Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Ferry across the Humber.

The Humber Bridge, seen from the south bank of the River Humber in Lincolnshire.
The Humber Bridge was built to allow road traffic to cross the River Humber from Barton on Humber in Lincolnshire to Hessle on the north bank which was adjacent to the City of Hull.  Prior to this traffic had to drive the long way around to Boothferry Bridge at Goole where it crossed the River Ouse and then drive along the north bank of the River Humber to get back to Hull.
The Humber Bridge was opened on the 24th of June, 1981.
Before the bridge there was another, more leisurely way to cross the Humber to Hull and that was via the ferry boat service which operated from New Holland on the south bank and operated frequent services taking passengers and cars directly to the City of Kingston Upon Hull.  That's it's full name but most people refer to it simply as Hull, which is a great shame I feel.
As a child in the early 50's I remember accompanying my grand parents to the annual open days at the Sailors Orphan Home at Newlands, Hull and we went on one of the ferries.  A great day out for a small boy.  Both my grandparents where raised for a while at the Sailors Orphanage when they were children.    There were two boats used for the crossing so they operated a two way service.  These were the Lincoln Castle and the Tattershall Castle, both steam powered side paddle steamers.  They had flat hulls to cope

with low tides and sandbanks. Occasionally a low tide could mean one of them becoming stranded on a sandbank, it would have to "sit it out" on the sand bank until the tide turned and floated the vessel off again.
I took this photo of Lincoln Castle some time in the 1960's.

The highlight of the trip was when my Granddad took me below decks to the engine viewing area and, through a large glass screen you could watch the huge pistons of the steam engine turning the external paddle wheels that drove the boat.  
When we got to Hull we would go to the open day at the orphanage which, if I'm honest was a bit boring for me!  On the way back to the ferry terminal we would pass a large statue known locally as "King Billy's Statue".  It was in fact a statue of King William 111 sat astride a horse and was more than life size and atop a large plinth.  My granddad told me that after dark King Billy would get down from his horse to stretch his legs a bit!  I'm sure he was only kidding me, ......wasn't he?
When the Humber Bridge opened in 1981 it was the end for the daily ferry service and the boats were sent elsewhere.  Tattershal Castle is now moored on the Thames Embankment in London, being used as a floating pub and restaurant.
Tattershall castle berthed on the Embankment
on the River Thames.  Picture courtesy of
Lincoln Castle was not so fortunate.  After a spell as a floating pub at Hessle, adjacent to Hull, it was moored at the National Fishing Heritage Museum in Alexandra Dock, Grimsby.  Here it was used for some years as a floating restaurant.  However, seemingly without much publicity, it was demolished and systematically scrapped whilst still in the water in September 2010.
Lincoln Castle when she was berthed in the
Alexandra Dock, Grimsby.  before she was
scrapped!  Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.
The ferry crossing was from New Holland on the south bank of the River Humber from a purpose built jetty.  Trains would bring passengers right out onto the jetty, which stretched quite a way into the river to get the required depth.  They could alight from the train and get straight onto the ferry.  Cars could drive down the jetty to be lifted onto the open boats' deck area by crane!
On the other side the ferries berthed at the larger ferry terminal at Hull where they disembarked.
I took this photo on the south bank of the River Humber, from Barton on Humber, in
February 2013.  The large jetty that can be seen in the distance is that of the New Holland
Bulk Terminal Company.  Before this though it was the south bank terminal for the "Castles"
ferry service.  You can still see the jetty continuing to the left out into the deeper water and
which trains ran along!
Historically there was another ferry service across the River Humber operating from Barrow Haven on the south bank to Hull.  When the train service came to the area in 1848 people preferred to take the easier option of direct access from carriage to boat offered at New Holland and the service at Barrow Haven closed.
This is Barrow Haven, the south point of a much earlier ferry service across the River
Humber to Hull.  On the far bank you can see the modern day City of Hull.
Wikipedia describes Barrow Haven as "a Hamlet and small port" and this is just what
it is today.  I took this photo in November 2013.
I have fond memories of the Humber Paddle Steamers, they were from a more relaxed time when getting from A to B in the quickest possible time was not as important as it is today.

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