened but it is a month since I wrote anything on my blog. It must be that it has been a very busy time with lots going on.

I have been teaching three classes for the WEA this term - local history in both Howden and Goole and family history in Goole at The Courtyard. In both the local history classes we have been looking at the local rivers, ferries and bridges.

It is surprising how many there are. We began with the Ouse and the looked at Whitgift Ferry which was used by both Charles I and John Wesley. Next we looked at Saltmarshe where in the early nineteenth century two rival ferrymen came to blows and ended up in court.

Then Howdendyke which crossed to Hook on the opposite bank and of course Booth ferry which has a long history and many stories associated with it. Few people realise that the Boothferry parks and roads in the city of Hull twenty miles away take their name from this river crossing.

In July 1929 Boothferry Bridge was opened and the ferrymen given new jobs as bridge operators. Members of their family still live at Booth today. There was also a ferry across the Ouse from Barmby on the Marsh to Long Drax and then we come to the toll bridge at Selby.

We are still working on the ferries on the Derwent and the Aire. It is salutary to realise how the rivers have shaped our area.

In between we have been peeling apples and walking Molly. She loves having the chance to run and roll in indescribable patches of horrid smelling mess. We, meanwhile, appreciate the changing colours of the leaves and watch and listen to the several skeins of geese flying over, their cries quite eerie at times in the dusk.

On Wednesday I am going to the opening of the R100  trail in Howden. It has taken almost a year since the Civic Society won a grant from the Peoples' Millions to create the trail but now the plaques are laid I think they look lovely - and as if they have been there for ever. The airship was designed by Sir Barnes Wallis and flew from Howden in December 1929.

The trail is to be 'opened' by his daughter, Mary Stopes Roe, who was two when the airship was launched.

An early car being ferried across from Booth to Airmyn

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Eastoft war memorial

Yesterday was Heritage Day and we spent it at Eastoft which is on the edge of the Marshland or the Isle of Axholme, which ever way you want to look at it.

It is presently in Lincolnshire but several centuries ago the old River Don ran down the centre of the village and some of the village was in Yorkshire and some in Lincolnshire. Even after the river was diverted and disappeared the village remained divided and even today has a road named 'Yorkshire side'.

In fact the Eastoft village hall where I gave a talk stands between the two roads, in what was originally the river bed. The hall is a small building and was built as a Methodist chapel.

The ladies of Eastoft WI had been awarded a grant to run a 'war day', the main purpose of which was to commemorate the soldiers whose names appeared on the pretty village war memorial just up the street.

We had spent several hours researching the stories of these men and had written a booklet giving a small biography of each man. These were given away to visitors to the event. There was a buffet too and wartime songs from Rose.

I talked about the men, interspersed with local old pictures and some information I had found about the role Ousefleet [or Empson Hall as it is called locally] Hall had played in 1917 and 1918 when it was used to house around 150 young women who came to help with the potato harvest.

Afterwards I was all 'historied out' and after enjoying a meal in a local carvery I made a log fire and watched the Last Night of the Proms on TV.

Below are the names of the Eastoft men from the village war memorial.

Arthur Binns
Joseph Burrows
Walter Cash
Robert Dealtry
Thomas Gibbons
Harry Hudson
Joseph Mellers
George Oades
Edwin Phillipson
Walter Rogers
Frank Sykes

Alfred Waterland

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Goole old picture archive

Today has been sunny and fine and for the first time for a fortnight I have been able to sit outside with a cup of tea and appreciate the lovely weather.

The last two weeks at our Junction exhibition at Goole have been very rewarding - but absolutely exhausting. We have been occupying an ideal room at Junction right in the centre of Goole with easy access from the nearby car park,  very helpful staff, an onsite cafe and good disabled access - we have had several visitors in wheelchairs.

Around the walls were displayed framed pictures of Goole and area while in the centre we had our computers showing old pictures and films, artefacts in glass displays and the First World War research group had all their information  available.

