But I am looking forward to starting teaching my local history classes this week in Howden and Goole. Tomorrow is the History of Howden and area at 1.30pm in the Town Council offices where we shall begin by looking at the history of local railways. Thursday morning is the History of Goole at 10am in the Ilkeston Ave community centre. I have been working as a tutor for the WEA for many years now and always enjoy meeting new faces and making new friends.
But as ever I am also busy with local history research. I have been looking at the history of the Bennett family of Goole. John Bennett, originally from Adlingfleet, founded the Bennett Steam shipping company of Goole and lived at Grove House in Old Goole. He began by transporting cargoes of potatoes but soon expanded to running a shipping company and owning several ships.
But as well as his shipping interests he also played a prominent part in the growth of the town. He was involved with the local government of Goole and was too a canny entrepreneur.
For example in 1875 he bought the land now around the Market Hall and Alexandra St, had it laid out with streets and sewers and then sold it to anyone who wanted to develop it. It was called Bennett's Town.
His son, Herbert Thomas Bennett, lived at Old Potter Grange. He married Mary Taylor whose father John was also a prominent in Goole, originally arriving in the town from Liverpool where he worked for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. He was sent to Goole at a day's notice as what we today would call a trouble shooter when the firm of Watson Cunliffe and Co who ran many of the Goole steamships went bankrupt in 1865.
The history of the Bennett and Taylor families is in many ways a microcosm the history of the port and town of Goole. Perhaps Goole should have a Bennett Street!
This is the funeral report from February 1904
FUNERAL OF MR BENNETT, GOOLE
Amidst many manifestations of regret, the remains of the late John Bennett, Grove House, Old Goole head of the firm of the Bennett line steamships, Hull, London, and Boulogne, and a well known agriculturist, were laid rest in the ancient and picturesque churchyard of Whitgift, about seven miles from Goole. near the village of Adlingfleet, the birthplace of the deceased.
Close by runs the river, along which ply the steamers that trade with the Ouse port, and along which the deceased has times without number passed in journey to and from the continent. It may be the late Mr Bennett selected that quiet spot partly for this reason. Whitgift has been the family burial ground of the Bennetts for many years past.
The time fixed for leaving Grove House was one o'clock. and one of the largest funeral processions seen Goole for many years past was formed. The hearse, with numerous floral tributes, sent bv sympathising friends from all round the country side, from Boulogne, from London, and other distant places with which the deceased had business and friendly connection, from the various staffs, from the various local public bodies, and stores other acquaintances, was followed by the mourning coaches, numerous private coaches, carriages, traps, etc.
In addition there was a large concourse of townspeople foot, including members of the various public bodies, magistrates, shipowners, and others connected with shipping, friends from Boulogne, London, Hull, and many other places, members of the various staffs, workpeople, and servants, captains. mates. engineers, sailors and firemen of the Bennett Company—all work having ceased for the day— and those of other steamers in port and others. The cortege extended a considerable distance. Those on foot followed from Grove House to Earnshaw's drain, the extent of the Goole urban boundary.
Here they joined the Goole passenger steamer Empress, which the Goole and Hull Steam Packet Company had placed their disposal free of charge. They were taken down the river to Whitgift jetty, where they were landed, and thence walked to the church, a distance of about quarter a mile, there again joining the funeral procession. Meantime the cortege itself passed along through Swinefleet, where drawn blinds showed signs of respect to one who was personally known to the villagers. The same respect was manifested the villagers of Reedness and Whitgilt, and at each place the procession augmented farmers, villagers, and others from the extensive district of Marshland. The service in the church was conducted the Vicar Goole and Rural of Snaith (Rev Canon Carr M.A.), who was assisted by other clergy. The church was able to accommodate but a small number present, but the scene at the graveside was such one that has not been witnessed for years.
|Grove House in Old Goole, now demolished|