Sole surviving coal boat hoist gets facelift

Last remaining compartment boat hoist, GooleGoole Civic Society logo

The iconic monument to engineering ingenuity used in Goole Civic Society's logo is getting a much-needed facelift thanks to Historic England and Associated British Ports.

The 2*-listed No. 5 Compartment Boat Hoist is the last remaining hoist of its type in the world. It was part of an innovative system unique to the port town of Goole used to transport coal from the Yorkshire mines and load them on to ships at Goole Docks for export.

The No. 5 was built in 1912 and was restored by a charitable group in the 1990s. The latest repairs will be funded by a grant of £105,500 from Historic England and match-funding by owner Associated British Ports.

Compartment boats, nicknamed Tom Puddings, were loaded with coal and linked into "trains". A tug pulled them along the Aire and Calder Navigation, sometimes as many as 40 at a time. At the docks, each Tom Pudding was lifted by the hoist and its contents tipped into the hold of a waiting ship.

The system was introduced during the 1860s by William Hamond Bartholomew, chief engineer of the Aire and Calder Navigation Company. The origin of the name is unclear but a popular theory is that they were nicknamed ‘Tom’s Puddings’ after William’s fatherThomas Hamond Bartholomew, who preceded him as the Aire and Calder’s chief engineer, and their resemblance topudding tins. They operated until the demise of the coalfields in 1986.

The overhaul will include replacing rotting timber and repairing and painting the structure and the tipping ram housing - the green box-like structure that gives the hoist its iconic shape. Other work will be done on repairing and repainting the whole of the steel structure, replacing guttering and downpipes, repairing walkways and access ladders, removing vegetation and making the structure more accessible for maintenance in the future. The whole project is expected to be completed in 2019.

A spokesperson for Historic England said: "We are pleased to be able to make this grant to ABP, who are progressing well with their work to safeguard this unusual structure that tells the story of coal mining, canal and maritime heritage together."

The Chair of Goole Civic Society, Margaret Hicks-Clarke, said: "It is great news that one of our town's landmarks will continue to have its place on our skyline for many years to come. We chose the hoist as the image for our logo because it is unique to Goole and tells the story of our fascinating town."