Howdenshire History

A Goole Teacher & Naturalist: Thomas Bunker & Sarah Sophia Bunker

Goole History > Goole People & Families > Thomas Bunker & Sarah Sophia Bunker


From The Goole Times, Friday, 16th April 1915:




It is with deep regret that we record the death of Mr Thomas Bunker, which took place at his residence in East Parade on Saturday. He was taken ill the day before he attained his 85th birthday, this being last February, and had since been attended by Dr Cass. His greatly advanced years militated against his recovery and he passed peacefully away as stated.

Mr Bunker, who was a highly esteemed and respected resident, was a native of Toddington, in Bedfordshire. He was trained for the teaching profession at St Mark's College, Chelsea, and shortly after leaving there he came to Goole to take up the appointment as headmaster of the National Schools, under Rev. Mr Shillito, the then vicar [1849-55], and he also served under Dr Bell, who succeeded the Rev. Mr Shillito. He held the position with considerable success for some years, and then left to conduct a private school of his own, which he established in Adam Street. Again his efforts were attended with success, and during the years he was at the National School and at his own school he taught many of the older generation of inhabitants.

Then he left to take up the post of collector of taxes under the old Rural Sanitary Authority of Goole, and continued in this sphere of work for many years, indeed until his retirement some 25 years ago.

He was an enthusiastic naturalist and botanist, and, in conjunction with Dr Parsons, he helped to form the now defunct Goole Scientific Society, which at one time was in great vogue.

There was no more enthusiastic or staunch member than Mr Bunker, and he was never more happy than when escorting parties out into the country in search of specimens of animal or plant life. He had the distinction of having discovered many new plants which had not previously been recorded for this district. He had the honour of preparing and assisting work in connection with the Yorkshire Naturalists' Society, and it is interesting to note that he was made a life member of this Society. He prepared and read many interesting papers to societies dealing with plant life to be found on the local moors.

Always of a retiring disposition, he never sought local or municipal or other honours. He, however, for many years acted as manager of a Savings Bank in Goole, succeeding Mr Dale. He was also a staunch member of the Established Church, and though he held no office there, he was a regular attender up to the time when he was taken ill.

The deceased leaves a widow, three daughters, and two sons to mourn him. One son pre-deceased him many years ago.

On Tuesday afternoon his mortal remains were quietly laid to rest in the family grave in Goole Parish Church graveyard. The cortège went by way of Ouse Street and Aire Street to the Parish Church, and both East Parade, where the deceased resided, and along the line of the route, the blinds were drawn as a last tribute of respect to the deceased. Many of the shops, and also the Sydney Hotel, were closed and blinds drawn.



Mrs Sarah Sophia Bunker was buried in the same grave as her husband; her obituary was also in The Goole Times, Friday, 13th May 1921, under the heading:



There passed away on Sunday night at her home, 9 East Parade, Goole, at the age of 85 years, Mrs Sarah Sophia Bunker, widow of the late Mr Thomas Bunker.

Mrs Bunker, although not a native of the district, came to Goole over 60 years ago, and has been closely associated with the town ever since. Upon her arrival in Goole she became a teacher in the National Schools, where Mr Bunker was similarly employed at that time. Mr and Mrs Bunker celebrated their golden wedding about six months prior to the former's death in 1915. Mrs Bunker's chief interest centred on the work of the Girls' Friendly Society, and she was the local secretary for upwards of 30 years.

The late Mrs Bunker came of a Staffordshire family noted for longevity, and she was the last of a family of seven, none of whom died before attaining the age of 70. Five out of the seven celebrated their golden weddings, and to go back, her grandmother and her grandmother's sister attained their century.

The family at Goole were regular worshippers at the Parish Church from the year it was built, and during the vicariate of the Rev. W. Shilleto.

Mrs Bunker leaves a family of five, two sons and three daughters. The funeral took place in Goole churchyard on Wednesday afternoon, when the vicar, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Iliff, D.D., officiated.

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