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The Humber, A. Watts

Humber Working Craft

The Blobber

So called because of their use for "Eel Blobbing" in the Humber and River Hull, the Blobbers were converted from smacks boats. All fishing vessels, both sail and steam, carried a boat some 18'0" long, 7'0" beam and 2'6" in depth and, as they were condemned by the Board of Trade for sea-work, they were eagerly snapped up for conversion. After restoring the hull, and making good the superficial damage of a working life, the boat was decked and a false keel and cabin added. This varied between a low profile for use on the Humber to a raised top some 2'0" above the gunwale for use on the more sheltered waters of the Hull. Occasionally, the boats would have a flush deck and small cockpit, but this type was in the minority.

The Rig varied again with the use intended; for work on the Humber, and for racing, a cutter rig with gaff mainsail and bowsprit was adopted. Exceptionally for downwind work a mizzen was stepped on the archboard.

The boats on the River Hull were not generally rigged - being propelled by a long oar, and having an eel spear and two staves for suspending the eel blobs. In 1902, it was estimated that there were 50 Blobbers in the Humber creeks and dock basins, and some 100 on the River Hull.

"The Humber", A. Watts

The Crab Boat

Although an import from Cromer and Sheringham and, therefore, not strictly a "Humber Type" the Crab Boat was widely used on the lower Humber by professional fishermen and, in 1908 it was recorded that there were 17 of them "on the wire" outside the small lockpit at the Fish Dock at Grimsby. Average size was between 16'0" and 19.0" overall length, and from 6'3" to 7'0" beam with exceptionally boats of 21'0" x 8'0". Oars, 12'0" big, were leaded near the hand to balance them and were used through rowlock holes in the top strake.

The boats were clench built of 3/8" planking on bent joggled ribs closely spaced amidships but wider apart near the ends; the top strake is of heavier section, there being no inwale. Floorboards were only fitted aft to provide a working platform for the fisherman when hauling pot5. Three well braced thwarts were usual, the forward one carrying the mast and rig dipping lug-sail. Although lightly built and usually unballasted, they were, nevertheless, good sea boats and particularly good to weather in a blow.

"The Humber", A. Watts

The Goole Billy Boy

Working further afield than either the Keel or Sloop, the Billy Boy was a Ketch rigged trader with a hull similar to that of a Keel but having high bulwarks and, as a rule, no leeboards. The average dimensions of the type were in the order of 63' x 18' although some had a narrower beam, which, although allowing them to pass through locks on the canals, decreased their sea-keeping qualities.

A well steeved up bowsprit carrying a multiplicity of jibs was a feature of the rig; the masts were both stepped in tabernacles for lowering when the vessels had to go "above bridge".

Decoration at bow and stern was common, particularly ship-carpenters carving on the trail boards and around the hawse holes; the gunwale capping was generally painted white, bulwarks black, top strake lined white and brown and hull black. The type has distinctive names – "Joshua", "Try-on", "Abeona", "Bernard", "Fern", "Aimwell", "Eliezer", "Bottle Imp", "Tiger", "Surprise", "Village Flower" and "Sandringham" being recorded.

"The Humber", A. Watts

The Humber Duster

The waterman's boat in use on the Humber in the days of sail, and in the early years of steam, was known as a "Duster" or "Gold Duster". These craft would be sailed out to meet incoming ships and would offer their services for the "boating" work of the ships whilst they were laid in the Roads or going into and leaving dock.

In the heyday of sail, the Dusters would race out to secure the most prosperous ships and the Duster first to "gaff" a ship would have prior claim to her, subject to concluding an agreement with the Mate. A hook, mounted on a 12'0" pole, was used as a gaff, and a high degree of skill and watermanship must have been required to gaff a ship at speed and be towed alongside whilst the negotiations took place. Such was the competition that Dutsters from Hull would sail well out to sea or as far up the coast as Hornsea to find an incoming ship.

The Dusters were of two types; the Grimsby Type at 21'0" x 6'10" with a single dipping lug-sail of considerable area were the larger and more powerful, suited to the exposed conditions of the lower estuary, and the Hull Type at 18'0" x 5'6" with a two masted sprit-sail rig as shown in the illustration. Both types were extremely strongly built to cope with rough usage in going alongside under way; the larger type having up to 5 thwarts braced with both hanging and lodging knees. For rowing, wooden thole pins, instead of rowlocks, were used. As protection, a large rope fender was worked over the stem-head and other fenders were secured at each end of each thwart ready for dropping when necessary.

The Hull boats were frequently used without ballast, the Grimsby boats carried 8 to 12 cwts of lead ballast or had up to 3 cwts of lead run into their deep false keel. Hull boats sailed under the fore sprit-sail only in strong winds, Grimsby boats had four reefs in the lug-sail - these sails were commonly made by the local sailmaker, J. Powell, and were all hand stitched.

The watermen took great pride in their boats and paint, varnish and gilt stripes were the order of the day; like all rivermen's boats the Dusters were keenly raced once or twice during the year - but the real prize was the capture of a wealthy incoming trader.

"The Humber", A. Watts

The Humber Keel

Widely thought to be a direct descendant of the Viking longship so common on the Humber during the 9th and 10th Centuries, the Keel is the most distinctive of the local craft and was first noted, as a "Keyll", in the 14th Century. It is unique in this country for preserving the working square rig into the 20th Century over a trading ground that was usually the Humber waterways but, occasionally, coastal in that passages were made to Bridlington or Boston Deeps. One that ventured as far as London achieved fame by being entered as "a one-masted Brig".

Dimensions varied with the use envisaged and the locks that had to be negotiated; the Sheffield size being 60'3" x 15'3", with other craft being up to 68'0" in length. The main features of the hull are, perhaps, the exceedingly bluff bows, the massive leeboards and the well arched hatch covers.

