Monthly Archives: December 2016

27th Dec. 2016.

Two Christmas Day observations;

While walking the dog along Cliff Rd., S. Ferriby on this remarkably fine, mild morning in the hedge bottom was the young growth of cow parsley, white dead-nettle, cleaver and grasses, bright green and celebrating the fact that the winter solstice was past.

Late afternoon while walking dog beside the lakes off Far Ings Rd., Barton fell into conversation with another dog walker re the strange mellow half-light even though already 4-15pm. She hoped we would soon get more daylight, a comment that showed little faith in the natural forces that would ensure this outcome. As it was Christmas she was spared a lecture.

Boxing Day observation;

Last walk of the day with dog up to Sluice and, as on such cloud-free nights, as she sniffed around off the lead in the car park I looked up in this relatively low light-polluted spot. Visible some of the stars of this quiet corner on the fringe of our sun’s galaxy – and it is thought that there are a billion other galaxies. How insignificant Earth’s cultures, beliefs and politicking seem. Even if Trump’s American military forces thrash it out with the nuclear capability of North Korea or Iran and thereby destroy life on this planet, the same stars will be visible, the same far-off galaxies evolving, even the planets of our solar system in their orbits around the Sun, all will continue to follow the forces of the Universe unaffected by our madness.

24th Dec. 2016.

Last Wednesday, winter solstice, went to Scarborough for the day, travelling by train from Hull Paragon station. Parked in St Stephen’s so managed to catch the 8-15 am train, there by just after 9-30. Clear views from window so complimented the present project of walking the River Hull.

Once off the train seemed very cold at first but brisk walk to Peasholme Park and walked the full length up the valley to the cemetery at the top where is displayed info. boards with Great War persons there buried. Paths beside the stream that flows down to the lake with a pagoda on the central island. Dog had to be restrained from chasing squirrels. Tea and sandwich in North Bay café (nice 1950s feel) then walked round Clifton Hotel where the original booking for a three-night stay was made. Round North Bay and over the neck of the headland (castle), took in St. Mary’s but closed and down to Market Hall. Currently being refurbished but discovered under-croft with its nick-knack stalls. On to Rotunda geological museum which I found v. interesting, partic. the Star Carr display and the top floor highlighting William Smith (‘father of British geology’) and other notables of the Scarborough Lit. and Phil. of the 19th century.

Into ground-floor of the Grand Hotel (allow dogs), burger and chips and coffee and sat for a while (short spell of rain), then walk up to the Spa and just beyond and back along the beach of South Bay with dog having a fine time. Explored ground floor of the Royal Hotel (to which three night booking had been transferred), decorated like a mini Grand Hotel. Back to station via Newborough. Parking fee in St. Stephens for the day = £20!!


19th Dec. 2016.

Last Thursday walked the fifth section of my exploration of the River Hull from mouth to source. This time walked the west bank starting at Arram Beck east of Leconfield. The owner of the farm near the confluence of Arram Beck and the River Hull allowed me to park near his farm and was very interested in the project. Having crossed his farm bridge over Arram Beck I soon came across the brick culvert whereby the Beverley and Barmston Drain, dug in the late 1790s to drain the northern carr-lands of the Hull valley west of the River Hull, under-passed Arram Beck just before its mouth into the River Hull. Very interesting.

Walking north, for some way following the large meander with Pulfin Bog nature reserve on the far bank (s.p.n.),I continued to Wilfholme farm before turning back (linear walking). On the way passed Environment Agency work-people felling willow trees on the flood terrace between the River and the clay bank (?) and saw on the far bank a fine surviving Victorian farm building range (although now converted to modern residences) and farmhouse. Nearing Wilfholme Landing the clay bank footpath is blocked and, seemingly, used for private access by the owners of boats moored there. I then scaled a field gate and crossed a pasture field to Barmston Drain alongside which is a public right of way. However this right of way through Wilfholme farmyard is blocked and, I understand, has been the subject of much official dispute in the past. However the road leading to Wilfholme off the Beverley to Driffield road was visible across the farm premises and, as this is to be the start of my next section, I voiced no argument and turned back.

Another interesting section and again in very reasonable weather for the time of year.

Have read again, for the umpteenth time, June Sheppard’s The Draining of the Hull Valley which with the aid of the Explorer map and my walk coming to life.

19th Dec. 2016.

Just read book lent by Andrew Robinson and published by Hutton Press in 1985. I anticipated ‘Time’s Winged Chariot’ by T. Bernard Heald would be mostly ‘rosy glow’ recollections, which in places it is, but as it only covers the first 15 or so years of his life it is remarkably detailed and a useful source of evidence. His early childhood recollections are of living at South Ferriby sluice and of his father working on a dry dock (floating?) which existed at the mouth of East Drain in the early 20th century (plus photographic evidence). After the death of his father his widowed mother moved to a street off Holderness Rd., Hull, then on the edge of town. His schooling at Southcoates Lane school is remembered as well as having to leave at the age of 13 to supplement the family budget. His recollections of work as an errand-boy in town are most interesting as are his memories of working at Saltend in the early days of its development as a refinery and distribution centre.

Having been born in 1903 Mr. Heald just missed conscription by the D.O.R.A. legislation (see my pdf ‘Sidney Walter Clarke’ in the Publications section of this website) and his recollections end with the 11th November, 1918 celebrations in Hull.

13th Dec. 2016.

Interesting tv. programme recently fronted by Prof. Parker Pearson on early history of Stonehenge complex and the excavation of human remains related to they ‘Aubrey holes’. Modern techniques suggest that a number of these individuals were not local but came from far-flung parts of Britain. Maybe proof of nomadic lifestyles spanning large distances, like those of the Plains native Americans, but certainly re-enforcing the cultural centrality of the Salisbury Plain area. This possibly related to ‘ceremonial avenues’ connecting Durrington Wall and Stonehenge which seem to have been established on post glacial surface features which coincidentally aligned with a solstice and were thus given mystical status.

Also some interesting stuff in the series ‘Digging Britain’ fronted by the lovely Prof. Alice Roberts, although she sticks with the term the ‘Dark Ages’.

13th Dec. 2016.

Getting projects for 2017 in some order;

Illustrated talk to Immingham Local Hist. Soc. – The Humber Estuary – its landscape and navigation history – March 6th at Immingham church.

Day school, guiding walk around Brigg and Wrawby church, for Hull Georgian Soc. – 15th July.

Church studies day school for the Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Trust – Kirkburn, Bainton and Middleton on the Wolds churches, (date to be confirmed).

Illustrated talk to Barton Civic Soc. – The River Hull – its landscape history and importance – May (exact date to be confirmed).

Illustrated talk to an agricultural history society in Holderness – Coastal ‘hutment’ colonies, a case study of Aldbrough colony and others – 15th October, Ottringham Village hall.

History of Barton Public Buildings – ongoing research through and beyond 2017.

History of Hull’s Parks, cemeteries and open spaces – having been rejected as a Hull City of Culture project research will be ongoing.

History of ‘Suffolk Palace’, Hull (De la Pole mansion) – most of research done, needs to be brought together in an article.

History of land reclamation, flood defences and coastal erosion across the Humberside region (not necessarily the final title) – ongoing big project.

History of Barton Allotments – small project, keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile.

What’s in a name? – ongoing examples of the significance of place-name histories.