Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Railway Children of Goole.

Tom Caukill - Marathon
Walker, Cyclist and Marksman

The Caukill and Taylor family that grew up in Parliament Street and Fourth Avenue, Goole, East Yorkshire were as close as any family living in the terraced streets of a northern town in Victorian Britain but more than that, both had been driven to the town by the decline in the farming industry in the late 19th century. Their life’s had changed considerably.   
William Pearson Caukill  and family lived across the street from fellow railway worker George Henry Taylor’s family in 1901. George’s brother Frederick had married William’s daughter . George and Frederick also worked on the town’s railways, along with brother in law’s Frank, George and Tom Caukill. In fact the only adult Caukill of this family not to work on the Railway in some capacity or other was mother and daughter, both named Mary.
Each of the male Caukill’s , as with their other relatives were well known in the small town of Goole and in turn, each would appear in the local newspaper, the Goole Times between 1890 and 1953, as a result of working with the Railway.
The first to hit the headlines was Francis Flint Caukill, born in 1869 , who’s life was tragically taken in an accident at work in 1890. The twenty one year old Pilot Guard’s story would appear in the newspaper on the days following his death. An inquest reported their findings of the accident leading to his departure ahead of time. Before death, Francis had been last seen 10 minutes before and he later was discovered face down on the Railway lines having been run over by a passing train. The newspaper report .concludes with details of Frank’s funeral.
William, Frank and Mary Ann
Twenty three years passed for the Caukill’s and then in 1903, Frank’s father William Pearson Caukill suffered a similar fate. At the age of 59, with his last train in sight, William , a Plate Layer was hit by a Pilot Train, only a matter of metres away from the location in which his son was also killed. The inquest followed almost as swiftly as the newspaper hit the streets. This time the inquest focused on the carelessness of the Platelayers, and seemed to lay the blame on them in general. Unlike his son, however, William hung on for a good 20 minutes after admission to hospital, in what a best, must have been an uncomfortable journey. The inquest delivered a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’. Perhaps the case today would have taken a different direction.
Mr G H Caukill –
 Old Railway Servant’ 
In 1935, it was the turn of Thomas Caukill. Thomas was born to William and Mary in 1870. Tom, also a Plate Layer on the Railway, hit the newspapers for completely different reasons. On the occasion of his 65th birthday, Tom, reluctant to retire, presents his case. Citing miles walked at work over the last 46 years of work as in excess of 130,000. Following a medical examination, it was claimed that Tom’s eye sight was no longer up to scratch , yet despite this Tom had successfully won some Local Rifle Shooting competitions and this against men half of his age. Not only this but Tom enjoyed nothing more than cycling 10 miles on his 30 year old bicycle. The final line of the news report summed up his attitude to work and to life ’ he is now to be a gentleman of leisure, and the prospect is not a pleasing one to him’
The final Caukill to be covered by the local Newspaper was George, born in 1863, George died aged 89 in 1953. His obituary was headlined ‘ Death at 89 of Mr G H Caukill – Old Railway Servant’ which could not be more apt for this family’s story of life on the Railways.
Images have been created and manipulated from old photocopies and microfiche records. Full versions can be seen here.

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