The illustration shows the general lines and rig, including topsail which was used primarily on the canals rather than in the estuary. Deck furniture included a large and efficient windlass for the anchor, mast rollers, at the fore-end of the hatch, for raising and lowering the mast (also useful for warping the vessel), the mainsail rollers at the after end of the hatchways, the track rollers, the sheet rollers and a roller set virtually under the stern rail for winding up the fall of the leeboard purchase.

Non-mechanical effects included two huge "stowers" - long poles similar to a Norfolk quant, two long boat hooks, warps, heaving line, a ton or so of chain cable and a water cask with dipper on chocks to the starboard side of the after deck.

The anchor had a function other than that for which it was primarily intended; when lowered, and with its crown just touching bottom, the Keelsman could steer his vessel as he "drove" with the tide up or down the Trent or Ouse when the wind was foul. In that position it was always ready to let go and stop the Keel altogether if required. The crew normally consisted of two, exceptionally of three. Accommodation, often in a stylish and always in a comfortable cabin, was provided for the Captain (and, often, his family) aft of the bulkhead, and for the crew of one forward of the fore bulkhead. Keels were built widely throughout Yorkshire wherever a river or canal gave access to the navigations.

Clapsons Yard, at Barton upon Humber, and Richard Dunstons, then at Thorne, both still very active, built many Keels and a visual record of the type may be seen in the many paintings of Reuben Chappell, Goole's famous marine artist (1870-1940) and, to a lesser extent, in the work of the Hull artist, John Ward

"The Humber", A. Watts.

The Humber Sailing Trawler

The cutter rigged Trawler was introduced to this area in the 1840s from Brixham following the discovery of the "Silver Pits" fishing ground off the Yorkshire coast. The best time for fishing the Pits was winter when the fish sought the deeper water and a number of Brixham boats made Hull their winter headquarters - both for convenience and for the facilities available in the Port and, inevitably, some stayed permanently providing the impetus needed to start the Hull Fishing Industry.

These first Trawlers were of some 30 or 40 tons, developing eventually to 80 tons or so, with dimensions of 85'0" x 20'0" beam and 11'0" draught, as the example illustrated - The Othello, built in 1884, in Brixham, for Mr Charles Hellyer. The massive rig of this vessel is indicated by the size of the bowsprit at 36' overall with 24' outboard and requiring no shroud or bobstay, worked below the rail and through the knight heads. The windlass was immediately aft of the bowsprit bitts and a fore hatch was located between the windlass and the winch used for hoisting sails, hauling up the forward trawl head, hoisting in the bag of fish and for warping the vessel. The hatch gave access to the forehold where sails, warps and other gear were stored.

The main hatch or warp hatch was immediately aft of the mast and the trawl warp, as it was hove in round the capstan, was led down and coiled under the deck in a large compartment on the starboard side. Immediately aft of the main hatch was a watertight partition forming the after bulkhead of the main hold and the forward bulkhead of the Ice and Fish room, which had a separate hatch kept as small as possible - as were all hatches - to avoid intake of seas when the vessel was swept in heavy weather.

The standard on deck just aft of the fish room hatch was known as the dummy and the trawl warp was attached to this by a stopper when towing the gear. The stopper was made of an old piece of trawl warp, weaker than the main warp, so that, should the trawl become fast on an obstruction, the stopper, and not the warp, would part.

Next aft came the companion way leading to a fitted cabin for the five hands, the main sheet block secured to a massive beam, the after skylight, mast and tiller.

Ballast consisted of concrete placed between the closely spaced timbers in the bottom and lower parts of the hull and ten or twelve tons of pig iron amidships.

"The Humber", A. Watts

The Humber Sloop

The hull of the Sloop has substantially the same lines as the Keel but is generally without the restriction of beam imposed upon the latter by the width of locks on the canals and navigations. The Sloop traded mainly within the estuary, along the coast, and in the tidal areas of the Trent and Ouse. The increased beam gave greater cargo carrying capacity and many Sloops carried 170 tons or more. The rig, however, is the essential difference between the two vessels, the Sloop having a fore-and-aft rig of gaff mainsail and jib.

Early Sloops carried a bowsprit with the jib, set on a stay, plus a flying jib hanked to the top-mast stay. The bulwarks on this type are raised and the cargo hatch is divided into a small one forward of the mast and a long, large one, aft of it. The mast was stepped above the deck in a very strong wooden lutchet.

The later Sloops, built of steel, were simpler looking vessels with more powerful mechanical equipment for handling the heavier spars and greater loads. Both keels and sloops towed a "cob boat", generally 12'0" long and 4'6" beam, clinker built with bluff bows and fine stern lines. It was propelled by a simple sweep over the transom. Miniature Sloops were common, particularly on the Ouse and Trent; at 30'0" or so overall they would load 20 tons and be sailed single handed by their owner - particularly as market boats.

George F. Holmes, writing in 1905, says "that a full powered Sloop turning up or down the Humber against a strong breeze makes a very fine picture, as she crashes through the short seas and flings their crests in spray halfway up her gleaming red sails".

An evocative picture from a knowledgeable eye witness who spent a lifetime sailing the estuary.

"The Humber", A. Watts

The Paull Shrimper

Paull Creek, the lower part of the former Hedon Haven, was the home of the Paull Shrimper and, at the turn of the Century, the fleet was numerous and the business profitable. The boats varied from between six to twelve tons in displacement, the larger boats being kept anchored in Paull Roads, the smaller type using the creek between tides. The illustration shows a typical rig and hull with the cockpit well extending to the after side of the mast. Very little deck gear was carried, the bowsprit being pressed into service, partly run in, as a Spanish windlass when, for example, the Trawl was fouled and additional power was required. Sails were made by the fishermen themselves, with plenty of flow and heavily "dressed" for a long life.

