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Two World Wars - and Goole Fights back

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

1914 brought World War I which in turn brought a period of recession for Goole. With continental markets made inaccessible, ships on war service, and the workforce decimated by the demand of the armed forces, trade fell away. By the end of the war it was estimated that trade had fallen by 80% - and the hard times were to continue for a few years more.

In 1919 strikes by railwaymen and miners, together with a ban on the export of coal, virtually paralysed port working. Post-war inflation and more national labour disputes all contributed to the depressed fortunes of Goole.

However, despite continued adverse conditions, trade slowly improved. In 1922 coal shipments were over two million tons. In 1923 trade exceeded 3,000,000 tons once more, with coal and coke shipments including bunkers totalling nearly 2,700,000 tons, and over 3,600 sea-going vessels visited the port.

Discharging bagged cargo from the USA. direct to road transport Under the 1921 Railway Act, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company had ceased to exist. Its interests at Goole, including the Goole Steam Shipping fleet of steamers, came under the control of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company.

It was about this time that the then new motorships began to be seen in the docks, although steamships were still plentiful up to the 1950's.

Just when it seemed that Goole was recovering from its setbacks, the troubles of the mid 1920's, culminating in the 1926 General Strike, hit the port and its fortunes were once again reversed. Ironically 1926 was the port's centenary year. Trade fell to below one and a half million tons and a sixth of this was imported coal and coke.

The late 1920's brought improvement and the Aire and Calder Navigation pressed on with plans for building Ocean Lock, and for further improvements in the River Ouse.

In 1930-32 the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company erected eight 3-ton travelling electric quay cranes at West Dock and also constructed the port's biggest transit shed, 500 feet in length. This is now Shed No.22.

In 1935 the Aire and Calder Navigation completed their improvement works in the Lower Ouse and in the same year the Goole Steam Shipping Company amalgamated with other Humber shipping services to become the Associated Humber Lines.

Ocean Lock was now under construction and was finally opened in 1938.

Having weathered the depression years, Goole was just beginning to enjoy improved trade when World War II broke out. Again trade vanished almost overnight and the river navigation lights were extinguished.

In 1941, only 328 sea-going vessels reached the port. Amongst them was the four masted barque 'Archibald Russell' 2,048 net register tons. She remained in Goole until the end of the war, used as a storeship for grain.

Visitor Comments

Posted by trev hardwick at 30/03/2011 21:18
hi interesting to see the mention of the archibald russell being in goole docks during ww2 my grandad benjiman abson was a mariner but he was ashore during ww2 and was the watchman on a / r

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