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The Goole Billy Boy

Taken from The Humber, A. Watts, 1980...

Working further afield than either the Keel or Sloop, the Billy Boy was a Ketch rigged trader with a hull similar to that of a Keel but having high bulwarks and, as a rule, no leeboards. The average dimensions of the type were in the order of 63' x 18' although some had a narrower beam, which, although allowing them to pass through locks on the canals, decreased their sea-keeping qualities.

A well steeved up bowsprit carrying a multiplicity of jibs was a feature of the rig; the masts were both stepped in tabernacles for lowering when the vessels had to go 'above bridge'.

Decoration at bow and stern was common, particularly ship-carpenters carving on the trail boards and around the hawse holes; the gunwale capping was generally painted white, bulwarks black, top strake lined white and brown and hull black. The type rejoiced in distinctive names - 'Joshua', 'Try-on', 'Abeona', 'Bernard', 'Fern', 'Aimwell', 'Eliezer', 'Bottle Imp', 'Tiger', 'Surprise', 'Village Flower' and 'Sandringham' being recorded.

The Goole Billy Boy

Visitor Comments

Posted by Keith John Seaton at 13/01/2006 08:51
My Great & Great Great Grandfather's were Master Mariners. Matthew Southwell Vine & John Henry Vine.Their ship was a Humber Keel, Billy Boy rigged, named "Breeze" and registered at Boston. In the 1861 census her position at midnight on April 7 was in the port of Caen, France. Matthew Vine, 43, Master, John Endesby, 53, Mate, Robert Geant, 24, Seaman, & John Vine, 16, Boy, from Spalding, Lincolnshire. This is some proof that they were capable of more than just coastal voyages.
Posted by Keith John Seaton at 31/03/2006 16:30
Further to my last post. I have now found my Great Great Uncle Joseph Vine, Master of the Leo XIII in Southampton age 56 in 1881 census with a Mate William Hesory age 52 from Alford, Lincs. a Seaman Fredrick Surff age 40 from Colchester, Essex, and another Seaman George Gosling age 27 from Gosport, Hampshire.
Posted by harry Wells at 29/07/2006 20:58
I am looking for detailed plans for building a model of the Aimwell or similar or a Humber keel boat. Do you have any connections, please?
Posted by MARGARET GILL at 22/03/2007 13:08
My great-great grandfather Mark Campbell a master mariner of Brotherton, was the master of the Village Flower in the 1881 census. Mark, and two crew members, his son Mark (mate and bargeman) and Thomas Wilson, a seaman of Leeds were on board together with Mark's wife Mary (nee Sykes) and four of their other children. I have just been advised of this reference and am absolutely delighted to find it as I have been searching for the type of vessel for ages. In the 1861 census for Howden, Mark was master of the Alice coasting off Goole. He had two mates and his wife Mary and two children from his first marriage on board. Does anyone have any information about this vessel. I would love to obtain photos if possible.
Posted by John Mitchell at 17/05/2008 21:34
Does anyone have any information about a billy boy that was used as a tanker by the alum works in Goole 1800s. The works were owned by Peter Spence, any information about the boat or the works would help with my research.
Posted by Wilf Brown at 17/05/2008 23:18
Re Alum Works. If you click on villages and then on Hook there is a mention of the Alum Works on 25/09/2007 etc. I have no other information to what I wrote on the 12/11/2007. Regards Wilf.
Posted by malcolm Hall at 19/05/2009 21:56
Following geneolgy study I ahve discovered that my Great grandfather was the master of the Village flower 1891 census in Goole. Also I have traced him to other barges, Anne of goole, Lark,and Eva. I would love to find a picture of any of these vessels. His brothers George and Samauel where also barge master as there father before them. As the whole familly (originally from Knottingley) where barge and later deep se men any info or refernce site would be welcome
Posted by Ann Ringrose at 21/08/2010 18:19
My husband's gg grandfather John Fisher Enderby was mate on the Breeze in 1861.He moved to Boston in about 1867 why would he have done That?
Posted by david owen at 11/01/2016 10:34
my great grandfather .james drackford born
london 1839 .got his mates home trade ticket
for passenger ships in 1871 .moved to goole
somtime in the 1870s worked for goole steam
shipping.lost with 8 other men when the ralph
creyke sank of lundy island in 1879.the ship
nearly brand new .there bodies never recovered
the captain and 5 other crew members rescued
by a french ship after they took to life boats

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