The boats were undoubtedly good sea boats and were reported to run or reach without a hand on the tiller, whilst the single hand boiled his shrimps, changed head sails or coiled down his trawl warps. The larger boats carried a crew of two. Shrimping was effected by two 9'6" beam trawls with the boats sailing on the ebb and returning on the flood, having the advantage of a favourable tide when working the narrows. They usually fished locally but occasionally they were to be seen prawning on the Haile Sand outside the Humber or, fitted with a stow net, on the Trent or Ouse.

"The Humber", A. Watts

Visitor Comments

Posted by Keith on 13/01/2006

My great and great-great-grandfathers were master mariners, Matthew Southwell Vine and John Henry Vine. Their ship was a Humber Keel, Billy Boy rigged, named BREEZE and registered at Boston. In the 1861 census her position at midnight on April 7 was in the port of Caen, France. Matthew Vine, 43; Master, John Endesby, 53; Mate, Robert Geant, 24; Seaman and John Vine, 16, Boy, from Spalding, Lincolnshire. This is some proof that they were capable of more than just coastal voyages.

Posted by Mike on 28/03/2006

I think Mr Hickman, whose ketch TRIUMPH was lost on 15 November 1901, was my great-grandfather. Richard Hickman was a butcher in Goole at the turn of the century (1900) and ran butchers ships between Goole/Hull and Holland. He was at one time a Goole councillor.

Posted by Shuffleton Streets on 29/03/2006

Richard Hickman played a role in Goole's early development from his Barge Dock Side base.

Posted by Geoff on 23/04/2006

Richard Hickman (d. 1906) owned the ketch TRY formerly owned by my ancestors the Depledges. I will send additional info.

Posted by Anthony on 28/01/2012

At the time of his death in 1906, Richard Hickman owned the following ships (value in brackets): schooner JOHN MARTIN (£360); ketches LIZZIE (£115), HENRIETTA (£448), JOHN AND MARY (£165), PANTHER (£241), JANE KNOX AND NANCY (£380), half share in JOSHUA (£55) and half share in ELIZA AND ALICE (£60). His estate also received an insurance pay-out of £189/3/9 in respect of the loss of the ketch TRY.

Posted by David on 29/04/2006

In the 1881 census I came across my great-grandfather's ship the FLOWN. On board were his wife Rose Ellen and two of the nine children they eventually had (a sign of the times). The Flown was owned and skippered by my great-grandfather Captain Joseph Lea and was a top sail trading schooner. I have reason to believe she was registered in Goole. Would anyone have an idea if a photo or print exists? Thanks.

Posted by Joan on 07/11/2008

I wonder if anyone has any ships that had a seaman or captain/master by the name of John Pool/Poole? John was born around 1835 in England but we are not sure of the area. Captain John Pool was reported to have fallen over board from Flown and was feared drowned by his employers Freear & Dix of Sunderland. I have a copy of the telegram sent to my great-great-grandmother dated 21 April 1898 off the coast of Bridport. Thanks.

Posted by Geoff on 30/04/2006

I first posted this on the Goole genealogy site but thought it of interest to those interested in Goole boats. It is a transcript of a message sent by Ron Goney to my brother and contains the names of many Goole mariners, boats and owners:

704. Sloop FRIENDSHIP. Official No. 4725. A round sterned carvel and clench built wooden sailing ship with a single mast and sloop rigged with a fast bowsprit. Built in Wakefield in 1841 by James Craven, its measurements were 58.8' x 12.7' x 7' and registered burthen 54 - 2209/300 tons. Registered at Goole under registration No. 13 on 26 April 1841 when the owners of 32 shares each were Thomas Depledge of Knottingley, a mariner and William Moorhouse of Knottingley, a merchant; master was John Depledge. Thomas Depledge died and by will dated 23 December 1843, probate 5 June 1847, Hannah Depledge was appointed sole executrix.

On 1 September 1847 Hannah Depledge and William Moorhouse each sold 11 shares to John Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner. Re-registered at Goole under registration No. 55 on 23 November 1847 when the owners were 21 shares William Moorhouse of Knottingley, a merchant, 21 shares Hannah Depledge of Knottingley, a widow and 22 shares John Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner; he was also master. On 4 August 1852 William Moorhouse sold his 21 shares to John Depledge.

In consequence of an alteration in registered burthen to 43.17 tons it was re-registered at Goole under registration No. 47 on 20 August 1856 when the owners were 43 shares John Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner and 21 shares Hannah Depledge of Knottingley, a widow. On 21 March 1857 Hannah Depledge sold 21 shares to John Depledge; then on 17 April 1862 John Depledge sold all 64 shares to Robert Stead of Wakefield, a shipbuilder, and on 8 July 1862 Robert Stead sold 32 shares to James Wilby of Methley, a coal agent and 16 shares to Mark Campbell of Brotherton, a master mariner. On 21 August 1865 Robert Stead sold his other 16 shares to James Wilby of Bottomboat, Wakefield, a coal shipper. On 28 April 1868 Joseph Wilby sold 48 shares and Mark Campbell 16 shares both to Robert Stead, who on 1 May 1868 transferred 64 shares by way of mortgage to John Connor of Wakefield, an agent to secure payment of £105 plus 5% interest; this was discharged 25 July 1868. On 25 July 1868 Robert Stead sold 24 shares to Thomas Freear of Sunderland, a shipowner, 24 shares to John Collins of Wisbeach, a shipowner and 16 shares to Ann Atkinson of Bishopwearmouth, Durham, a widow. On 10 April 1869 Thomas Freear sold 24 shares to John Sedgwick of Sunderland, a tailor. On 2 December 1869 John Sedgwick sold 24 shares to Thomas Freear, now a ship broker, who on same day transferred them by way of mortgage to John Sedgwick to secure payment of £63 plus 8% interest; this was discharged 15 December 1870. On 23 December 1873 Ann Atkinson sold 16 shares and Thomas Freear sold 24 shares both to George Herring of Wisbeach, a master mariner. Cancelled 27 March 1878 converted into a keel.

