Newspapers - Yorkshire


Further to my earlier comment, many "local" newspapers also reported national news, so don't be surprised to find references to cases of national interest in any of the archives.

If your particular interest is Yorkshire, take a look at

Northern Star

List of names from the Northern Star newspaper.

There are not a lot of articles here, but they date from a little earlier than some of the other newspapers.

The photograph is of Five Rise Lock at Bingley, and I can remember visiting there as a kid and watching a boat go through the locks.

Boatman names from Northern Star (45kb)

Articles from the Northern Star.

Boatman articles from Northern Star (109kb)


Bradford Observer

The Bradford Canal had the dubious privilege of being considered the dirtiest in England, and although it brought much prosperity to the town, the local council seem to have spent much of their time trying to get it closed and filled in, in the belief that it was a health hazard.  A case from May 1857, when a couple of miscreants threw the aptly named Sergeant Slingsby into the canal describes it as follows : "The canal, the liquid of which, as is notorious, is about as black as ink, of the consistency of treacle and the odour of Harrogate water".  There is little of it left now.  For more details on the Bradford Canal and its problems, is an interesting read.

Names from Bradford Observer (50kb)


Huddersfield Chronicle

Huddersfield has not one, but two, canals, a broad canal which runs for four miles from the centre of Huddersfield to the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Cooper Bridge, and a narrow canal of twenty miles length which runs from Huddersfield to Ashton under Lyne in Greater Manchester.

The Huddersfield narrow canal has a couple of claims to fame.  It is the highest navigable waterway in Britain, and also has the longest canal tunnel, the Standedge Tunnel.  For more details on the narrow canal, try

The Huddersfield articles are in two sections, 1850 to 1880 and 1881 to 1900.  Here are the names from the articles.

Names from Huddersfield Chronicle 1850 to 1880 (55kb)

One of the most distinctive features of the Broad Canal is the turn bridge located at Quay Street, which has given its name to the surrounding area.

This has proved to be an interesting archive of material, though the sheer number of drownings recorded in the local press is surprising There seem to have been particular spots on the canal network which were well known to be dangerous, and getting action taken to improve the situation seems to have been a slow process.


Articles from Huddersfield Chronicle 1850 to 1880 (500kb)


Yorkshire Evening Post
Redcote Bridge

This proved to be a rather depressing selection, primarily due to the large numbers of suicides, particularly the suicides of women and girls, a fact noted not only by me but by the Leeds Deputy Coroner, Mr J E Hill.

Major cases include, in 1893, the suicide of Grainge Thompson, who drowned himself in the canal after murdering both his parents with a hammer, believing that his father was spending his inheritance in bets on the horses.  Shades of Lizzie Borden, who "gave her mother forty whacks, and when she saw when she had done, she gave her father forty one".

Names from Yorkshire Evening Post 1890 to 1900 (55kb)

In 1904, at the wedding reception of Tom Turner, a boat captain, and Mary Ellen Littlewood, two of the guests found a bottle which they thought contained spirits, and drank it.  Unfortunately the bottle contained carbolic acid, and both died shortly after, which must have put something of a damper on proceedings.

A boatman also had a role to play in "The Green Bicycle Murder", when Enoch Arthur Whitehouse dredged up the bicycle in question from the canal at Leicester.

Names from Yorkshire Evening Post 1901 to 1920 (53kb)

In August 1928, boatman Stephen Rogerson was nearly crushed by an ash tree which fell onto his canal barge near Armley.

There are a number of general articles in this selection which describe canal voyages taken at various times by "roving reporters".  These detail not only the journeys but also the changes made to canal transport over the period.

Names from Yorkshire Evening Post 1921 to 1955 (52kb)


Shipley Times and Express
Canal Tavern

The two major cases in the first selection from Shipley, dates 1882 to 1899, are two cases of unlawful killing.  In the first of these, from April 1894, Ruth Ann Hoddy and Martha Newall were accused of the killing of Ruth Hoddy's newborn son.  This case gives an insight as to how the very poor lived.  Ruth Ann Hoddy and her 4 children lived in a cellar in Murgatroyd Street, her accommodation consisting of one room and a coal hole, and her total income was 5s (25p) parish relief each week.

The second case, from August 1898 details the killing of Joseph Croft on board the canal boat Surprise by Peter Keeling, the mate of the boat.  A case of "cherchez la femme", the "femme" in question being Martha Schofield, who had lived with Croft until 6 weeks before, then left him to move in with Keeling on the boat.

The picture is the Canal Tavern in Shipley.

Names from Shipley Times and Express 1882 to 1899 (53kb)

Lots of drunk and disorderlies in the second document, dates 1900 to 1909.  An account of the suicide of Vizletta Parker has a description by a boatman named Firth Dawson, who helped to remove the body from the canal, of having to get a stick "to keep the rats off the body - they came three at a time".

At a meeting of the "Seamen and Boatmen's Friend Society" in September 1906, Mr E Woodhouse, then Lord Mayor of Leeds, said of boatmen, "Their insularity is extreme" and described them as "a pitiable class, standing half way between the gypsy and the ordinary artisan".

Names from Shipley Times and Express 1900 to 1909 (53kb)

There is a wealth of information here for anyone who has the Kendall family on their family tree.

Names from Shipley Times and Express 1910 to 1949 (51kb)