‘On the 6th of April, 1828, the business of the port commenced, the brig ‘Stapler’ of London, of 164 tons register, Capt. Robert Chambers, being the first vessel which loaded outwards for Hamburgh. Although so far inland, vessels drawing from fifteen to nearly seventeen feet of water have since that time been brought up to Goole by the agency of steam tugs from Hull.’
‘The Entrance Harbour is chiefly appropriated to the use of Steam Packets, and for the passage of vessels between the canal or docks and the river. The Ship Dock will hold from fifty to sixty sail of square rigged vessels, of which number seventeen can load or unload at the quays at the same time. The Barge Dock, which terminates the canal, is calculated to accommodate about two hundred sail of small craft, which are employed in the coasting or inland trade of the district. On the north side of this dock, and near its western extremity on of Morton’s Patent Slips has been put down, upon which vessels measuring from three to four hundred tons register may be hauled and repaired.’
‘The ‘City of Glasgow’ a powerful and elegant steam-packet, of 100 hp, leaves Goole for London, with goods and passengers, every Monday, and London for Goole every Thursday, as the tide may suit. The ‘Kingston’ steam-packet plies weekly between Goole and Newcastle, calling at Hull on her passage each way. The ‘Albatross’ steam-packet calls at Goole each week, to and from Selby and Yarmouth. The ‘Eagle’ and ‘Lion’ steam-packets pass daily between Goole and Hull, and visa versa, with goods and passengers, leaving the former place at 10 a.m. and the latter to suit the tide. The ‘Eclipse’, a steam-packet upon a new construction and light draught of water, plies from and to Hull daily, with passengers only, leaving the former place at from 8 to 10 a.m. as the tide may permit, and the latter place on arrival of the passengers from the interior. The ‘Calder’ and ‘Echo’ steam-packets are employed in the daily conveyance of goods to and from Goole and Hull. The ‘Britannia’ and ‘Lady Dundas’ are solely employed as Steam-tugs.'
'The conveyance of passengers from and to the interior, is effected by small steam-packets, of 10 h.p. each, which pass up and down the Canal and river Aire as far as Castleford daily, where they are met by coaches from Leeds, Wakefield, etc. There are regular contract sailing vessels, from Stanton’s, Gun & Shot, and Wheatsheaf Wharfs, in London, every week to Goole. The Aire and Calder Company’s fly-boats, which are propelled chiefly by small steam-tugs, are employed in the conveyance of goods to and from Leeds. They leave the latter place every evening, and arrive at Goole every morning early, so that it is by no means an uncommon occurrence for goods to be in the merchant’s warehouse in Leeds and a long way on their passage to Hamburgh within the short space of 24 hours. J. Buckley, Kershaw & Co. have fly-boats daily, to and from Wakefield, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Saddleworth, Stayley-Bridge, Ashton-under-Line, Stockport, Manchester and Liverpool. John Thompson & Co. have flyboats to and from Wakefield, Rochdale, Manchester, Etc and forward goods to Hull and London. I. and L. Marsden have fly-boats daily to and from Leeds, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Huddersfield, and Manchester. Barnby, Faulkner & Co. have fly-boats to and from Wakefield, Rochdale, Manchester, Etc. And to complete the list, we observe with pleasure, that a company is now being formed for the purpose of carrying on a trade by steam-vessels with Goole, York and Gainsborough, to which we heartily wish success.' - this was written about Goole in 1835.
Yorkshire Film archive
This is a film made by Goole and District Junior Chambers of Commerce in 1964 to promote Goole as a port for industry. It features the docks as well as Goole town life.
Click Here to go to film - click back arrow to return.
These can be anything from a simple rowing boat to a flat bottomed type of punt capable of transporting carriages or in more recent times cars.
Picture shows ferry crossing point at Whitgift
At Whitgift in late 1614 Sir John Sheffield, Sir Edmund Sheffield and Mr Philip Sheffield sons of Lord Sheffield whilst crossing the Ouse were drowned with all their servants and none of the bodies were ever found.
Charles I passed over this ferry on two trips to York.
Nottingham on his way to Goole also crossed here.
25th November 1857 - At about seven o'clock on Friday night, four persons lost their lives in a fatal accident on the river Ouse by colliding with the Steam Packet 'Empress' plying betweeThorne and Hull daily. The steamer left Hull about 5pm with about 50 passengers and on approaching Whitgift ferry observed the ferryboat and a warning was shouted before the ferry was hit amidships and the six persons thrown into the river. Mr. Sneesby, Sheffield, Mr. Fewsdale of Sheffield and his cousin and the ferryman William Phillipson drowned. The master of the ferry, Taylor, was rescued by the steamer another man, a rat catcher escaped by swimming ashore. A verdict of accidental drowning from the carelessness of the ferrymen.
