Wednesday, December 09, 2009


A legendary figure in the world of sailing took a leisurely trip along the entire River Ancholme in the 1930s, including a stop off not far from Brigg.
His extensive description of that journey, which included an overnight stop somewhere between Brigg and Cadney, forms a chapter in Tony Watts' fascinating and lavishly illustrated new book Holmes of the Humber.
Subject of the book, George Holmes, was a very talented artist and sketches he made of bridges along the Ancholme help illustrate the chapter.
The book also takes in-depth looks at sailing trips along the Humber and its tributaries and vessels to be found in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The new book costs £25 and is available from bookshops or through the website via this link HOLMES OF THE HUMBER


Ken Harrison said...

Looks like an extremely intesting book. Could do with it for Crimbo, Nige.

Now for a bit of local edificiation -

During the late first half of the C18th, the famous engineers, John Rennie and his son, Sir John Rennie improved the drainage system of the Ancholme Valley. They dug the river deeper and designed and built various bridges over the Anchors. (not the County Bridge)
Well, they didn't do the actual physical work themselves, as they hired some Dutch and Irish navvies from the EU on a work permit.
John Rennie Snr had already designed and built Waterloo Bridge in London and had completed a design for the Victorian London Bridge.
Back in rural Lincolnshire, If you notice a number of bridge designs have been duplicated over the Ancholme, but one bridge stand out as distintively separate.
Designed and built by little Sir John Rennie, Horkstow Bridge remains the finest example of the earliest unimproved suspension bridge in the whole-wide world, even the universe.
Why and where is was built is a bit of a mystery. Some say that little Rennie wanted to experiment in bridge design, while others debate that the local landowner was a snob and was putting pressure on the Canal Board for a 'landmark' that he could show-off to his visiting mates who had popped in for a bevvie.
Certainly, Horkstow Bridge doesn't actually lead to anywhere, apart from a small, exhausted clay pit on the west bank of the Ancholme.
Certainly, the Canal Board were dishing out the loot, so whatever was to be built wouldn't cost the Rennies a farthing (both were Scots!!).
Meanwhile, back in London, John Rennie Snr was telling everyone of importance that he felt poorly and then he popped his clogs.
Little John Rennie built London Bridge to his Dad's design. Queen Victoria was very happy, got her sword out and offered John Rennie Jnr a knighthood - hence the 'Sir' bit...and that made him very chuffed.
Taking a trip in the Hadron Collider, to the 1970's, London Bridge was sold to some American guy who then dismantled it and shipped it over the Pond to the U-S-A. (no, the guy was not buying the bridge blind, thinking it was Tower Brisdge - that's all nonsense)
London Bridge now crosses the a lake at Lake xxxxsu City, Arizona and is a big tourist attraction - surpassing even Disneyland!!
Horkstow Bridge was the only suspension bridge that Sir John Rennie designed and built. It is diminutively spectacular and is well-worth a visit. It wobbles and there's no handrails. Statistically, only about 23.83 percent (period '87-07) of visitors fall off it into the Ancholme, so it is advisable to take a towel

Ken Harrison said...

I hope you're making notes of this, Sherwood.
There will be set essay to complete!

Ken Harrison said...

Anyone spot my deliberate mistake?
I put it in to see how many a-lerts we have.
Near the beginning, it should read 19th century not 18th!

If you spotted the mistake, before I mentioned it, Nige will buy you a pint. Well done, Nige.

gmsmith said...

John Rennie did indeed widen and deepen the river Ancholme as did he also design and build Horkstow bridge in 1844 . However , we were taught in school that the Dutch were reponsible for the design and construction of the new river at Brigg . Not having paid sufficient attention I cannot remember the Dutch architect but his surname began with Van ( that narrows it down a lot ) .
Indeed Thomas Bradley was appointed engineer in 1781 to widen the river and Isaac Leatham submitted a report in 1800 to provide drainage and navigation for the princely sum of £22,975. thats from Bishopbridge right through to South Ferriby .
He was as you say Ken gazumped by John Rennie in 1801 who proposed completeing the works for a mere £52,000 .
Now can I be excused homework tonight ??

Ken Harrison said...

Hi gssmithy,

Yep, were both right -

The Ancholme has had 3 attempts to drain/reclaim land.
In C17th, Charlie 1 commissioned a task force to drain the Isle of Axholme and some minor drainage was achieved around the Ancholme.

Major work, however was completed in the C18th with this Dutch VAN guy of yours - his name was actually Cornelius VERMUDEN, so you are 66 and two thirds correct!
He used Dutch dyke builders and they canalised the River Ancholme.
If you notice, one, or two older buildings in Brigg have a Dutch-influence, although they would have obviously been built at a later date.

For info - 'VAN' = 'from'
So Vincent VanGogh = Vincent from Gogh.
Ken VanWrawby nee VanScouse

Ken Harrison said...

WHY, WHY, WHY!!!!!

Sorry, just re-read me comment - the name's
VERMUYDEN - missed the

Ken VanWawby