But to be honest what people seemed fascinated by were the pictures of Goole people. We had football teams ranging from schoolboy Short cup winners to Lockwoods mens' and Burtons' ladies teams. We had Goole rugby teams, Goole bus trips from pubs, RAOB groups,  Brownies, dockers, midwives and dinner ladies.

And of course we had school pictures. People argued over names, met schoolmates they had not seen for years and brought in their own school pictures for us to copy and display.  And that was without the pictures of docks, railways, the streets and shops.

In fact on Monday I gave a talk on Goole shops. It was very well attended and several kind people brought in pictures of their own family shops for me to copy. Goole, like most towns, had many family run shops which gave personal service to generations of local people. I shall be giving the talk again at the Boothferry history group at the Courtyard in January incorporating these 'new' pictures.

It was sad to take everything down yesterday - we had to take the pictures out of their covers twice as people came in to look at them as we were packing up.

Pippa sold several of her framed prints and we must have printed out around 70 copies of the pictures on display. My printer used all the ink I had bought just before the event - thinking it might last several weeks!

I think we might do it again - but not until next year.

And in the meantime if you want a Goole - or area - picture as a print or framed or as a digital copy you can contact me through my website.

Goole Brownies outside the Market Hall


Above is one of the most popular pictures we had on display. It shows group of Brownies outside the Market Hall and includes Helen and Paula Tawn and Linda Palmer.

Below is the report on the exhibition which appeared in the Goole Times.





Saturday, 30 August 2014

Goole exhibition of old pictures and First World War information

We are having a really interesting time at our exhibition at Junction in Goole. Tuesday was set up day when we hung all Pippa's pictures and fastened other prints onto display boards with Velcro. We filled our display boxes with objects and Chris and Mike set up tables of information about Goole men who served in the First World war. It took a long time and not a little cursing but in the end it looked good.

Next day we opened - although we had visitors as we were setting up including a lady of 93 who was visiting from Newcastle. Having grown up in George Street she wanted to see pictures of Goole as it was in her childhood.

And the visitors have never stopped. People of all ages have come to see pictures of their town - and themselves. Perhaps most popular have been the old school and group pictures. Some people have gone away and come back a few hours later with other family members to see themselves on display. One of the most popular pictures has been of a Goole Amateurs production of Quaker Girl.

Others have brought pictures for us to copy - and then put up on display. Chris has received information about soldiers and pictures of Ruhleben camp where Goole sea men were interned. We have helped with a 1905 school picture for a lady who had never seen it before and looked up information about lodging houses in Howden.

But mainly we have talked - and listened. Sandwiches have been lying tantalisingly on the table - but there has been no time to eat them.

And next week is still to come. Here is one of the pictures we have had loaned this week. It is from a set of Goole Grammar school team pictures.

Goole Grammar school hockey team 1967 with teacher Cynthia Potter

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Goole local history exhibition at Junction

After a brief pause for breath we are looking forward now to our local history exhibition at Junction in Goole. I hope that lots of people will visit as Pippa  Stainton will have some stunning images of Goole and the local area on display. And the talks - I am talking on Goole shops - will be good too - and they are free.

I have sent some information to publicise the event to the Goole Times and reproduce it below.


 There will be a show of the work of Pippa Stainton, local historian and photo restorer in Goole’s Junction from Wednesday August 26th until Saturday September 5th. On display will be 70  of her framed prints, all of which will be for sale and which show scenes from Goole and the surrounding towns and villages.

Alongside the exhibition Pippa’s colleagues from the Goole local history group, Susan Butler and Gilbert Tawn will be putting on their own displays of old photographs and objects relating to Goole’s history.  Susan is concentrating on school group pictures while Gilbert will be displaying many old pictures from the Goole Times archive.

Also in attendance will be the Goole First World War Research Group, who will be displaying service records, photographs, letters and other memorabilia that relate to the men of the town who fought during the ‘Great War’.