Swinefleet - In 1735 "The ferry boat at Swinefleet was overset with 15 persons on it, 14 of whom miserably perished in ye river."
Hook to Howdendyke
The picture above shows the location of the old ferry at Howdendendyke.
Howden Dyke hamlet consisted of a good inn, a wharf, and some cottages. Here, as we have observed, is a ferry across the Ouse.
1377 - Mention of a Ferryman in Poll Tax.
In the 16th century the Bishop of Durham was leasing the Howdendyke fishing and ferry rights.
In 1574 Peter Holme replaced Cuthbert Cowterd as lessee..
Mid 18th century Robert Claybourne was farm and ferry lessee.
1811 - Charles Singleton - ferryman.
1822 - Richard Eccles and John Savage both ferrymen at Howdendyke.
1841 - Census - William Taylor, ferryman.
1871 - Census - Eccles, and John Blanchard ferrymen.
1881/91 - Census - John Ringrose, Ferryman.
1891 - Census - George Beaumont, Ferryman.
1901 - Census - Thomas Robinson, Ferryman.
For shipbuilders of Howdendyke look at tab Innovators/Shipbuilders
Booth to Goole
The picture on the right shows the ferry at Booth Ferry.
Booth is a small hamlet which gives the name to the ferry across the Ouse. The ferry belongs to the Bishop of Ripon, but has long been leased to the Earl of Beverley, whose ancestor, a Duke of Northumberland, obtained a lease of it more than a century ago, when the large house, long called ‘Booth Ferry Inn’ and now ‘Booth Ferry House’, was built on the opposite side of the river. This well-known ‘hostel’ which was for many years conducted by the late Mr. William Wells, ceased to be an inn in 1848, and it is the residence of Mr. John Wells.
May 1910 – ‘Alderman Barker at the West Riding County Council on Wednesday moved that the Council provide £15,000, being one third of the estimated cost of erecting a bridge over the River Ouse at Booth Ferry, subject to like amounts being contributed by the East Riding County Council and the Goole Urban council, the working expenses and general upkeep of the bridge when completed to be borne by the three authorities in like proportions. Alderman Barker said the new bridge was an absolute necessity. At the present time the communication between the East and West Ridings at this point was a most primitive business – a small ferry. He remembered when he was a small boy eight years old crossing in that same ferry and being carried down river to Goole because of a storm. The minimum cost of the bridge was over £40,000 and it was intended to erect one of the bascule type. The resolution was seconded and agreed to.’
May 1914 – ‘In place of the old rowing ferry boat at Boothferry, near Goole, on the River Ouse, the owner of the ferry (Earl Percy) has provided a motor ferry boat. This boat, which arrived last night, has been built by Mr. Oliver Thompson, shipbuilder, of Knottingley, and the dimensions are: length 37ft, beam 17ft 6in. It is supplied with a 22 h.p. Gleniffe motor, coupled with reverse gears, and there is sufficient accommodation to convey 150 passengers if necessary and to carry a weight of eight tons. The boat, of which the motive power is petrol, was to commence running today.’
The Ferry ended in 1929 with the building of Boothferry Bridge.
Saltmarsh to Reedness
1851 Census - Ferryman Richard Harrison aged 20 originally from Derby
Saltmarsh village, which was much inproved by the late Mr. Saltmarshe, is very pleasantly situated, about 4 miles S.E. of Howden, and opposite Reedness on the other side of the Ouse, to which there is a ferry at this place.
The village is situated on the northern bank of the Ouse, near its confluence with the Trent, and 8 miles E.S.E. of Howden. The river is very broad in this part, and leaves at low water an expansive bed of sand. Here is a staith and ferry, and the steam packets from York, Selby and Hull, passed daily.
Barmby to Long Drax
1841 Census - John Carlton, Ferryman
1851/61 Census - Robert Binnington, Ferryman
My Mother's family are the Spetch family of Long Drax. 60 years ago the Spetch family operated the ferry across the Ouse (but only at 'slack water'). So the ferry must have existed until around the 1950's. The 'landing' was near the 'Ship Inn' Long Drax. There was no lock on the Derwent, it was tidal, until Drax Power Station was built, and the confluence was moved closer to Barmby by roughly a quarter of a mile when the lock was put in. - J. Lovett
Selby to Barlby
The picture above shows the modern Selby 'Toll' Bridge on the Ouse.