714. Sloop H.H. Official No. 184. A round sterned carvel and clench built wooden sailing ship with a single mast and sloop rigged with a standing bowsprit. Built in Wakefield in 1848 by James Craven, its measurements were 58.8' x 15.6' x 7.2' and registered burthen 62 - 455/3500 tons. Registered at Goole under registration No. 42 on 13 November 1848 when the owners of 32 shares each were Hannah Depledge of Knottingley, a widow and George Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner; he was also master.

On 19 April 1855 George Wilson was appointed master at London. Hannah Depledge died 1 October 1867 and by her will dated 1 May 1867, probate at Wakefield 20 December 1867, the joint owners of her 32 shares were George Depledge, an innkeeper and Thomas Austwick, a grocer, both of Pontefract. George Depledge died 28 November 1868 and by his will dated 22 November 1853, probate at Wakefield 20 February 1869, Harriet Depledge of Pontefract, a widow was appointed executrix. Thomas Austwick was sole surviving executor of Hannah Depledge. On 15 November 1869 Thomas Austwick transferred 32 shares to Harriet Depledge of Pontefract, a widow.

Lost with all papers at Dunwich, Southwold 10 February 1871. Goole Weekly Times 18 February 1871 Southwold Feb 12th: The sloop two H.H's of Goole came ashore at Dunwich, and became a total wreck; crew supposed to have been washed overboard. Two bodies have been washed ashore.

840. Ketch TRY. Official No. 44029. A round sterned carvel and clench built wooden sailing ship with two masts and ketch rigged. Built in Wakefield in 1862, its measurements were 62.8' x 17.8' x 8.5' and registered burthen 60.48 tons. Registered at Goole under registration No. 8 on 15 May 1862 when the owner of all 64 shares was John Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner.

On 14 May 1862 John Depledge transferred all 64 shares by way of mortgage to Thomas Clegg of Goole, a stone agent to secure payment of £330 plus 6% interest; this was discharged 12 April 1873. John Depledge died 15 April 1881 and by his will dated 13 November 1876, the executors and joint owners appointed were William Depledge, Samuel Depledge and Thomas Depledge, all of Knottingley, master mariners. On 4 July 1881 these executors transferred all 64 shares to William Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner. On 28 October 1881 William Depledge transferred all 64 shares by way of mortgage to Thomas Depledge of Goole, a master mariner to secure payment of £360 plus 5% interest; this was discharged 6 April 1882. On 28 August 1882 William Depledge transferred all 64 shares by way of mortgage to Thomas Clegg junior of Goole, a stone merchant to secure payment of £100 plus 7% interest; this was discharged 3 August 1885. A declaration was made that William Flower Depledge and William Depledge are one and the same person, because his father from whom he inherited the property inadvertently omitted to insert the name "Flower" in his will dated 13 November 1876, and he is commonly known as William Depledge only. On 4 August 1885 William Flower Depledge transferred all 64 shares by way of mortgage to George Jackson of Knottingley, a master mariner to secure payment of £100 plus 5% interest; this was discharged 19 May 1891. On 17 June 1904 William Flower Depledge sold all 64 shares to Richard Hickman of Goole, a shipowner. Richard Hickman died 31 March 1906 and probate of will granted at the Principal Registry 19 May 1906, Frederick Fish, a ship broker and Randle Hopley, an accountant were appointed executors. Cancelled 6 May 1907 converted into a Hulk. July 1879. The ketch "Try" of Goole under the command of Captain Depledge, on passage from Rochester to Caen, put into Ramsgate on 9 July 1879 having lost her anchor and 20 fathoms of chain, having slipped the same at 1pm October 1881. The ketch "Try" of Goole under the command of Captain Depledge, on passage from London to Goole with a cargo of cement, was assisted into Lowestoft by tug on Saturday 15th, having been run into whilst riding in the Yarmouth Roads, by the French fishing vessel No 897 of Fecamp.

842. Ketch TRY ON. Official No. 58722. A round sterned carvel and clench built wooden sailing ship with two masts and ketch rigged. Built in Wakefield in 1867, its measurements were 60.2' x 17.6' x 8.45' and registered burthen 58.49 tons. Registered at Goole under registration No. 24 on 8 October 1867 when the owners were 42 shares John Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner and 22 shares Samuel Depledge of Knottingley, a master mariner.

On 21 October 1876 John Depledge sold ten shares to Samuel Depledge. On 27 October 1875 John Depledge of The Hole, Knottingley was managing owner, then on 15 July 1881 Samuel Depledge was managing owner. John Depledge died 15 April 1881 and by his will dated 13 November 1876, probate at Wakefield 18 June 1881 the executors were Samuel, Thomas and William Depledge all of Knottingley, Master Mariners. On 14 August 1881 these executors transferred 32 shares to Samuel Depledge. Samuel Depledge died 25 January 1885 and by his will dated 22 July 1881, probate at Wakefield 27 February 1885 Mary Depledge his widow was executrix. On 5 March 1885 Mary Depledge sold 64 shares to Israel Jackson of Goole, a shipowner, who on same day transferred them by way of mortgage to York City and County Banking Co to secure payment of £200 plus 5% interest; this was discharged 11 June 1886. On 5 April 1888 Israel Jackson sold 16 shares to Joseph Wharton of Keadby, a shipowner, then bought them back 26 June 1897. On 18 July 1890 registered burthen reduced to 43.02 tons.

Israel Jackson died 5 October 1905 and by his will dated 28 September 1905, probate at Principal Registry 4 November 1905 Hannah Jane Jackson of 11 Beverley Cottages, Goole his widow was executrix. On 7 April 1906 Hannah Jane Jackson sold 64 shares to Charles Thompson of 48 Hedon Road, Hull, a shipowner. Transferred to Hull 30 May 1906.