The  local history group has also arranged a series of free illustrated talks which will take place at 2pm in the same room as the exhibition.

On Friday August 29th Chris Laidler of the Goole First World War Research group will give a talk on  Goole men and the First World War. On Monday September 1st Susan Butler will give a talk on the shops of Goole; on Wednesday 3rd September Gilbert Tawn will talk on Goole docks and on Friday 5th September Chris will talk again, this time on Goole railways.

On Saturday August 30th other local history societies have been invited to put on displays and bring along any local history books they have for sale. Howden Civic Society are bringing information and books about airships; Holme on Spalding Moor Local History society will be there with information about the village and the First World War, Snaith History Society will also be bringing First World War information and the Marshland History group will be bringing their display and copies of their latest book on Reedness. Susan Butler will be bringing her books for sale and copies of her old pictures which have appeared in the Goole Times will be available to print out.


The last day of the exhibition, Saturday 6th September, will be a family history advice day when the Boothferry Family and Local History group will be available to help anyone who needs help with their family tree;  the First World War Research group will be there to help people search for service records, and other Goole group members will be there with access to Ancestry and Find my Past websites.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Goole history book on Kindle

Now the excitement of opening our museum is over I have had time to complete a project which I began 3 months ago. After talking to my friend Ken Deacon who has made his books about airships  available on Kindle I wondered whether I could do the same.

I thought I would begin with my most recent book which was Goole a Pictorial History volume 4, published in 2011. It covers the period just before and including the Second World War and is readily available through my website and in local shops in its printed form.

I must admit it was not so easy as I thought, mainly because my book contains around 80 pictures with captions as well as text and it was hard to get the layout right as Kindle books are often mainly just text. However I persevered and although in my final version some pictures still persist in separating from their caption I do not think this detracts from the book. In fact the pictures seem to appear quite well.

I was amazed at how fast the final process actually was. I uploaded a Word document last night, created a cover using the built in Kindle cover creator [ my own cover was the wrong shape] and pressed the button. It was there in the Amazon search within half an hour and fully 'live' three hours later.

I might try another book - but not just yet.  After all no-one has bought it so far!!

Instead I shall concentrate on domestic matters and hang the washing out before the promised rain materialises tomorrow.

Click on the link below to see my Goole book on Kindle and read a preview


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Goole-pictorial-history-Susan-Butler-ebook/dp/B00MJ8TR82/

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Saltmarshe history and museum


Today has been a lovely day as friends, many from my history classes joined with neighbours  to help us celebrate the opening of our small museum.

What began as a project to renovate a neglected cottage in my garden has turned into the creation of a small local history museum. Members of the Goole local history group -  but mainly Gilbert Tawn - have plastered, painted and hammered until we have a home for the many interesting objects which we either collected ourselves or have had loaned and given.

Gilbert  opening the museum

The rain held off and we watched a slide show of the transformation before around 50 people watched Gilbert cut the ribbon and then were able to look around. It is an ongoing project with a mix of domestic bygones, displays of woodworking tools, old radios, bits of the  airship R100 [very very small] and old toys. There are also old photographs and a considerable amount of  information about the history of Saltmarshe and the surrounding area.

Although not intrinsically valuable the artefacts, we hope, will evoke memories of schooldays, baking, washing and farming as well as everyday life. We also have a collection of local bricks and drainpipes.

We drank many cups of tea and ate lovely cakes baked by Gilbert's wife Gloria. The sun shone and everyone wandered round and talked. A very good way to spend a summer afternoon.

The museum will now be open for groups and individuals to look round - but by prior arrangement only.  It is near both Saltmarshe Hall and the  Saltmarshe holiday cottages and I am happy, with my local historian and professional genealogist's hat on, to help any one who needs to know more of their family history or obtain an old photograph of the area.

Contact me if you are interested in visiting.

Vistors looking at the display


Inside the 18th century kitchen
The 'parlour' with its original curved top display cupboard



Brenda, Eileen and Goff

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Visit to Sheriff Hutton church and castle

It is still hot weather and I think some of our group felt the heat on Tuesday on our visit to Sheriff Hutton. We met for a meal at The Highwayman in the village and then made out way to the church. Here the churchwarden gave us an interesting talk about the families associated with the church and I was particularly pleased to see the representation of the 'sun in splendour', used as a badge by Edward IV following the appearance of a parhelion before his victory at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461. This was there because of the Neville family connection with Sheriff Hutton.

And of course we were all fascinated to look at the alabaster tomb of a boy of about 11 who is said to be the son of Richard III. He was wearing a long, belted robe and a coronet. The features of his face were mainly gone but many believe him to be a representation of Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales and only legitimate son of King Richard III. Edward, who had been invested as Prince of Wales in a lavish ceremony at York Minster in 1483, died the following year, at Middleham, of tuberculosis.

His parents, King Richard and Queen Anne [Neville], were then in Nottingham. It is suggested that they came north to Sheriff Hutton, and the body of their son was brought to meet them. Then, according to legend, he was buried in the church, not beneath where the effigy now rests but  on the opposite, southern side of the church, in the ancestral chapel of the Nevilles, his mother’s family.

The evidence is strong and many supporters of Richard III visit the church and lay white roses on the tomb. After a quick cup of tea most of us walked to the castle, passing the motte and bailey site on the way. The present remains, now in private ownership are very impressive and we enjoyed looking around although some of our group were so keen to get out of the heat that they explored a dungeon where cows gathered for the same purpose. Their shoes bore considerable evidence when they emerged.

We braved the A64 York ring road on our way home and made it  just before the heavy teatime traffic began. A thoroughly enjoyable day  - and thanks to Carole K for organising it.

An old postcard view of Sheriff Hutton church



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Visits to Broomfleet and Ellerker churches

This always a busy time of year as the garden fruits ripen, we go on visits and this year, to make it more interesting, I have had a horrid cold.

The garden is both a joy and a challenge at the moment. If I wished I could probably spend every waking moment outside cutting the grass, weeding the onions and clearing duckweed from the pond, just to mention a few jobs. But to be honest I am happy to let it escape a bit and to appreciate the potatoes which, despite the weeds, are producing a good crop and the rasps which we are eating raw, jamming and making into pies.

There are lots of interesting creatures around at the moment too - I have seen several toads, we have house martins (although sadly one of their nests fell, killing the occupants) and there has been a marauding fox.

But probably the most unusual sight was one morning last week when, having coughed my way through the night, I wanted nothing more than a cup of tea. I carried the kettle to the sink and blearily registered that there was a black something moving in the bottom. On closer inspection I identified it as a bat. I managed to cover it with a tea towel and, despite its hissing, I carried it out and put it on a seat out of the sun. It seemed uninjured and soon disappeared. I did take a picture of it before it went but I am not sure what type/ variety? it was. Bats are not uncommon here but I prefer to see them swooping around outside in the dusk, not making me jump in the kitchen. To borrow from the Victorian poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Come into the garden, Maud - bats belong outside in the dark.

"For the black bat, night, has flown'


Today I have visited both Broomfleet and Ellerker churches with my WEA history groups. I always enjoy these outings where students from different groups and classes come together for the afternoon. Both churches were designed by John Loughborough Pearson; Ellerker in 1843-4 and Broomfleet in 1857-61.

We were lucky to have two excellent guides.

John Waudby at Broomfleet  is a local historian who has written two books, one about Broomfleet and one about the Market Weighton drainage board. He told us about the church and about how the former vicarage was built using local Broomfleet bricks.

