The Coastguard Service in Barton


The river Humber has always had a major influence on Barton, and many years ago it would have been almost unrecognisable with the amount of sailing and trading vessels which would have been travelling on it daily.  The dangers to sailors were very real and this eventually lead to the coastguard service being set up in the early 1850s with the actual Coastguard Service Act being passed in 1856.  The Coastguard service seems to have started in Barton around the mid-1850s.  The 1851 census recorded three coastguards, Thomas Lindsey,   Isaiah Vincent and Endrew East, all aged between 31 and 33 and all living on Waterside Road.  By the 1861 census there were five coastguards and one chief boatman recorded in the census at Barton, again living on Waterside Road.

By the late 1860s the coastguard service in Barton was hitting its peak.  In 1868 John Jones was recorded as the Chief Boatman of the Coastguard Service in Barton.  The census of 1871 shows clearly how the service in Barton had grown.  Micheal Donovan was the Chief Officer of the Coastguard service.  The Chief Officer would have lived in a house directly behind the Coastguard Station, now demolished, whereas the coastguards lived in the cottages further behind, which still stand today close to what was the Waterside Inn.  These coastguard cottages were built in 1862 by Alexander Stamp.  The coastguards living here in 1871 were George Gammon from the Isle of Wight, Henry Blake from Wexford, Robert Cooper from the Isle of Wight, Oliver Mansfield from Leicester, George Green from Cambridge, David George Frewen from Sussex and Richard Long Hooper from Devon.  You will see that all the coastguards came from places other than Barton, or indeed Lincolnshire.  This was to prevent them from forming allegiances and friendships with smugglers near their home town, and to prevent this further they were often moved to different stations.  The census of 1881 highlights this perfectly.  By now John Hinton Bailey was the Chief Officer.  The coastguards were Francis Lloyd from Bristol, Richard William Ayland from Portsmouth, Benjamin Taulbut from Hampshire, William Henry Rouse from Portsea, Bedkar Boyle from Dorset and Robert Allan from Scotland.  The current boathouse was built in 1880, replacing the original boathouse which would have been situated near the Waterside Inn.

The coastguard cottages The Chief Officer's house
The cottages where the coastguards lived (taken in 2006) The house of the Chief Officer looking very run down in 1973.
(Picture courtesy of Harry Dudley)

By 1882 George Hookey was the Chief Officer to be replaced by Joseph Whiles sometime before 1889.  By 1891 Joseph was still the Chief Officer, his coastguards were James Ryan from Scotland, William Matson from Scotland, William Fawkes from Nottingham, Henry Strennard from Holland, Henry Woodward from Winchester and Richard W Ayland from Portsmouth.  Joseph Whiles was still the Chief Officer in 1896 but by 1900 John Evans, from Liverpool, had taken over the role.  In the 1901 census John's coastguards were William Adams the Chief Boatman from Cornwall, Henry Wiles from London, Alfred Hobden strangely recorded from Worlds End, William James Cottam from Teingmouth, Charles Thomas Honn from Portsmouth, John Sparling from France and Henry Lobell from Norfolk.

The old coastguard station.

From the early 1900s the coastguard service in Barton started to become run-down.  John Evans was still the Chief Officer in 1905 but by 1909 this role had been taken over by Henry Mortimer.  In 1913 George Rigden was the Chief Officer.  In 1919 the Coastguard Station was in poor condition and the boat was not seaworthy.  In 1922 Ernest Charles Pack was the Officer in charge, and he was probably one of the last in charge of the Barton coastguard service as by the early 1920s the station had closed.

Further reading - Barton and the River Humber 1086 - 1900 by Rodney Clapson

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