Posted by Graham on 18/03/2007

I am trying to gain information regarding my great-great-grandfather John Grindell and his ships. I know that he was a master mariner and ship owner born in Knottingley. I also understand that he owned or part-owned the following vessels, ECLIPSE registered Goole No. 2, JOHN AND ELIZABETH registered Goole No. 27, SPRING RICE registered Goole No. 44, MARY AND ANN registered Hull No. 17, BENJAMIN AND MICHAEL registered Goole No. 10. There may have been more but I am not aware of them. His son, also John Grindell, was master of YOUNG HUDSON at some stage but also was involved with two other vessels operating out of Southwold harbour. I believe that they were the ALBION and the DEVONIA. Any information would be gratefully received. Thanks.

Posted by George on 22/03/2007

The following is from the records held at the Waterways Museum at Goole, original info compiled by Ron Gosney of Knottingley.

Eclipse: schooner built Knottingley 1848 by Thomas Cliffe; 21/11/1855 transferred to Yarmouth. Three owners, one of them a William Grindell of Knottingley.

John and Elizabeth: sloop built Knottingley 1842 by Thomas Cliffe, run down in Low Reach Feb 1861; 1842 owned by John Grindell and two others.

Spring Rice: sloop built Knottingley 1838 by Thomas Cliffe, lost with all hands 16/01/1867. Owned by a few people including John Grindell.

Benjamin and Michael: sloop built Wakefield 1840 by James Craved. Two owners including John Grindell.

These are the only Grindell owned vessels listed.

Posted by Margaret on 08/07/2007

Mark Campbell, a master mariner of Brotherton was my great-great-grandfather. In the 1881 census, he was the master of the Billly Boy VILLAGE FLOWER in which he owned shares. On board were two crew members, his son Mark (mate and bargeman) and Thomas Wilson, a seaman of Leeds and his wife Mary (nee Sykes) with four of children. In the 1861 census for Howden, Mark was master of the ALICE coasting off Goole. He had two mates and his then new wife Mary, plus two of the children from his first marriage to Mary Anne Eastwood, on board. Two older children were boarding with the Sykes family in Brotherton.

Posted by Malcolm on 19/05/2009

Following genealogy study I have discovered that my great-grandfather was the master of the Village Flower in the 1891 census in Goole. Also I have traced him to other barges, ANNE of Goole, LARK and EVA. I would love to find a picture of any of these vessels. His brothers George and Samuel were also barge masters like their father before them.

Posted by Rob on 21/11/2007

There is a Humber Crab Boat at Eyemouth museum

Posted by Liz on 26/07/2008

How many crew was usual on a sloop?

Posted by Alan on 22/09/2008

Sloops had a crew of two, although some skipper owners would have the help of their wives. They would take on a purchaseman to assist in the sailing from the docks up river to say Keadby, the purchaseman would then do the same back on another ship. Humber sloops were larger than the majority of sloops trading on the river, being 68ft long and 16ft or more wide. The size of the smaller ships was dictated by where they traded to or from, such as Sheffield, Barnsley, Driffield, Manvers or Weighton to mention a few. As far as I know most of the sloops and keels that are still under sail today are all Sheffield ships, AMY HOWSON, COMRADE, SPIDER T, ONICIMUS, DAYBREAK and SOUTHCLIFF. The only Humber sloop is PHYLLIS at Barton Haven.

Posted by Anna on 11/09/2013

Spider T was owned by me from 1973 to 1974. She was 63 foot long and 15ft 6in beam fitted with an Armstrong Siddley 33hp air cooled as I rebuilt it and it had a lot more power after that.

Posted by Sue on 01/04/2009

Just looked up the JOHN WILLIAM Humber sloop and came across this site; she is owned by two friends of mine, Fiona and Eric Hutchison, and is currently moored up in Chateaulin, Finistere, Brittany.

Posted by Maggie on 17/05/2009

I am trying to track down the present owners of the John William - what a beautiful craft! My late mother-in-law's great-granddad owned and skippered this boat and I believe he owned several others. As a family historian I am interested in sharing the history of the John William with the owners and perhaps learning some more.

Posted by Tony on 11/06/2009

She was moored in the centre of Chateaulin in Brittany when I was there a fortnight ago. I was not able to see anyone on board, so I suggest she might be there for some time and a letter might find her owner. She is in the distance on a photo I took.

Posted by Maggie on 19/06/2009

Lovely to hear from you and thanks for the offer of a photo of the John William and look forward to seeing it! Have you a rough idea of the length of this craft?

Posted by Alan on 28/07/2009

John William (sloop) was built at Warrens yard New Holland in 1904, No. 29. Without going through the list I think she was 65ft Loa and 17ft beam. She was the first of a string of vessels built for the Barraclough family of Barton on Humber by Warrens. The last time I saw her on the Humber she was junk rigged of all things and had no Humber sloop features left apart from the basic hull.

Posted by Alan on 30/12/2010

For the people interested in the Humber sloop John William, she is now back in England and is at present in the Torpoint Marina. She is still owned by the Hutchinsons and no doubt contact with them can be made through the marina office. Hope this is useful.

Posted by Andrew on 14/04/2012

14 April 2012, John William is at anchor in Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth.

Posted by Ben on 04/02/2013

If anyone is still interested in the fate of John William, she is currently lying at Goole, but having just been purchased by myself she is destined for Sandwich, Kent. There we (myself and my partner Hayley) intend to restore her somewhat to a state much improved on what she is currently!

Posted by Jason on 24/04/2009

I'm looking to get any information about my Humber keel, the FLOSS. She sat in Goole for many years when she was owned by the Taylor family. She was built in Gainsborough in 1937 and worked for Spillars and Furleys (we think). Now trying to get any photos of her and more information. We are currently converting her for our new home.

