Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Memories of Balkholme

Christmas Day has been and gone and today the turkey was made into a pie. It has been snowing in the south of the country but here we have nothing but a bit of frost.

In this slightly quieter time between Christmas and New Year I have been looking at  some of my own family history. I found an interesting reference to my Nurse ancestors in a golden wedding report from 1906. Such reports are always fascinating as they allow one a glimpse of ordinary lives of local people. This one tells of a couple from Balkhome who celebrated their golden wedding in 1906 but who could remember events from the 1830s.

March 1906

On Thursday of last week Mr and Mrs William Gibson, Balkholme, near Eastrington, celebrated their golden wedding, and were the recipients of hearty congratulations and good wishes from a large number of residents throughout the Eastrington and Howden district, where both resided the whole of their lives.

Mr Gibson, who is in his 76th year, was born at Balkholme on the 10th of March 1831, and is the eldest son of the late Samuel Gibson, and one of a family of 12 children. He has not been a great traveller, and excepting odd day's outing, has spent the whole of his life at, or within a mile two of, the hamlet of Balkholme. He only attended school  for a few days sometimes," and had to commence work at a very early age to help maintain the family, he and his mother working day in and day out in all weathers for 1s a day—the mother 8d, and the boy 4d a day; whilst his father's wages as labourer, qualified do any kind of farm work, were but 10s a week. At the age of 13 he was hired at Saltmarshe Grange, under Mr Dunnell, where he rose to be foreman.

After twelve years' service, at the of 25, he wooed and wed Miss Maria Johnson, eldest daughter of a family ten of the late Mr W. Johnson, of Goole, two years his junior, Miss Johnson having been born at Goole, on April 28th, 1835. The wedding took place St. Peter's Church, Howden, on the 29th March, 1856: and during their long and happy married life they have occupied a small holding at Balkholme, under T. Martin, of 'Yorkfleet', where they are able to keep a cow  or two, and are spending their declining years in comparatively comfortable circumstances.

He and Mrs Gibson have had only a small family  of three sons, all of whom are still living, married, and doing well —George, aged 48, living at Barmston; Henry (46), living at Mews; and Jack (40), residing in Hull. Their grandchildren number 11. Mr and Mrs Gibson, despite their advanced age, enjoy wonderful health, and have had little expense with doctoring. The former has scarcely ever had had a day's illness in his life, and thinks nothing now of an eight or nine miles walk. In his own words, he has been used "to roughing it," and is a true type of the robust Yorkshireman of the olden days.

When interviewed by our representative, he related several interesting incidents of 60 years ago. He recollects the old coach running between Selby and Hull, and the opening the Hull and Selby Railway; the days when the threshing was done by the flail and horse machine; the introduction of the steam threshing machine, the first coming into Balkholme belonging to Messrs Thompson and Nurse. Wheat was over £4 a quarter, and flour 4s stone. He has mown as much as 18 acres of wheat, and with the help of his wife, tied up, stooked and raked the same ready for leading in 7 or 8 days, at from 7s to an acre.

Balkholme is not exactly a large place but Mr Gibson seems to have been happy there not travelling far for the whole of his life.

The article  was illustrated but few photographs were published then in newspapers so this is what the reader of the Hull Mail saw.

It would not be easy to recognise the Gibsons from this

Maria died in 1916 and William died in 1918

And I learned that my ancestor, probably Isaac Nurse and his brother in law Stephen Thompson who was a machine maker, had a very early steam threshing machine.

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