October 27, 2021

The River Ouse (Yorkshire)

Following on from my recent post about York watermen I decided to find out more about The River Ouse and it’s importance to the City of York.

To do this I bought two books, the first being Yorkshire Ouse: The History of a River Navigation (Inland Waterways Histories) by Baron F Duckham.

The Yorkshire Ouse - Baron F. Duckham

The Yorkshire Ouse - Baron F. Duckham

This isn’t a book that’s available new anymore as it was written in 1967, but if you have a research interest in any of the towns and villages along the Ouse, such as Acaster, Selby, Cawood and Goole, it is an invaluable source of information. It is also a possible start point for finding records on the Ouse and surrounding area as Baron F. Duckham references all his sources of information.

It explains how the river works and charts Yorks history as a sea port from the middle ages up until the mid 18th century when a lock was built at Naburn. It explains that York continued to be an important port up until the coming of the railway in the 19th century, despite the corporations ever present struggle to keep the river navigable.

It also charts the rise of the ports of Selby and Goole, together with the emergence of steamships. It records all the ancient ferry points across the Ouse explaining their importance and how they declined or prospered. All in all a fascinating book.

The second book is Yorkshire Ouse Navigation by Mike Taylor.

The Yorkshire Ouse Navigation - Mike Taylor

The Yorkshire Ouse Navigation - Mike Taylor

This book is more of a pictorial history of the Ouse and discusses the use of the River in geographical chunks starting at The Humber and continuing up the Ouse to the reaces above York. Published in 2002 it concentrates on the period from 1757 (when Naburn lock was built) up to the mid 90’s. Obviously, the majority of photographs are from the 20th century but prints of earlier sketches and paintings are included.

This is available new and second hand, and compliments Baron Duckham’s book well.

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