Posted by JRS on 09/03/2010

In the 1890s the Shrimpers included: James Dickinson, Robert Dickinson, Joseph Elways, Robert Elways, James Evendon, William Gorbutt, Francis Parrott, James Parrott, George Pickering, Ralph Pickering Snr, Ralph Pickering, George Starkey, Frederick Starkey, John Storey, Johnathon Such, James Wilkin Snr, James Wilkin, John Wilkin, Stephen Wilkin and William Wilson. A photograph of them exists with Sam B. Wilson and a few other unidentified individuals. There is also a Hely Smith (Louth artist) watercolour of John Wilkin at the tiller of Sapphire. I can remember buying bags of shrimps from one of the Pickerings in the mid-1960s.

Posted by Rosemary on 05/09/2010

JRS, I was very excited to find this site and to read your comments with names. My Ann Elways great(x3)-grandmother's brother was Robert Elways, who had a son Joseph, both listed in the census as fisherman, living at Paull, and listed by you as shrimp fishermen in your comments. Ann Elways father, also a Joseph was a fisherman of Paull as well 1785-1857.

Posted by Wendy on 17/11/2010

I am also very interested in this as I have a family tree including these names also.

Posted by Malane on 21/11/2010

I was very interested to read all about this, and to see that Rosemary had left a message,. My great-grandfather was Samuel Elways Thomas, Ann Elway's son. He married Alice Jackson, and came out to New Zealand in 1870. My mother Joyce Parkhill (nee Hawkins), used to know of a Rosemary Hendry that lived in Rotorua, could this be the same Rosemary, that left a message? I am also interested in any info on the Elways family, or even to see a photo. Thanks.

Posted by Adrian on 28/03/2013

My wife's great(x3)-grandfather is Jonathon Such and I see him listed as one of the Paull shrimpers. He was married to Ann DICKENSON obviously another local shrimping family. I would be fascinated to see any more information.

Posted by JRS on 12/11/2014

The Post Office Directory for Paull in 1857 lists John Dennis, John Denison, James Dickinson, Joseph Elways, Joseph Naylor, Francis Parrott, John Tennison, Francis Turner, John Wilkin, Stephen Wilkin and William Wilkin as "fishermen". James Dickinson also ran a store, John Tennison was also landlord at The Royal Oak and William Wilkin likewise at The Humber Tavern. Baines (1823) and Bulmers (1892) do not list any fishermen per se.

Posted by Wendy on 13/04/2010

Can anyone provide information on any of the Earnshaw men that where ship owners in Goole and Knottingley. All men were born Knottingley. John Earnshaw aged 70 on 1881 cen Knottingley on board "Welcome Home" with his wife Amy. Septimus Earnshaw aged 36 on 1881 cen Guernsey on board as Master of "Vigo". Son of John Earnshaw above. George Thomas Earnshaw c 1868 found as Master of "The Three Brothers" a Sloop built by West of Knottingley on the Humber Packets Boats website. Son of Septimus Earnshaw above. Septimus's wife and children lived at 33 Vermuyden Terrace, Goole on 1881 cen. Any information regarding the men and any of their boats/ships would be most gratefully appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by Wendy on 17/04/2010

I have received this information from the Sobriety Waterways Museum re EARNSHAW. I thought it would be most useful to post the information on here.

I've had a look through our Goole records, and what we have of any Knottingley records and have found the following: George Earnshaw had the following vessels:

LISSIE built in 1859 at Stanley Ferry and operating from Knottingley. Partners were George Jackson and William Sayner

KALODYNE built in 1859 at Goole and operating from Knottingley. Partner was Benji Tupman Septimus Earnshaw:

VIGO built in 1859 at Goole and operating out of Knottingley. Partners were Jeremiah Bentley of Goole, Thomas Ramsey of Goole, and Joseph Arnold of Knottingley. I've no trace of John Earnshaw, but in the Knottingley lists there is a Thomas Earnshaw who had a sloop called THREE BROTHERS built in 1803. In Goole, slightly later, there is a Richard Earnshaw:

OSPREY, a schooner owned by Richard in 1880

MANNE DU CIEL, a ketch owned by Richard in 1885 I was wondering if this might be the same family that later had Earnshaws Chandlers shop on Bridge Street, Goole, as I believe they had their own boats as well?

Posted by Wendy on 26/04/2010

More census info on the Earnshaw clan.

1861 census: Vessel HOPE: RG9/4490 33 James Earnshaw, unm, 22, Master, b. Knottingley Septimus Earnshaw, unm, 19, Mate, b. do.(3 years over c 1845) Joseph Ward, 18, Boy, b. Stockworth Lincs Situation Portland ? Dorset.

Can anyone help with info for Hope? Was she a Humber Packet or was she a vessel owned by Benji Tupman of Knottingley?? Or did Septimus own/part share her?

1871 census: cannot find the family anywhere?

1881 census: Vessel "VIGO" St. Sampson, Guernsey, Channel Islands RG11 5628/44 Septimus EARNSHAW M Male 36 Knottingley,York Eng Master W.G. DANNEALSON M Male 46 Sweden Mate George BOOTHBY U Male 19 Lincoln, Eng O Seaman Edward ROBB U Male 17 Newark, Nottingham, Eng Cook

1881 census: Wife and Children of Septimus above 33 Vermuyden Terr. Goole, York, England RG11 4701/69 Mary EARNSHAW Wife (Head) M Female 34 West Stockwith, Lincoln, England Marina's Wife George T. EARNSHAW Son Male 13 Knottingley, Lincoln, England Polly F. EARNSHAW Daur Female 8 Knottingley, Lincoln, England Scholar

1891 census: vessel "VIGO" RG12/921 19 19 Septimus Earnshaw, master, mar, 46, b. Knottingley on board with a mate, an able seaman and an ordinary seaman, at Southampton Docks.

Confusion re this Septimus Earnshaw c 1845 Knottingley his father is said to be John Earnshaw. There is another Septimus Earnshaw born Knottingley c 1845 and his father is also Septimus Earnshaw. Can anyone shed any light on these two families and if there are connected? Thanks.

