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This is the story behind the 1907 Humber sloop that was to help fight two wars and join the search for the Loch Ness monster.

Phyllis 1907. Loa 68ft, Beam16ft.4, Draft 7ft.4, Official Number 124785. Yard Number 60. Sail Number 26148.

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Updated: April 2016

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The People Behind Phyllis.

  • There are a number of branches of the Barraclough family in and around the Barton area, and it is a common surname across Yorkshire and the Humber. Locally it is believed two Barraclough brothers migrated to Barton from West Yorkshire in the late eighteenth century, both had large families of twelve or fourteen, unusually all of whom survived. Untangling some sets of relationships thereafter can be complicated by the various Barraclough families' use of a relatively small number of first names for sons most frequently John, James, Joseph and William and the common practice of naming after parents.
  • However, nicknames were widely used in the barge community, both to distinguish contemporaries and to comment. For example, Dumb Doll Bill Barraclough, a captain, is distinct from Miserable Bill Barraclough, an owner, as is Parson Joe Barraclough, captain, from Ginger Joe Barraclough, owner. Ditto, Fat Jack Richardson and Little Jack Richardson, who were both Richardson's captains. Peppermint Harry Waddingham and Turnip Joe Osgerby must have acquired their nicknames from escapades. Whatever Tomlinson's "Humber T" captain, Plonker Freddy Walker, did to deserve his nickname, we can only surmise. 
  • James Barraclough                                     

    James (Big Jim) Barraclough, 1863-1933, is, if not exactly a rags to riches story, certainly an example of relentless progress from modest beginnings to a substantial position through trade and enterprise. Born 17 June 1863, 1881's census shows the 17 year old living in Waterside, the eldest of Sarah and William Barraclough's ten children. His occupation is given as 'Mariner' which, together with his age, almost certainly means he was just too young to skipper his own vessel and was mate to his father. The first Barton- owned iron sloop, Alert, owned by Thomas Henry Barraclough and built by Scarrs, appears on the Hull and Goole Shipping Registers in 1893. (Clapson, Barton and the River Humber 1086-1900, p95). By 1884, along with Thomas Barraclough, mariner, James Barraclough, mariner, owns the wooden sloop Clara (60'8" x 15'3" x 7'3") built by Dunstans at Thorne. In February 1886, James Barraclough married Ada Mary Allison, a local girl from East Halton village, between Barton and Immingham. Their first son, John William (John Will) was born in July 1887, and the second, Arthur James in February 1890. In the same year, James Barraclough Ltd was established, probably in Barton.

  • The 1891 census shows James Barraclough living at Poplar View, Waterside, the slightly 'better' end of the area, giving his occupation as 'Mariner-Riverman' and is an employer. A third child, Mildred Stuart was born in 1892, but only survived until April 1895. Lilian Mary's birth followed in 1893. In that year also, Clapsons built the wooden sloop Mystery for James Barraclough and Henry Oldridge, with Henry Oldridge as master. Ada Phyllis, named for her mother but always called Phyllis, was born in July 1895, three month's after her sibling Mildred's death.
  • Elma Alison was born in August 1896, followed in May 1898 by Annie Elizabeth. 1898 saw Mystery transferred to James Barraclough as sole owner, with Richard Acaster as master, and James Barraclough acquired Lilian and May as owner and master.  Annie died aged two in May 1900, her sister Ivy Elizabeth having been born a year before in May 1899. With a Barton population of 5,671, the 1901 census shows the Barraclough's have moved again, to 52 Holydyke, on the Barton/Waterside boundary. James gives his occupation as 'Seas Mariner' and is an employer. Rhoda Barraclough was born in 1902, and their last child Stewart, when Ada was about 42, was born and died in 1903.
  • In 1904, James Barraclough embarked on what seems to have been an ambitious, if not aggressive, Sloop building programme over the next five years with Warrens Shipyard. At some early point James Barraclough seems to have become a coal factor for the Yorkshire collieries. He may well have anticipated the potential of the imminent new port at Immingham, and he must have been making the money to support the building programme. Certainly, by the time he arrived at New Holland to order Phyllis, James Barraclough was driving a Bentley sports car. He was also willing to move with the times, on 21st June 1926 James Barraclough ordered "A Victory" from Richard Dunstons yard at Thorne which was to be the first Motor Barge produced at Thorne. Yard number 164, (On my list) "A Victory" was a large vessel at 76ft Loa by 17ft 3/4" beam and 7ft 6" depth of hold. Unfortunately "A Victory" is no more but a vessel built a few years later in June of 1931 and the second motor barge Dunstons produced still is alive and kicking, "Gainsborough Trader" is in the south converted to live aboard and although not in her original layout she is still a fine ship.
  • James Barraclough & Co. Ltd. have been owners of river and canal craft since 1890. Starting with sailing sloops and keels, most of their vessels, which have cargo capacities of 100 - 200 tons, are now powered with motor engines and the Company owns an up-to-date fleet of first class steel vessels. In addition to receiving cargo from import steamers coming into the Port of' Goole and carrying exports to out-going steamers, their vessels trade regularly through Goole on the way to Knottingley, Leeds and Wakefield on the canal with general cargo from Hull, Grimsby and Immingham, etc. On the return voyage the craft usually load coal from West Riding pits for delivery to Hull and other points on the Humber. While nowadays nearly all river and canal vessels are motorised it is interesting to note that James Barraclough & Co. Ltd. owned the last sailing sloop in the Humber area this was The Sprite and she was unrigged as recently as 1950....Taken from Goole - the Official Handbook, Goole Corporation, c. 1963...

