Gainsborough's riverside plays
an important part in the past life of the town. From the
end of the 16th century boats carried coal from the Nottinghamshire
pits. The 18th century saw the transportation of goods
of all kinds, including iron products, ale and linen and
woollen goods to London. During the Napoleonic War, ammunition
passed through Gainsborough's port.
Trent bridge dates
from 1791, although pedestrians were allowed to cross
it in 1790. In 1825 Gainsborough shipyards began to build
steamboats and by 1826 there was a daily passenger steamboat
service between Gainsborough and Hull.
When I was small
she (Grandma) was a widow, Grandad having died relatively
young even for those days. He and one of his sons, James
worked on one or maybe both of the two small screw driven
steamers that plied the Trent from Hull, to I think Nottingham
with passengers, the names are interesting the Cilla and
the Charibdis. They may have carried light freight also.
I imagine these are Greek goddesses names?* Uncle Jim
told a fine tale of having been paid off on a Friday night
in Hull, when he was unfortunate enough to fall victim
to a hold up, by a then notorious gang of foot pads, as
they were then known. The several strong gang knew he
had his paypacket and coveted it, whilst he was reluctant
to cough up! Jim knew he didn't have much chance, but
he put up his fists, and then to his great relief a good
old British bobby hove in sight upon which the felons
fled, leaving Jim with pay intact!
are not, in fact Greek goddesses, but monsters which are
mentioned in many places, most famous of all 'The Odyssey'.
Cilla, or Scylla is a terrible, multi-headed beast who
prays on passing sailors. Charybdis is a terrible whirlpool
which is brought alive whenever a ship passes that particular
spot. Heaven only knows why someone would name boats such
things. . . Charlotte.
In 1881 the port closed,
due partly to the competition from the railway and partly
to a deterioration in the state of the river. Fluctuations
in the depth of the Trent due to silting and wrecks in
the channel below Gainsborough, with no-one in authority
to clear them away, meant that boats had to lighten their
loads to clear the bottom of the river.
Looking over towards
Gainsborough from the Nottinghamshire bank.