History of Industry South of the Humber

In the Middle Ages, south of the Humber, as in any rural area, industry was limited and mainly cottage based. Milling, pottery, basket weaving and leather work would have taken place.

In the seventeenth century the Winn family of Appleby introduced linen-weaving based on the planting of flax. This grew in the area. For a time, in the eighteenth century, rabbits were kept for their furs and supplied a small hat industry. Brigg was important in this and furs were exported.

Whereas these industries waned, bricks and tile making, using exposed clays, began as small concerns in the seventeenth century and expanded with the industrial revolution. These were located at or close to rivers. Trade grew between Barton-on-Humber and London by the 1830's. By 1876 there were eleven brickyards in Barton and over forty three around the rivers of (now) North Lincolnshire. The brickworks went into decline from the early twentieth century because they were not large enough to compete nationally. They have a modern legacy in the the flooded riverside clay pits that became nature reserves. One is Fairfield Pit in New Holland.

A number of small boatyards grew this side of the River Humber but Hull whaling and growing fishing fleets stimulated the growth of Barton's ropery started in 1767 by John Hall. This expanded and supplied ropes, rigging, sailcloth and tarpaulin. From imported hemp and flax, the firm moved on to wire rope (especially useful for the First World War) and today it produces, in addition, synthetic wire ropes.

In 1880 F. Hopper and Company began making bicycles in Barton-upon-Humber and merged with Elswick Cycles in 1908 to form Elswick-Hopper Cycle and Motor Company which became world famous.

Samuel Gibson established an Iron and Brass foundry from 1882 in Barton-upon-Humber which made boilers, brick making machines and agricultural tools.

A chemical industry producing fertilisers grew in Barton and Brigg based largely at Yarborough Mill in Brigg.

Modern Business South of the Humber

Whilst many industries declined there are new enterprises large and small. In the 1960's two oil refineries were built on suitable land between Immingham and New Holland about South Killingholme and in the 1980's liquid petroleum gas caverns were built into the chalk 190 metres below ground with 120000 cubic metres capacity.

There is cement making at South Ferriby and chalk quarrying at Melton Ross. Kimberley Clark make consumer paper based products at Barton-on-Humber.

In New Holland today, once a railway centre and ferry port, there is wooden windows and doors manufacture, timber importing, the dock, bulk grain importing, iron and steel slags research and testing and tourism economic modelling (where I work) and a top restaurant - all these in a village of only 900 people!