    W. H. Warren.

  • Between its establishment in 1897 at Beverley, until closure then at New Holland in 1962, Warrens Shipyard built three hundred and thirty four vessels in total. In addition to producing sixteen sloops, sixteen keels and 101 lighters for the local market, Warrens built and repaired coasters, tugs, miscellaneous river craft, and a variety of Admiralty and Indian Office boats. Warren's last Humber Sloop, "Adlingfleet", and Trent keel, "Cressey T" were built in 1926 and 1928 respectively.
  •  W. H Warrens had built a strong reputation for ship design and workmanship on substantial ships, backed up with first-rate facilities since acquiring their yard and slipway at New Holland in 1899 from public auction after the yard failed despite having two owners in two years following the change of hands from Day's to McDougle & Broudley and then to Scott's. The yard was formerly owned by the Great Central Railway Company who also owned the dock and ferry that ran to Hull. Originally the slipway had been adjacent to the dock in a NE direction but was moved to a location further east when a rail link was established to connect the dock to the main Grimsby line some time around 1898. This time positioned in a northerly direction.
  •  William Warren's two sons worked in the business with him, Fredrick as design draughtsman and Ernest as shipyard carpenter and later foreman/manager. His had three daughters, Hilda, Vera and Mable. Mable, the elder of the daughters sadly died at the age of 16 on 3rd September 1904. Fredrick Warren, who served his marine draughtsmanship apprentice time at Cochran's Shipyard at Beverley designed Phyllis's lines with, according to Peter Warren, a particular view to sailing ability. Unfortunately his original yard drawings of Phyllis were lost along with many more from the yard collection before being taken in by the Hull City Archive.
  • William Henry Warren was born in Falmouth Cornwall in the year 1859 and died at 64 on 30th October 1923 leaving 6504. 10s to the family. His first wife, Mary Elisa Bacon was born in Beverley Yorkshire in 1860 and died at the age of 30 in 1890 he later married Annie Elizabeth. Eldest son Fred died 1st November 1930 at the age of 48 leaving 2403. 7s to his mother and brother. Youngest son Ernest Peter Warren was born in 1884 and died at 64 in 1948, after his death the shipyard was managed by Peter Warren and W. H Ward until its sale to Cooks of Hedon Yorkshire in 1960. the last vessel to be built by Warrens was a 28ft loa divers boat for British Transport Docks of Hull, yard number 334.
  • Phyllis.
  • With a roughly 20% Barton population increase to 6,673, in the 1911 census the 47 year old James Barraclough describes himself as 'Keel and Sloop Owner' and employer at West Holme, Westfield Road. With him are his wife, five of their children and their general domestic servant, eighteen year old Alice Kirkby. John Will, 23, is working as a Clerk (Coal Exporter's office), certainly his father's business at Imperial Chambers, Bowlalley Lane in Hull. The 1909 Kelly's shows 'James Barraclough, Sloop Owner, Westfield Road, which has substantial properties that are most definitely not Waterside.
  • John Will married Louisa Clapson in September 1912. Warrens built the lighter Charity, their last ship for James Barraclough in 1913. Lilian and Elma both got married in 1919. That year's Kelly's Directory shows James Barraclough JP and Member of the Urban District Council. Phyllis became a schoolteacher at Cleethorpes and married James McKenzie in 1922; they had a daughter and a son who was killed in a motorbike accident at 19. Ivy married in 1925 and Rhoda in 1928. Phyllis is remembered by her niece Sheila Clapson-Kerr, John Will's daughter now in her eighties, as a beautiful woman with red hair.
  • An interesting footnote is that William Henry Barroclough had a daughter called Amy, she went on to marry a local chap called Charles. When William Barraclough bought the sloop rigged keel "I Know" in 1922 he renamed the ship after his now married daughter "Amy Howson", that vessel is now restored and sailing thanks to the Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society. So in life Phyllis Barraclough and Amy Howson were cousins.

Site created May 2009

By Kath Jones & Alan Gardiner.

If anyone has any memories of working for James Barraclough or have a story about working on Phyllis or any of the Barraclough barges we would like to hear from you.
If you have any comments or questions on the content of the site or would like to add something to it regarding any of the sloops we would also like to hear from you.


Interesting Links

Humber Keel & Sloop Preservation Society.

National Historic Ships Reg.

Thames Barges

Goole Waterways Museum.
Dutch Barge Association.
In The Boat Shed.
Humber Packet Boats.
Leicester Trader.
Humber Yawl Club.
Brilliant Star

Rodney Clapson

Richlow Books

Sailing Barge Research

West Country Keels

Waterways of the Humber
By Christine Richardson.

Barges and Docks

Sheffield Ships.

 Sloop "Amy Howson"

 Sloop "Spider T.

 Keel "Comrade".

 Keel "Daybreak".

 Keel "Southcliffe".

 Keel "Hope".

 Keel "Eden".


The Barton Regatta

Leeboards Explained

Telling The Differance


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