The opening of the canal to Selby led to the erection of a wooden bridge over the Ouse in 1791/2 to replace the ferry. (A survey of traffic using the ferry before the bridge was built showed for one month 8743 people, 3052 persons with horses, 127 oxen, 66 hogs, 2248 sheep, 24 chaises, and 19 waggons/carts.) The tolls for pedestrians to cross the bridge was 1/2d for the day for locals and 1/2d for each crossing to other persons.
Cawood Bridge in the floods from Ferry Inn - the sight of the Cawood Ferry.
To York, Thomas Bolton's Boat (for passengers and goods), from the Ferry house, every Friday, the time being regulated by the tide. Pigot's Directory 1834.
Steam Packet to Hull, daily. White's Directory 1837.
The fictional story of Dick Turpin on his ride to York and crossing the Cawood Ferry, from ‘Rockwood’ by W.H. Ainsworth.
The sun had just o’ertopped the “high eastern hill, ” as Turpin reached the Ferry of Cawood, and his beams were reflected upon the deep, and sluggish waters of the Ouse. Wearily had he dragged his course thither werily and slow. The power of his gallant steed were spent, and he could scarcely keep her from sinking. It was now midway ‘twixt the hours of five and six. Nine miles only lay before him and that thought again revived him. He reached the water’s edge, and hailed the ferry-boat, which was then on the other side of the river. At that instant a loud shout smote his ear; it was the halloo of his pursuers. Despair was in his look. He shouted to the boatman, and bade him pull fast. The man obeyed: but he had to breast a strong stream, and had a lazy bark, and heavy sculls to contend with. He had scarcely left the shore, when another shout was raised from the pursuers. The tramp of their steeds gre louder and louder.
The boat had scarcely reached the middle of the stream. His captors were at hand. Quietly did he walk down the bank, and as cautiously enter the water. There was a plunge, and steed and rider were swimming down the river.
Major Mowbray was at the brink of the stream. He hesitated an instant, and stemmed the tide. Seized, as it were, by a mania for equestrian distinction, Mr. Coates braved the torrent. Not so Paterson. He very coolly took out his bull-dogs, and, watching Turpin, cast up in his own mind the pros and cons of shooting him as he was crossing. “I could certainly hit him”, thought, or said, the constable; “but what of that? A dead highwayman is worth nothing alive he weighs £300. I wo’n’t shoot him, but I’ll make a pretence.” And he fired accordingly. The shot skimmed over the water, but did not, as it was intended, do much mischief. It, however, occasioned a mishap, which had nearly proved fatal to our aquatic attorney. Alarmed at the report of the pistol, in the nervous agitation of the moment, Coates drew in his rein so tightly that his steed instantly sank. A moment or two afterwards he rose, shaking his ears, and floundering heavily towards the shore; and such was the chilling effect of this sudden immersion, that Mr. Coates now thought much more of saving himself, than of capturing Turpin. Dick, meanwhile, had reached the opposite bank, and refreshed by her bath, Bess scramble up the sides of the stream, and speedily regained the road.
“ I shall do it yet”, shouted Dick “that stream has saved her. Hark away lass! Hark away!”.
Advertisement from 'The Yorkshire Observer'
1851, George Robinson, King's Street, Waterman.
Thomas Pool, King's Street, Waterman.
John Pepper, King's Street, Waterside Porter.
1861, 'Mary Elizabeth berthed Cawood, Jerimiah Firth, Master, Henry Thomlinson, Mate.
1871, Richard Lidde, King's Street, Farmer and Keel Hauler.
Thomas Lidde, King's Street, Waterman.
William Lidde, King's Street, Waterman.
York on the River Ouse - Picture Link
John Leeman in 1851 was described as a Waterman, then in 1861 his ocupation was Ferry Boat Man. After 1861 the Lendal Bridge replaced this earlier ferry service, which had operated from Barker Tower, on the south-west bank, to Lendal Tower. The new bridge put the John Leeman out of business. Records show that he received compensation of 15 pounds and a horse and cart.
