About Goole

About Goole

History of Goole

Goole is a small inland port town with a population of approximately 19,000, located at the Gateway to the East Riding of Yorkshire .The town is surrounded by a sea of beautiful countryside, approximately 45 miles from the North Sea at a confluence of the rivers Don and Ouse in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

In AD 865 the Vikings took over the city of York (Jorvik) and used the River Ouse as easy access to transfer their army across England. In the late ninth century, the River Ouse was used entirely by the Vikings as it was in the Danelaw (the northern half of England) and provided easy access to the North Sea coast during The Viking Age. This allowed York (Jorvik) to export its own timber and import more exotic items from Northern Europe and beyond. In Addition to this, it also gave the Vikings easy access to their home Scandinavia. Even today, the town of Goole still acknowledges the historical presence of The Vikings through recognition of the local public house, now known as The Hungry Horse.

The Town of Goole did not formally exist until the early 1800s, with previous settlements in the surrounding farming villages of Hook, Airmyn and a few houses where Old Goole is now situated.

The word Goole is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘open sewer’, or ‘outlet to a river’. Goole was first founded when King Charles I granted a charter to the Dutch Engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to divert the River Don by 10 miles making it flow into the River Ouse rather than the River Aire. This made way for arable development meaning the land around Goole became more suitable to live in. 

In 1823, the Aire and Calder Navigation Company built a canal from Leeds to Goole. This was the start of Goole as we know it, and a large town built up exporting coal from the West Riding of Yorkshire to the Continent. A port charter was granted in 1826 leading into the first street (suitably called Adam street) being laid near to where the leisure centre now stands. For more than 150 years the port was a hub for the export of coal arriving from the Yorkshire coalfields. Engineers developed a system of transporting coal using compartment boats, nicknamed Tom Puddings, which were linked together in long ‘trains’ and pulled along the canal by a tug. At the docks, hydraulic compartment boat hoists lifted the Tom Puddings and tipped their contents into the holds of waiting ships. Only one of the original five compartment boat hoists survives and is now a Grade 2* listed building. The docks remain Goole’s most prominent industry, handling approximately 2 million tonnes of cargo annually.

The first hotel (and building) in Goole was built in 1824 by Sir Edward Banks (who is most well-known for building two bridges over the Thames). In 1828, the building was bought by Aire and Calder Navigation Company who built Goole’s dock and canal in 1826, allowing Goole to become a part of a new community with a capacity of approximately 426 people. The hotel was first named “The Banks Arms” until 1835 where Sir Edward Banks decided to rename it after the first chairman of Goole, Sir John Lowther. It has been known as the Lowther hotel ever since. In 2008 the hotel received a full renovation and reopened in 2010 with many of its original features either restored or replaced.

The hotel was one of a number of buildings damaged when Goole docks was bombed by a Zeppelin during the First World War, resulting in the deaths of 26 people. In recognition of this, Goole Town Council commissioned a memorial, which is situated in Hook Road Cemetery. 

Goole’s most prominent landmarks are its twin water towers, known locally as the “salt and pepper pots” and the town’s central clock tower, which was built to commemorate it’s centenary in 1926.

Goole remains a thriving port town, with a wide range of industry, shopping, sports and leisure opportunities. For full details of current opportunities within the town, please visit the links below: