Trade through sloops and keels operating on the River Ancholme and into the River Humber was the topic of an interesting talk to Brigg Amateur Social Historians in the Servicemen’s Club.
The talk was given by river heritage expert Brian Peeps, an authority on the Humber and the Ancholme.
In the middle of the 19th century Brigg relied upon keel traffic to ferry in and out produce; it was the start of a golden era in trade on the Ancholme.
Bricks from South Ferriby brickyard were shipped to jetties where Glanford Boat Club now is, and taken to the gas works, while Yarborough Oil Mills, on the new cut of the Ancholme, took in oil seed from sloops, mainly run by Barroclough’s of Hull.
The Amy Howson was a sloop named after Barroclough’s married daughter.
The river remained busy with trade into the 20th century and when Brigg Sugar Factory opened in 1928, sugar beet was brought in by sloops and keel boats, first using sail power and then driven by motors.
In the off season for beet, sloops and keels brought up sugar cane imported through Hull.
Keels also traded in and out of the seed and feed warehouse, now occupied by Riverside Residential Home next to the County Bridge.
The steam barge Swift worked the Ancholme route as did the wooden keel craft Britannia.
Vast quantities of South Yorkshire Coal were brought by keel round from Keadby Wharf on the River Trent to power Brigg’s gas works.
The coal was also taken to warehouses at Brandy Wharf and Bishopbridge, up stream and just five miles from Market Rasen.
The arrival of the motor vehicle and lorry signalled the demise on the river of keels, sloops and barges; transporting by road was so much quicker.
Low water also made the journey from the Humber to Brigg a laborious one, taking three weeks sometimes in summer.
The Keel, where the rig was easier to lower than a sloop, was an easier vessel, but the need to drop the rig under the increasing number of bridges also made the journey tardy.
To the steam diesel powered barge the bridges were no problem.