Posted by Mike on 07/09/2010

I think there's only one operating traditional crab boat in Cromer now. All the rest are fibre-glass and of a different design. Only a few years ago they were nearly all traditional (with inboard motors, of course).

Posted by Gill on 07/11/2010

My late husband's grandfather Edward Jackson from Brotherton signed Indentures in Goole in December 1858 to work as an ordinary seaman under the master, William Whittaker, on the sloop the WILLIAM AND DINAH, built in that year in Knottingley.

In 1888 a ketch also called the William and Dinah is sunk off Great Yarmouth, she is older than the sloop, William Whittaker is also her master but there appears to be no record of what happened to the first ship. Can anyone help me? Thanks.

Posted by Brian on 28/02/2015

I have a bible dated 1865 with an inscription: "for the use of the crew of the ketch William and Dinah of Goole. Not to be taken away. Please keep this book clean."

In one of the previous comments the master was said to be William Whitaker, it sank off Great Yarmouth. Is there any more information about the ketch? Is there a museum or organisation that would like to have this bible?

Posted by Corby on 28/02/2015

According to Ron Gosney's book "Sailing ships and mariners of Knottingley", the 56 ton sloop built in 1858 William and Dinah at Knottingley. Owned by William Whitaker, Dinah Ramskill and Caroline Bayes. William owned other vessels. One of which was Goole built by Mark Pearson, WILLIAM & ALICE, in 1862 owned by William Whitaker and Caroline Bayes of Knottingley.

Posted by JRS on 27/12/2010

JULIA was built by Henry Scarr of Hessle for my great(x3)-grandfather, William Wilkin, around the 1860s and was broken up and burnt on Paull foreshore in about 1951.

Julia was a Paull shrimper, cutter rigged and half decked with ballast about five tons. Her main mast carried a mainsail, with a gaff and boom that could be reefed from three points and adjusted by a main sheet using a block and tackle with four falls. The fore sail was clipped to the forestay and had a running foresheet on the foredeck.

The bowsprit was secured between two bits on the foredeck. A hooked runner called a traveller was hauled out by a rope through a pulley on the end of the bowsprit, which secured the jib.

About six different sized jibs were carried and the jib sheets were operated from the hold or well. Spare sails were stowed in the forecastle. Two beam nets were carried; one for port and one for the starboard sides.

There was a copper on the forward starboard side. Different sized kits and riddles were kept below decks. Baling was enabled by a removable hatch in the middle of the shutterboards.

A half day's fishing involved bringing the boat from Hedon Haven, where she was moored and then anchoring off the Paull jetty until the tide was at the jetty end. Julia was then sailed about half a mile past the two lighthouses, where, sails lowered, the nets would be shot, turning the boat thwart across the tide. Both nets were put over the starboard side and the tide would take the boat down river. This was called "driving down." The copper was fired up to heat the water for boiling the shrimps. After about two hours, the nets wound be hauled and the anchor dropped. The catch was emptied into kits for sorting. The shrimps were cleaned and riddled, small ones being put back. The remainder were cooked by the time the tide had turned, when the anchor was weighed. With full sail, the nets were shot again, this time over the stern. One was boomed out to stop them fouling and the crew would trawl up in just enough water to keep afloat, sounding all the time after "flatties" or Dover sole.

From the late 1930s, John Todd remembers going shrimping as a boy with Bill Wilkin on Julia. At that time, there were only three other Paull boats left KITTEN (Bill Gorbutt), HENRY AND SOPHIA (Sam and Harold Pickering) and ENTERPRISE (Jim Cook - who had once tried to get a fleet of shrimpers together). Another shrimper that fished the Humber sailed out of Skitter Haven, owned by a man called Major.

Posted by Brenda on 16/01/2012

Thank you for this! Jim Cook was my grandfather and William Gorbutt my great-grandfather. I have a photo of the Shrimpers at Paull that can be seen at the Hull Town Docks museum.

Posted by Lynne on 28/07/2012

I grew up in the village of Paull and William Gorbutt was my great-grandad. I have just been looking up archive paper cuttings from the 1980s onward and have found some info on the fishermen of Paull. Would be happy to pass on to anybody who is interested in them.

Posted by Richard on 29/01/2011

I lived in Lincoln as a child, and saw many heavy, strong wooden barges passing along the Fosse canal to Lincoln, carrying wheat, cotton seed (to make Cattle Cake), and other bulk cargos. The barges were Humber Keels, mostly without their masts,-some had engines, some were pulled by a horse. The bargee and family lived aboard.

Posted by Nick on 13/03/2011

Can anybody help? I am looking for some boats my dad was on, the NORTHCLIFF /WAINCLIFF/SOUTHCLIFF/STAINCLIFF.

Posted by Chris on 22/05/2011

Nick, did your dad work for W. Bleasedale of Hull? If so you'll know most of the "Cliffes". Sadly only a handful are left now (as houseboat/pleasure craft rather than still commercially operating) to my knowledge.

The Southcliffe is privately owned but based at the Waterways Museum at Goole, still under full sail (hopefully as your father would remember it) and would gladly give you some more info if ever you're passing. The Shirecliffe's down in London, and the Beecliffe's on the continent as far as I'm aware too.

Posted by Dave on 10/12/2011

My grandfather Robert Housemam 1880-1955 of East Cottingwith owned a keel barge in which he fitted a Crossley diesel engine from an old Manchester bus that he also owned. It operated between York and Selby, it later sank at Barmby.

Posted by Mick on 24/03/2012

I own and am restoring the Humber Keel FLIP. I know she was built and owned by Hudson & Ward and ran from Hull to Goole carrying grain for many years. I will be repainting her this year and would like to know what colour scheme Hudson & Ward used so I can return Flip to them.

Posted by Pedro on 03/04/2012

I can't remember the colour of the barges but recall that the lorries were dark green with I believe gold lettering with "Hudson Ward & Co Ltd Millers, Goole"; and along the side "Manufacturers of Animal Feed". More recently they owned two fresh water tankers supplying the ships but can't remember the colour.

