In the 1860's, William Bartholomew the chief engineer of the Aire and Calder Navigation company, developed a new method of carrying coal in compartment boats.
Developed from Shropshire Tub Boats; the "Pans" or "Tom Puddings" as they were called, were capable of carrying up to 40 tons of coal and could be joined together into a train of 30 to 40 boats.
A revolutionary design of hoist was developed using hydraulic machinery, which could lift each boat in turn and tip its contents into a ship. This method was both cheap and efficient, and wasted very little coal. Five such hoists were built in Goole docks.
The system was used for 120 years, carrying coal from Yorkshire pits to be exported from Goole. In April 1986, the Tom Puddings made their last run from the staithes at Doncaster to the Port of Goole, after which all the coal had to go by road.
The first part of the DVD is the Production "Tom Puddings" which follows the train of pans from Syke House Lock to Goole, where the boats are emptied into a waiting ship by No.5 boat hoist.
There is a commentary throughout and the hydraulic mechanisms are explained with animated diagrams.
The second part of the DVD "The Last Run" is a longer Compilation without commentary, which includes all the rest of the material we recorded in April 1986 of the last run of pans to Goole, views around the docks including the rail hoist and No.3 boat hoist which was later demolished, and four complete cycles of operation of No.5 hoist.
This DVD is a unique record of the use of Tom Puddings with detailed footage of boat handling and the working water-hydraulic mechanisms, seen from many different angles including on and inside the hoist. It combines our popular 1986 production "Tom Puddings", with the equally popular Compilation No.1: "The Last Run".
The Tom Puddings being moved
The boat hoist in operation
Animation showing how the boat hoist worked
"I could have enjoyed twice the footage"
Waterways World 1996
"Mesmerising and memorable" Waterways World 2010
"I.A.Recordings are to be congratulated for having the foresight to record this and other vanishing practices of the Industrial age and indeed, should be supported" Archive
Doncaster Staithes SE 5740 0369
Sykehouse Lock SE 6384 1611
No.5 boat hoist, Goole SE 7428 2287
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The images on this page are taken from the video.