By the start of the nineteenth century, Goole was nothing more than a collection of cottages at the entrance to the Dutch River (where the current Old Goole is situated). When the entrance of the Aire & Calder Canal was chosen to be at Goole instead of Selby or Airmyn, grand plans were made for the new town. The vision of how the town might have looked was too ambitious and only part of it was built with the official opening of the town.
Only Aire Street and some of the side streets off it remain of the original town. Aire Street was very wide and grand and had huge imposing buildings such as the Lowther Pub. The A&C buildings had distinctive round corners. The conditions of the buildings of the main street were quite poor with people living in cramped conditions and having to use unhygienic alleyways that were home to the rats.
In the early days, Bridge Street, along with Aire Street, was a thriving commercial area with shops and houses lining both sides of the road. There were many pubs serving the dockworkers and visiting sailors.
The town and docks quickly developed. The town was now reaching out beyond the Hull to Doncaster Railway and would soon start to spread down Murham Lane (now Boothferry Road) and Pasture Road. Originally, Boothferry Road contained the private houses of professional people who didn't want to live in the Company Town. By the end of the nineteenth century it was becoming the commercial centre.
The boom time for expanding the town came between 1890 and 1914 when many magnificent red brick buildings were built. Examples include St. John's Buildings (1890), Trinity Methodist Church (1890), Bank Chambers (now the council offices) (1892), the L&YR offices (1892), Times Buildings (1894), Boothferry Road School (1893), the new market hall (1896), the United Methodist Church (1898), Goole Steam Shipping Offices (1903), Carlisle Street Library (1905), Pasture Road Baths (1906), Goole Secondary School (later GGS) (1909), Bartholomew Hospital (1912) as well as two cinemas and lots of new houses to the west of the railway line.
Goole has a windmill in the Shuffleton area of town next to the river. The mill was owned by George Heron in 1870, although the sails were taken down in 1893 and the original mill rebuilt when he died in 1912. Every year the "Shuffleton Feast" took place on the river foreshore. This was a large festival, the highlight of which was climbing up a greased pole to try and win a large ham stuck at the top of it.
A syndicate consisting of John Bennett, Ralph Creyke, John Rocket and T. Carnochan bought an area of land in 1874 and built Edinburgh, Alexandra, Stanley and Estcourt streets soon afterwards. This part of town was known as "Bennett's Field."
Goole had three cinemas. The Cinema palace was built near the town centre before World War I and had a distinctive arch outside. There was also the "Cosy Carlton" further down Boothferry Road and the Tower Theatre became a cinema later on.
The "salt and pepper" water towers dominate the landscape for many miles around. An Act of Parliament in 1881 allowed Goole and the surrounding villages to have a piped water supply. To achieve this, the brick water tower was built and opened in July 1883. The new ferro-concrete tower was completed in 1926.
To celebrate the opening of the brick tower, which was one of the tallest brick buildings at the time, a row of houses, Tower View, were built on Boothferry Road where they lived up to their name. Every year, on the anniversary of the tower's opening, flags were flown from the top of the tower. When this coincided with Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887, it was decided to have a firework display from the top of the tower as well. This ended in tragedy when one of the organisers was blown from the top by an explosion and fell down the inside of the tower to his death.