Lendal Ferry - Picture Link
March 1854 – ‘At the Lobster house petty Sessions, on Monday last before George Lloyd, Esq. And Jno. Agar, Esq. A waterman named John Benson, residing in York, appeared in answer to an information laid against him by D. Russell, Esq. At the instance of the Hon. Payan Dawnay, of Beningbrough, charging him with having, on the 4th ult. At the Parish of Overton, near Poppleton Ferry, taken away a quantity of sand from the river Ouse, and causing the banks to crack and fall in. The defendant was found guilty and fined £2, and costs £1 18s.’
January 1856 – ‘William Todd, of Skeldergate, the ‘captain’ of a sandboat belonging to Mrs. Exley, of North Street, was charged with having, on the 10th of November 1855, wilfully damaged the banks of the river Ouse, the property of the Hon. Payan Dawnay, of Beningbrough Hall. George Warriner, who is in the employment of Mr. Dawnay, stated that he saw a sand boat moored at Poppleton ferry, on the above day, to a bar of iron thrust into the bank, which had occasioned a crack in the earth. The sand men told him that the defendant was the ‘captain’ of the boat but the latter refused to give his name. Christopher Lupton, the ferryman, also spoke to seeing the bar of iron in the bank; and Mr. Unthank, Mr. Dawnay’s engineer, stated that no one had any right to insert anything in the banks. Mr. Dawnay estimated the damage already sustained at £1. The defendant was fined 10s and 13s costs, and allowed time to pay the amount.’
Five miles below Selby the River Derwent joins the Ouse. 'The Derwent rises in the eastern moorlands of the North Riding about four miles from the sea, and eight or nine miles from Scarborough. After passing by the exquisitely beautiful village of Hackness and the picturesque valley to Ayton, it runs in a line parallel to the coast until it comes to the foot of the Wolds. Its direction is then west and afterwards south-west. Having received the Rye from Hemsley, it passes by the town of Malton, where it becomes navigable for vessels of twenty-five tons burden. It then forms the boundary between the North and East Ridings from its junction with the river Hertford until it approaches Stamford-Bridge , where it runs until it falls into the Ouse near the village of Barmby, about four miles above Howden.
Picture on the right shows the River Derwent from Barmby on the Marsh.
Barmby on the Marsh - Edward Baines 1823. Two Packets to Selby, every Mon at 7mg. for goods and passengers.
Barmby to Hemingbrough
Loftsome Bridge - A ferry was mentioned in 1339 and was used until replaced by a wooden bridge in 1804.
Menthorpe to Breighton
Bubwith - There has been a ferry across the Derwent at Bubwith since about 1200 when the records show William Constable gave Philip de la Hay his share of the ferry. A bridge to replace the ferry was fist built in 1798 thus retiring the ferryman Mr. Middleton.
West Cottingwith to East Cottingwith
West Cottingwith adjoins Thorganby on the north, and forms, with that place, a long straggling village on the banks of the Derwent. Here is a ferry across the river.
Act of Parliament passed for construction of a canal in 1814. It had nine locks for its nine miles in length.
For further information visit http://www.pocklingtonhistory.com/archives/transport/canal/pocklingtoncanal/index.php
Further reading 'Navigation on the Yorkshire Derwent' by Pat Jones - Oakwood Press.
The River Don rises in the Pennines and flows for 70 miles eastwards, through the Don Valley, via Penistone, Sheffield, Rotherham, Mexborough, Conisbrough, Doncaster and Stainforth. Before Hatfield Chase was drained by Vermuyden in the 17th century the River Don had no direct connection to the River Ouse. One branch of the Don flowed to the River Aire and one to the River Trent which was removed causing all water from the Don to run into the River Aire. This caused serious flooding and the locals rioted and Vermuyden was forced to create the Dutch River which gave an outlet from the River Don to the River Ouse.
Picture on right shows the River Don as it joins the Dutch River at New Inn
"In 1793, an act was passed to make a navigable canal from Stainforth to Keadby, with one collateral cut from the same at Thorne Common, to communicate with with the River Don at Hangman Hill. The canal was completed and opened about the year 1797, but the collateral cut was never completed.
"On the bank of the River Don, at Thorne Quay, is a ship builders yard, at which vessels of considerable burthen are sometimes launched. Several large steam packets have also been constructed here; they are generally considered good sea vessels, and have great speed; a dry dock is attached to the yard.
They are also, by the side of the canal, three other yards, at which vessels of 40, 50 and 60 burthen are built; each of these yards is furnished with a capstan and slip, by means of which vessels can be drawn up out of the water to be repaired."
