Tom Puddings

Since the mid 19th century coal had been transported in bulk by canal from Yorkshire’s pits to the port of Goole. Tugs  towed trains of empty compartment boats, nicknamed “Tom puddings” or just “pans”, to loading points, staithes, near the pits. Full of coal, they were then towed back to Goole docks where ingenious mechanical coal hoists were used to empty the pans into colliers for onward transportation by sea to customers in the UK and Europe. This collection of photographs focuses on the vessels – tugs and compartment boats – which in the hands of the hardworking Aire and Calder watermen were used to transport the coal.

Where possible we have described what you see in the photographs and when they were taken. If you can add to that knowledge please get in touch using the form below. 

Hover your cursor over the photograph and you will see a short title. Click on the photograph and you should see a larger version and more information.