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Hull-New Holland / Humber Estuary

Lincoln Castle at Hull in 1959. Photos by courtesy of Ian Stenton

Steam navigation on the Humber dates back to 1814. John Robertson, engineer of the pioneering PS Comet of 1812 in the Clyde had built PS Caledonia and PS Humber built at Dundee in 1814 to house his engines. The ships were operated on his own account for eigtheen months between Hull on the Humber estuary and Selby on the River Ouse and Gainsborough on the River Trent, the two rivers joining to form the Humber. Later, a healthy trade developed on the Trent, reaching out on to the east coast of England.

The direct ferry crossing from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire was inaugurated in 1820 from Hull to New Holland by PS Magna Carta. Railway ownership of the ferry dates from 1845, and after Britain's railways were amalgamated into major regional groupings in 1923, the service came under the control of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER).

The sisters Wingfield Castle and Tattershall Castle, built in 1934, proved to be successful steamers, with a large open main deck aft which was used for cars, cargo and cattle. Their success prompted the building of the similarly-shaped Lincoln Castle and deferred discussion about the construction of a bridge across the estuary. Paddle Steamers were especially suitable for this crossing due to their shallow draught. The Humber was not only tidal but the sands of the estuary shifted continuously making crossings hazardous and requiring skippers to have a very good understanding of the waters.

A parliamentary bill giving powers for the construction of the bridge was passed in 1959 but the final government go-ahead did not come until ten years later. Construction finally started in 1973. The bridge was opened in 1981, spelling the death knell for the last remaining ferry, the diesel-electric paddler Farringford which had been transferred from the Isle of Wight

Excursions were also scheduled, but restricted to Sunday afternoons from Hull in 1964 and withdrawn totally after the 1967 season. Occasional excursions, including charters, continued to take place, particulary with Lincoln Castle

Paddlers introduced between 1888 and1923
Grimsby (1888-)
Cleethorpes (1903-)
Brocklesby (1912-1934)
Killingholme (1912-1940)
Frodingham (1928-1936)

Paddlers introduced by the London & North Eastern Railway (1923-1947):
Tattershall Castle (1934-1972)
Wingfield Castle (1934-1974)
Lincoln Castle (1940-1978)

Diesel paddle car ferry transferred from British Rail's Lymington-Yarmouth ferry route:
Farringford (1974-1981)

Not an obvious paddler - but Farringford was an unusual example of this means of propulsion. Photo by kind courtesy of Kevin Hoggett

A fine example of integrated transport at the time. A British Rail diesel train meets PS Lincoln Castle at New Holland pier in 1976. Photo by kind courtesy of Kevin Hoggett

Lincoln Castle, again in 1959 by Ian Stenton, at Hull's Corporation Pier

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