History of Thorne
“In the commencement of the century, the shipyard at Thorne Quay was doing a large business, and was then occupied by an enterprising gentleman, of the name of Steemson. He built a small frigate, named the ‘Kingston’ for Government; and afterwards removed to Paul, about the year 1805. About the year 1807, a small fishing boat, owned by James Whitlam, used to take passengers to and from Hull twice a week; and, a few years afterwards, two smart sailing boats were launched, and gave daily accommodation for passengers to and from Hull; afterwards steamers were employed. The ‘Rockingham’ was the first built here. Coaches from Sheffield arrived about nine o’clock, AM, the time the packet left Thorne; and the amount of traffic by that line, often caused much competition and opposition. The ‘Kingston’ the first steamer trading between Hull and London, was built here in 1821; and the ‘Yorkshireman’, her consort, was built in 1822. The ‘Prince Frederick’ to trade between Hull and Hamburg, was built at Thorne and launched March 27th 1823. The ‘Monarch’ and the ‘Transit’ were the last of the sea-going vessels built in the yard. A number of brigs and schooners were continued to be built from the yard until a few years passed, when the age of the last proprietor, Mr. John Whaley, and the competition of iron with wood vessels, made it desirable to reduce the establishment, and only small craft are now turned out by the present occupier of the yard.”
A traveller in 1835 wrote
"The traveller, leaving Manchester, is conveyed in the regular stage-coach as far as Sheffield, from whence tide-coaches daily depart to Thorne, on the banks of the Don. Hither a steamer daily arrives and returns, tide permitting, to and from Hull; but as the navigation of the river Don is precarious, it frequently happens that, on slack tides, the Hull steamer can come no higher than Goole, which latter town is situated on the Ouse, immediately at the mouth of the Don, in which case the passengers are carried from Thorne to Goole in a vessel towed by horses, and of lighter draught than the steamer. Thus the communication, though slow, may be called sure."
In Thorne, Pigot's Directory of 1843 mentions passengers can travel by the Speedwell Packet leaving from the Canal Bridge to Keadby every morning except Sunday at half passed seven and to Hull a Steam Packet daily. Goods travel to London weekly and to Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley and Hull by Richard Pearson and Co's Boats daily.
Hangman Hill Ferry
Ropery Ferry at Waterside, Thorne.
Fishlake Ferry - In the Middle Ages Fishlake was a sizeable port with ship building as an industry lying adjacent to the River Don.
Bramwith Ferry between Kirk Bramwith and Sand/South Bramwith
Barmby upon Don Ferry
Aire and Calder Canal.
Picture above shows the Aire and Calder canal at New Inn
“The Aire and Calder navigation, though proposed in the time of Charles I, was incorporated under act 10 and 11 William III; being undertaken, it is said, by a Dutch company, who, after expending about £19,000 were ruined by the enterprise. Their property was purchased, and the works resumed by the corporation of Leeds and some gentlemen of Wakefield; and by subsequent extension of navigation, it has become very profitable. The second act was obtained 14th Geo. III. (1774).
The river Aire, from the Ouse at Armin, is ascended by 50 or 60 ton sloops for about 40 miles, to the town of Leeds, where the Leeds and Liverpool canal commences, as already described.
About 10 miles below Leeds, the river Calder branches off to the south-west, and is navigable about 10 miles to Wakefield.
Here the Calder and Hebble navigation commences and proceeds partly by the river and partly by side cuts and locks and weirs, 23 miles to Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, where the Rochdale canal commences and passing the central ridge at the north end of Blackstone Edge, proceeds to Manchester.
Below Wakefield the Aire and Calder company have widened their locks to 18 feet; but should any vessels be built to suit these locks, they must navigate by way of Airmin, as the tide lock at Selby is only 14 ½ feet wide.
The boats used in these navigations are 50 feet long, 13 ½ wide, and draw 3 feet water, and carry about 28 tons. They usually go double, make way about from 2 to 2 ½ miles per hour. They are often taken down the Humber, and round the coast to the Welland and Great Ouse rivers.
In 1827/1828 the Aire and Calder Navigation Company had some extensive warehouses on both sides of the river as shown in the picture above left.
The branches from the Aire and Calder navigation are numerous. Near Snaith it connects with the Dun river. Higher up is a cut to the Ouse at Selby, to shorten the distance to York. At Wakefield, the Calder and Hebble connects with the Barnsley canal (act 33 Geo III) and there are many rail-way branches to the coalworks.” (1832 Edinburgh Encyclopaedia)
In 1835 a traveller journeyed from Goole to Knottingley and made the following observation.
