Goole on the Web
Incorporating the Hook & District Young Farmers Website

Enter a pioneer of progress

Taken from 150 Years of the Port of Goole, British Transport Docks Board, 1976...

In 1853 T. H. Bartholomew, the chief engineer for the Aire and Calder Navigation, died. He was succeeded by his son, W. H. Bartholomew. Incredibly, the young Bartholomew was then only twenty-two years of age! He was to have great influence and personal achievement in the development of the port of Goole and the Aire and Calder canal undertakings.

William Hammond Bartholomew The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company in the 1850's had made an attempt, based on the new Railway Dock, to develop a trade in coal. This was not particularly successful but nevertheless the young Bartholomew realised the potential danger to the Aire and Calder Canal undertaking and the ultimate loss of canal revenue which would he entailed if the Railway Company did eventually develop and monopolise the trade.

His stroke of genius was the invention of the unique compartment boat system. Bartholomew simply adapted the rail principle of an engine pulling a series of standard sized railway wagons to its water counterpart of a tug towing a series of standard sized boats. To load the contents of his compartment boats into ships, he invented a special type of hoist able to lift a loaded compartment boat bodily out of the water and then to tip the contents down a chute. The first hoist was working in Ouse Dock by the late 1860's and the system was eventually to develop into one employing five hoists and over 1,000 compartment boats with a fleet of tugs, conveying coal from the Yorkshire coalfields for shipment into seagoing vessels at Goole docks. A compartment tug with its tow of boats became known as a 'train'. At first Bartholomew employed the push-tug concept but later changed to conventional towing. His system was a notable success for an engineer still only in his thirties.

The introduction of his system brought hydraulic power to the port of Goole, and lockgates, bridges and cranes were also harnessed to this source of power.

Visitor Comments

Posted by steve hunt at 28/07/2015 15:35
I am interested in the "training" of Swinefleet bend. Was the original channel south of that which is seen today?

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