Howdenshire History

A Famous Goole Engineer: William Hamond Bartholomew

Goole History > Goole People & Families > William Hamond Bartholomew



Thomas Hamond Bartholomew, the father of William, first came into public notice as an engineer of great ability while in the employment of Mr George Leather, the noted canal engineer. He later entered the service of the Aire and Calder Navigation Company and took up residence at the company's house at Lake Lock, Stanley near Wakefield, the company headquarters. It was at this house that William Hamond Bartholomew was born on 30th January 1831.

His early boyhood was spent around Lake Lock, which for many years was the centre for the company's repair shops. These were later moved to Goole in 1882, so it was only natural he would grow up with a keen interest in engineering and all things mechanical.

He was educated at Wakefield Grammar School and, on leaving, he followed his father and joined the Aire and Calder Navigation Company. On the death of his father, young William was appointed as engineer to the company to fill the vacancy left by his father.

At the age of 29 he married Maria, fourth daughter of Mr John Wilson J.P., on 29th April 1860 at Leeds Parish Church. Although the company's headquarters were now at Leeds, many decisions were made in the company's temporary boardroom in the Lowther Hotel Goole, and it was at Goole that visible signs of Bartholomew's skill as an engineer could, and still can, be seen.

So great was his influence in the port that it was once described as "Bartholomew's Vineyard". Some of the larger schemes inaugurated by Bartholomew were:-

Aldam Dock 1882

Victoria Lock 1888

Stanhope Dock 1891

South Dock 1909

West Dock 1912

He was the author of numerous inventions; perhaps the most important of these was the conception of the compartment boats (Tom Puddings) and the coal hoists, especially the No. 4 Floating Hoist which he designed. Practically all the moveable bridges which spanned the various waterways in and about the Goole docks were built to his plans.

Another important project was the Ouse improvements - authorised by Parliament in 1884 in order to strengthen both banks of the Ouse from Goole to Trent Falls. This consisted of placing thousands of tons of stone material on the banks and was known as training. This was to allow larger vessels to reach Goole. To enable the material to be placed on the banks, Bartholomew designed six hopper vessels which brought the stone from the North East. Huge doors on the vessels would open and the stone would spill out. The hoppers would then make their way back to sea for another cargo.


During his career he was:-

A Director and one time Chairman of Goole Steamshipping Co. Ltd.
A Director of the Goole Gas and Water Company.
A member of the Humber Conservancy Board since its formation.

He also:-

Acted as engineer to the Humber Conservancy Board.
Acted as engineer to York City Council.
Gained a reputation as a Hydrographer.


The only public office which he could be persuaded to accept was that of Justice of the Peace, an honour conferred on him in 1880, but he rarely exercised the functions attached to that position.

Bartholomew was also known for his benevolence and generosity within the local community and was instrumental in providing a Cottage Hospital (now the Jailhouse), and later in 1912 a larger hospital which would carry his name.

In February 1915, Maria, his wife, passed away in her 83rd year. Four years later, in March 1919, ill health forced him into retirement. Just a few months later, on Wednesday morning 19th November 1919, he also passed away and was buried at Stanley near Wakefield on Saturday 22nd November 1919.

Bartholomew's family consisted of two daughters and one son. The son died in infancy and his elder daughter in middle life. His only surviving daughter, Mrs Buckle, widow of the late Major A. E. Buckle of the 4th Essex Regiment, resided with her father.

By his words and powers, William Hamond Bartholomew gained a position of eminence and influence and though he refused many public honours, which were sometimes showered upon men of smaller merit and worth, he was held in the highest respect by those who came into personal contact with him, many of whom owe much of their success in life to his kindly interest and friendship.

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