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Although Goole has a relatively short history span, much has been written about the life and times of this town. Indeed one could devote a whole website to the subject. Here is a brief history with a list of 'further reading' for anyone who would like to delve deeper.

Goole has been referred to as a 'Port in Green Fields' because of it's location so far inland from the sea. Also often referred to as 'Sleepy Hollow', because many believe nothing much happens here, Goole is a small but busy working port on the river Ouse in Yorkshire, with links to much of the world. If it wasn't for the port being developed, there would be no Goole as we know it today. It is said to be the most inland port in Britain.

Goole was but a small village until the construction of the 'Dutch River' in the early 1600's so called because  the man who built it was Dutchman Cornelius Vermuyden. The formal name today is the river Don. It was around its confluence with the river Ouse that the town of Goole began to grow.

 The original development  grew up on the eastern side of a wooden bridge which crossed the Dutch river and was known as 'Goole Bridge'. 

The Old Iron Dutch river bridge 

This area is now known locally  as Old Goole and the bridge is now known as the Dutch River bridge, rebuilt in iron in the 1890's, and then again in the early 2000's in steel. New Goole or Goole as it is now known was to rise on the other side of the river with the construction of the port by the 'Aire and Calder Navigation Company' in the 1820's. This was the start of the rapid development of the port.

Many different cargos were imported and exported through the port but one of the most important was coal. Mined from the once vast coalfields in Yorkshire, the coal was transported to Goole through the canal network on small linked barges called 'Tom Puddings'. A coal hoist was then used to offload the coal by lifting the whole 'Tom Pudding and emptying it into the hold of a waiting ship. Today the main cargos passing through the port are wood and imported cars. The port handles much container traffic both import and export.

 The first building in Goole is reputed to be the Lowther Hotel built in 1824 on Aire Street and  which still stands today. Originally called the Banks Arms Hotel, named after Sir Edward Banks a contractor for the Aire and Calder Navigation company. Another public house on Aire street, The Macintosh,  took its name after Hugh Macintosh, also an engineer of the time.


Many other buildings were constructed in the years that followed including the first post office in Adam street 1831, the Parish church 1843 and the original railway station in Aire street in 1848. The existing railway station was built in the late 1860's, and modernised in the early 2000's, Until this time the town was focused around Aire Street and the docks. With the building of the new railway station came new development. Boothferry road became more established and many houses were built along and off Pasture road.

 In 1909 Goole Grammar school was built. Nearby in 1912 Bartholomew Hospital was constructed taking its name from the engineer Charles Bartholomew.

Goole High School
Goole High School (Academy) - Boothferry Road side

Further reading  and source material

The Aire and Calder Navigation by l. Smith

The Company Town of Goole by J.D. Porteous

The Garside Collection, Various works by H. Garside

Early History of Goole by J. Gardiner

Goole, a Pictorial History volumes 1,2 and 3 by Susan Butler, B.A.

Glimpses of Goole by Earnest Ferriman and Tim Leach

Growing up in Goole volumes 1 and 2 by Mike Marsh

Port in a Green Field by Joyce Mankowska

 Goole Library  has an excellent local history section in which most of these books can be found, and contains a wealth of information on the town. A museum about Goole also resides there.


Boothferry Family and Local History Group have a wealth of information about the history of  Goole and the surrounding area.
Find out more about them here.

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