“I made a trip from Goole to Knottingley We started at ten o’clock in the morning, so soon as the steamers from Hull had arrived, which bring hither passengers every day for both lines, the one to Selby and the other to Knottingley. The vessel might almost have been mistaken in point of appearance for a triumphal barge, so grandily, or rather whimsically, was she decorated and painted, exhibiting, among other embellishments, a gigantic portrait of Queen of Adelaide on her quarter; it was, in fact, a floating house, with seven windows on each side; and affording to those passengers who preferred an airy seat, a flat roof for the purpose, as well as comfortable benches thereon, firmly screwed down, to sit upon; - those who occupied the cabin enjoyed the usual accommodation of a steam boat.
Though built purposely for speed and light draft, this vessel was firm, and steady in the water; she was indeed two boats linked together, with a double keel, and open channel between both; - a moveable cast-iron cutwater fixed a head, when lifted up was completely out of the way, but when down formed a very acute angle, and brought as it were the two boats into one; it prevented the stream from filling the hollow channel, and obstructing the progress.
This double boat very properly denominated ‘The Twin Boat’ was lashed to the side of the Quay, so that we had nothing to do but step aboard. The fare from Goole to Knottingley, within one mile of Ferrybridge, a distance of eighteen miles, - was two shillings.
Before the towing path commences, a space of a few hundred yards intervenes, through which the boat was worked through locks, and among numerous craft, by pushing and hawling, from one to the other, by boat-hooks. We were occasionally somewhat inconveniently jammed together, though it was amusing to observe how stead, yet how differently, every navigator made his way, according to the laws of the river etiquette and mutual accommodation. On one occasion, our steersman fixed his point on the plank at which three men were eating their breakfast, and though the pole was streaming with water, neither seemed surprised or offended. Again, we ran bump upon a lighter, where a steersman’s wife presided at the tiller. An altercation ensued, but the lady held on, in spite of remonstrance, though the priviledges of her sex were disregarded, in the midst of terms of art and nautical phrases.
Extraordinary preparations appeared in view the moment we were clear of the town, and had arrived at the towing-path. Four horses, each nearly thoroughbred, were standing ready, with traces to their collars; and immediately being hooked on, cantered away, without perceptible motion, or any noise to interrupt meditation; no sound, other than the soft liquid bubbling of the water underneath the boat. The four horses were driven by three postillions, each a small boy, under six stone, and dressed in a light blue jacket, with a red collar, and a white hat. The two foremost, and the hindmost horses were ridden; the other carried no rider. The draft of each horse was, by a separate rope, attached to the tow rope, by which one principal objection to the mode, namely that of drawing in an oblique line, was somewhat palliated; but nevertheless, as they drew by ordinary traces, their hind legs were continually dragged from the proper point of resistance, to their great discomfiture and increase of labour."
1838. Practice v Theory. The Aire & Calder Navigation have lately suffered an immense loss, from the failure of two powerful boats, the ‘Vanguard’ and ‘Jason’, built to navigate the shallows of the Humber, in the trade between Goole and Hamburgh. The two vessels were built under the direction of the Company’s land surveyor, from a model; but when afloat, to the consternation of all parties, were found to draw as much water, without their lading, as rendering them useless. They were built at Glasgow, and have powerful engines; they lie in the East India Docks as models!
Matthew Murray was born at Stockton - on Tees in 1765 to a working class family. He was apprenticed as a smith, in which he excelled, but soon after his term expired trade in Stockton was slack. He was married at this time so had to leave her to look for work in Leeds. Here he found work at Marshall’s where they were trying to improve machinery for the manufacture of spinning flax. Having found employment he bought a property in Beeston and was joined by his wife. After working at Marshall’s for about twelve years he was introduced to James Fenton and David Wood to establish an engineering and machine-making factory at Leeds. As Murray had experience of the steam engine he was put in charge of the engine - building department. His additions to the steam engine were of great practical value; one of which, the self acting apparatus attached to the boiler for the purpose of regulating the intensity of the fire under it. He subsequently invented the D slide valve, or at least greatly improved it.
Although Messrs Fenton, Murray and Wood was mainly for the manufacture of flax machinery in 1813 on the 18th June they exhibited a new steam boat in the river Aire, when the novelty of the exhibition attracted an immense crowd of spectators.
On February 20th 1826, aged 61 years Matthew Murray, engineer of Leeds whose improvements in the steam engine flax spinning and other machinery will be a lasting testimony of his skill. (Biographia)(The Annals)
If you have any pictures or further information please email me