Diana Bushby at Ellerker is the newly-appointed churchwarden as well as the organist. She has done a lot of research recently into  the history  of St Anne's which she shared with us in an entertaining talk. Particularly fascinating was the story of the Levitt window which commemorates

Richard Marshall and Thomas and Anne Levitt, and was erected by Norrison Marshall Levitt  'grandson of the first named  son of Thomas and Anne aforesaid. 1897.'


She untangled for us the complicated family connections of the Levitt and Marshall families which led to the existence of two Norrison Marshall Levitts living at the same time in the Ellerker area.

The NML who commissioned the window was born in 1819. His father was Thomas Levitt and his mother was the former Ann Marshall, daughter of Richard.

The second NML was born in 1831, the son of Hannah Levitt, Thomas's sister.  Hannah became pregnant by Norrison Marshall, Anne's brother. Unfortunately before they could marry Norrison, who was around 25, was struck by lightning while on his way home from Hull. Both he and his horse were killed instantly.

Hannah gave birth to twin boys. She called them Marshall Norrison Levitt and Norrison Marshall Levitt. Sadly Marshall died but Norrison survived.

Confused? We were a little and so we adjourned to Ellerker village hall where we enjoyed welcome tea and biscuits.



The east window at St Anne's church, Ellerker, commemorating the Levitt family

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Eastrington show 2014

Yesterday was not only the summer solstice - the longest day- but it was also the annual Eastrington show. I have been attending the show since I was a child and was delighted this year that the weather, after several poor years, was very kind. The large number of people through the gate in yesterday's sunshine will, I hope. secure the show's future.

As last year we had a display of old photos in the trade stands tent which seemed to generate a lot of interest. But I have now realised that I need some more recent - and by that I mean 1980s onwards- school pictures as the pictures I have with my contemporaries on are over fifty[!!!] years old. Do send me any scans of some later photos if you can.

In the garden the rasps are ready and we have enjoyed a gooseberry pie. Last week I heard a cuckoo twice - I had given up hope of hearing one and this was certainly almost too late for the rhyme - 'In the middle of June it changes its tune And in July it flies away' but just scraped in.

My tomatoes in the greenhouse are doing well but the leaves are a bit curled - I think they need more regular food and water.

On the history front I have now received some new postcards that I bought on e bay and need to scan them into my photo library.  I was very pleased to get a picture of Skelton chapel [ near Howden]  and another of Saltmarshe Park but my quest for  old pictures of Kilpin, Spaldington and Balkhome continues.

A report of Eastrington Show in 1964. 



Friday, 6 June 2014

Reflections on D Day

I have been watching and listening to the various events in Normandy  to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D Day. My father, Cpl Doug Watson, was serving abroad in 1944, but in Africa. My mother's cousin, Gunner Jack Nurse from Eastrington, took part in the landings but came home safely. My father at least rarely talked of his war experiences - he took part in the retreat from Dunkirk but my only knowledge of how frightening it was came from what my mother told me.

I am continuing to research the history of Saltmarshe and by strange coincidence today I was looking at the Saltmarshe family in the twentieth century. The male line of the family died out when the last Philip Saltmarshe died unmarried in 1970.

But there had been a male heir.  I am not sure whether he could have inherited the estate as it was entailed through the male line. But the question was moot. He was killed in Normandy in June 1944.

The last Philip Saltmarshe had three sisters. One, Myrtle, a VAD, had died in the influenza epidemic after the First World War.  Another, Lady Deramore, had no children but the third, Ivy Oswald Saltmarshe, had married a soldier, Col Reginald Woods. They had only one child, a son Humphrey born in 1915.

In 1944 Humphrey was in command of  the 9th battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.  I found an account of how he was killed, written later by a Sgt Charles Eagles:

'So I went back to rejoin the Battle of Lingèvres, fought by the 9th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry against what turned out to be the Panzer Lehr Division, probably the best equipped division in the entire Wehrmacht. And back to Colonel Humphrey Woods, the commanding officer, who we'd been detailed to bodyguard until our carrier had been blown apart by a mortar. It was June 14, 1944; eight days after D-Day, and the Durhams were being mown down all around me.