Posted by Roger on 24/04/2013

I am one of the great-great-grandsons of Charles Carr, the 19th Century Goole sailmaker. I believe that he made the sails for a boat called the GOLDEN WEDDING and possibly another called the GEORGE KILNER. I wonder if anyone has any information about him? Thanks.

Posted by Corby on 28/04/2013

Over the years I have taken a keen interest in the Howden shipbuilders Banks and Caisley. Over thirty vessels built by them. I have found little evidence exists as to who was employed as sailmaker, etc. until I spoke to Ron Gosney of Knottingley. He supplied me with many answers as to their stories and their fates. Ron mentioned Charles and Stephen Carr in his book "The Sailing Ships and Mariners of Knottingley."

Posted by Roger on 29/04/2013

Thanks for that information, I will follow it up. I was aware that Charles Carr's father was called Stephen and he too was a sailmaker. I believe that he was from Selby but at some point the family must have moved to Knottingley and that would fit as Charles Carr married a Sarah Raddings who was the daughter of a Captain Raddings from Knottingley.

As far as I am aware the Sarah Raddings who married Charles Carr came from Knottingley and the marriage was in the 1850s. However perhaps other descendants or relatives of Captain Raddings moved to Goole later in the 19th Century. Raddings is not a common name so they are probably connected and Goole is not far from Knottingley especially by water.

Posted by Chris on 05/05/2019

Roger, I am also researching the sail-making Carr family of Beverley Cottages, Goole. My great-grandmother is the youngest daughter of Charles Carr's eleven children and sister to Kate Carr, your great-grandmother. Charles Carr (my great-great-grandfather) is the son of Stephen Carr and Mary Penrose, sailmaker of Knottingley and Goole. Stephen Carr is the first son of Charles Carr, sailmaker of Goole and then from 1793/94 lock-keeper of Selby. Charles had four sons and nine daughters, the first child Mary was baptised in1782 and the records name Charles as a sailmaker. Stephen's brother Charles moved down the waterways to Crown Point, Leeds and was a rope and sailmaker on The Calls, Leeds on the1851 census.

I am also related to George Kilner, (namesake of the boat you mentioned) glass bottle maker, of Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury (Kilner Jars). George and Caleb Kilner had several boats registered at Goole. In 1883 the ketch SIR GARNET was fitted for sea by Mr Carr of Goole for George Kilner, Thornhill Lees. On the 1939 register, I found two of Kate Carr's brothers: James William Carr, Hull (retired sailmaker) and Charles Raddings Carr, Goole (ship chandler and sailmakers).

If anyone has any information on the sailmaking Carr Family or the Kilner family boats of Goole, I would be most grateful. Thanks.

Posted by Corby on 30/06/2013

Referring to the header of this page, which describes the Keel and Sloop. A small mention also about the 12 foot. Cob boat or Coggy boat. The boatbuilders, Smith Bros in Bridge Street churned out many of these craft. I started my apprenticeship in 1949 building them. Their bluff bow served as a safe target to jump on from the ship that was towing them

Not that many years prior to my time there, the 12 foot boat was sold for £1 per foot. £12. An enterprising Knottingley builder scooped them up and sold them for £24, simply changing the Smith Bros shiny brass name plate for their own. The current owner of Smith Bros Timber Pond Depot still has one of these name plates.

Posted by PMH on 18/02/2014

I am descended from the Wheldrakes who ran the sloops NITRO SULPHO and PHOSPHO. Has anyone any photos or information on them? Thanks.

Posted by Corby on 18/02/2014

I have a photo of one of these vessels, I was told it had Saltmarshe Hall as the backdrop. But I had recently seen the same photo where it stated the photo was taken on the Trent - You may already have it. I knew Doris Wheldrake and also her mother Amy nee Coggrave. This lady lived in a cottage quite close to the Jolly Sailor.

Posted by JC on 10/08/2017

The 1881 census records my ancestor William Wheldrake age 34 born at Kilpin Pike. He was master aboard the barge PRINCE ALBERT. The mate was George Coatsworth age 23 of ---ingbrough. Do you know anything about this? I have also seen a newspaper cutting which mentions the Nitro from the Goole Times 18 December 1896. Evidence of William Wheldrake, Herbert Wheldrake his son and Edward Robert Wheldrake, Mate. I don't think this is my family. Hope this is useful.

Posted by Corby on 10/08/2017

The grandson of Amy is a friend of mine. He once told me not to call these craft "barges"! I have a photo of one.

Posted by DM on 01/03/2018

My mum is a Wheldrake, her grandparents lived in Howdendyke, in the house mentioned. I can remember lots of pictures of sloops as a kid.

Posted by Corby on 19/09/2015

In 1949 I commenced my six year apprenticeship as boat builder at Smith Bros. Bridge Street on clinker built craft. Then at the Timber Pond on carvel craft. The open boats were 19/12ft Keel boats, 15ft. Jolly boats and 18ft ships lifeboats - all craft built using a half mould amidships.

I recall Eel boats being used on the river. These were ex-keel boats but with a forward stowage locker for the catch. Some of these craft returned with more valuable cargo!

The method of propulsion was by standing up and facing the way the craft was going using long oars with spade type handles. The oars would be crossed. So the right hand would apply pressure to the left blade and vice versa. I have tried to find if this method was unique to the area, without success.

I left Goole in 1956 and carried on working in my trade along the South coast from Littlehampton to Lymington until my retirement in 1999.

In 1967 I was working for one of the largest yacht builders in the South, Moody's of Swanwick. There were craft there that had been abandoned or forgotten. It was the policy of the yard if the craft had gone too far for resale to burn it and redeem some of the storage owed from scrap copper and bronze. I had recognised one of the craft as a Humber Yawl. After notifying a member of the family that it had value on Humberside as a restorable classic, this gentleman after looking into it had it restored and sailed it himself for many years.

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