'What remained of my section had re-grouped in the apex of the cornfield, Col Woods, a popular CO decorated with a Distinguished Service Order and a Military Cross, was in charge. Following his orders, we scrambled through a hedgerow and spotted the turret of a Tiger tank trying to hide in a copse.

'We scattered, throwing ourselves behind anything. Except the colonel. He stood still, taking in the situation and then issuing an order: "Get that tank!"I couldn't believe it. I may even have laughed. It was an impossible task. It would have been sheer suicide. It is one thing to be brave; quite another to be foolish. But then it happened. Some mortar shells landed between us and I threw myself into undergrowth. When I looked again, I saw the colonel was down. He spoke his last words: "Surely they haven't hit me!” They had indeed. And how. He was virtually cut in half. He was 28.'

Lt Col Woods is buried in the Bayeux war cemetery.

Lt Col Humphrey Woods.

A postscript: I was reading the online coverage of the D Day commemoration events and came  across this  in The Independent newspaper

Monday, 2 June 2014

Old pictures of Yorkshire

I have been away on holiday but am now back home, appreciating English food but missing the warmth and sunshine.

I planted out courgettes and runner beans before we went but they are a bit yellowy and are not really growing. Perhaps they need fertiliser and summer weather.

The grass is wet - so wet that as I was cutting it I narrowly avoided two toads who hopped away out of the long clumps.

I keep meaning to put more pictures on my website as I am always collecting them but it is a fiddly job. So I am experimenting with putting some small versions of my various Yorkshire pictures on here. If you want copies of the full version, printed or digital, contact me through my website. Otherwise just enjoy looking at them.

old picture of Cloughton near Scarborough


old picture of Barton on Humber


old picture of Beswick between Driffield and Beverley

old picture of White Cross near Beverley

old picture of Brough East Yorkshire post office and 'bubble' car

old picture of Brough East Yorkshire, war memorial


old picture of  Elvington near York

old picture of Everingham near Pocklington

East Riding fire engine with BT reg

old picture of  a horse omnibus at Flamborough

old picture of Goodmanham

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Rawcliffe Bridge

At last it has stopped raining and we can cut the grass. Much longer and we would be haymaking. I really enjoy this time of year when everything is growing and the garden is vaguely under control. The potatoes are up and need earthing up, the onions are almost established and my broad beans look quite healthy.

I am not as keen when the sun is shining to sit at the computer but I have been spending some time trying to convert  my fourth Goole pictorial history book into an e book. It is not as easy as I thought, mainly because the book is full of images and the text floats about, separating pictures from captions. But I am persevering and hope to have it available in the next few weeks.

On Monday evening I attended the Boothferry History group meeting and enjoyed a presentation by Pippa Stainton on the subject of Rawcliffe and Rawcliffe Bridge. In fact we saw several pictures of the various bridges. There is  the bridge over the Don or Dutch River and another over the adjacent Aire and Calder canal. The canal was opened in 1826 and several  industries grew up around the bridge. These included a tar works, a brickworks which later was converted to a sugar beet works, a paper mill and of course Croda chemicals which took over a disused waterworks on the canal bank in 1925.

Pippa  enjoys using Photoshop to bring old photos to life and, at the end of August, in conjunction with other local historians including Gilbert Tawn and myself, she is having an exhibition at Junction in Goole. Between us we hope to display our large collection of old photographs to a wider audience.


An early view of workers inside the Turner paper mill at Rawcliffe Bridge

While looking up some details for this post I came across a reference to Joseph Turner, founder of the paper mill at Rawcliffe Bridge on the friends of Darwen cemetery site which gives some intereting biographical information about him.


Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The lady spy of Reedness, Yorkshire

Last night I went to the monthly meeting of the Marshland Local History group in Swinefleet village hall. The speaker was very interesting and I learned a lot about the nature reserves at Thorne and Hatfield.

The group is hoping to attract new members and have begun production of a small newsletter - we all received our printed copies last night. The idea is that, in future,  anyone on e mail can receive copies electronically.

It is an opportunity to keep in touch for those who perhaps would like to join the group but who for one reason or another cannot get to meetings. The group would welcome any contributions for future editions - memories, photos, family history stories and queries, articles - anything as long as it refers to the Marshland villages.

http://www.marshlandlocalhistorygroup.co.uk

My contribution I reproduce below. I was fascinated to find that this Reedness lady had such dubious connections that she spent most of the First World war in an internment camp.

The lady spy of Reedness

Like most members of the MLHG I shall miss listening to Bill/Horace Wroot's stories of Reedness life in the 20s and 30s. One story he often told was of the two local sisters who signalled to the Germans during the war.

I am not sure that the story I have found was the right one but it is certainly true that a Reedness lady was accused of being a spy during the First World War.

The lady in question was called Hilda Margaret Howsin. She was born in 1877, the younger daughter of Edward Howsin, a doctor and his wife, the former Louisa Bell of The Manor, Reedness. The Bell family were natives of Reedness and Louisa's father Robert was also a doctor.

By 1901 Louisa Howsin had died but the rest of the family - Edward and daughters Ethel and Hilda were living at Reedness with Louisa's sister Elizabeth.

Hilda was then only 23 but had already published a book entitled The Significance of Indian Nationalism.

Ten years later in 1911 she was visitor at the home of Wilfred Scawen Blunt, a noted author, poet and friend of Winston Churchill. She was then described as a journalist.

But then came the war and on 1st September 1915 her father went out partridge shooting. When he came home Hilda had disappeared. Some 17 days later the family found out that she was in an internment camp at Aylesbury.

She was accused of 'hostile associations'.  In 1907 in London she had apparently met a Virandranath Chattopodhyaya, an Indian who was studying for the Bar. He had associations with the Indian Nationalist movement and had left England in 1909*.

In May 1915, while at Reedness, Hilda had received a message from an unknown woman and as a result she travelled to Montreux where she met 'the Hindu' [as he was referred to in newspaper reports]. She then returned to England with a message for a lady friend of Mr Chattopodhyaya who was in a sanatorium.

However it was said that not only had her friend spent time in Berlin before travelling to Switzerland but that the lady who had asked Miss Howsin to travel to Montreux was a spy.

The case of Hilda Howsin was reported in national newspapers as "The case of the Squire's Daughter". She applied for her release on several occasions, was questioned personally by Stanley Baldwin and her case was discussed in the House of Commons but all to no avail.

She was not released until August 1919. In 1920 she married Devendra Bannerjea. She died in Fordingbridge, Hampshire in 1955.

Her sister, Miss Ethel Howsin, was remembered by Bill as the lady who came into Reedness School at Christmas time, bringing her large dogs (? Dalmatians) with her. The children had on their desks in front of them buns and cakes that were left over from their party and that they were taking home. The children stood in honour of their guest and the dogs ate the buns.

So I am not sure whether the Howsin family were the origin of Bill's spy story but surely Hilda's notoriety must have been discussed in the village.

* Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, alias Chatto, (1880 – 2 September 1937, Moscow), was a prominent Indian revolutionary who worked to overthrow the British Raj in India by using the force of arms as a tool. He created alliances with the Germans during World War I, was part of the Berlin Committee organising Indian students in Europe against the British, and explored actions by the Japanese at the time.
He went to Moscow in 1920 to develop support by the Communists for the Indian movement, including among Asians in Moscow who were working on revolutionary movements. He joined the German Communist Party (KPD). He lived in Moscow for several years in the 1930s. Arrested in July 1937 in Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, Chatto was executed on 2 September 1937.







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