Everyone has heard of Beverley Minster and Beverley Racecourse, but ask about Beverley Beck and chances are you will get a blank look, even from locals. It is very much Beverley’s forgotten history.
“Beverley Beck”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/attraction/199561-beverley-beck was a tidal tributary of the River Hull and has been used since C12/13th to carry goods between Beverley to the River Humber and North Sea. Beverley was a major port in the C14th with its prosperity based on the wool trade.
The beck was canalised in the C18th and a lock built to control access to the beck and also control water levels in it. It continued to be used until the 1970s.
MV Syntan is typical of the barges used on the Beck in the mid C20th. She was built at Paull Shipyard on the River Humber and was used to carry coal and hides for Richard Hodgson’s Tannery on Flemingate in Beverley. Cargo was unloaded from the barge at Beverley Beck and then taken the short distance by road to the tannery.
The tanning industry collapsed in the 1970s. The warehouses were left derelict and the barges sold off. In 2000 Syntan was discovered at Doncaster Power Station, vandalised and half sunk. The “Beverley Barge Preservation Society”:http://www.syntanbarge.org.uk/ was formed to rescue and restore her. She is now moored at Crane Wharf on the south side of Beckside.
The diesel engine was at the front of the barge. The back was the living quarters, a very compact space with box bed and small stove. This was originally reached by a ladder from the deck, although there is now a door giving access from the cargo area.
The bulk of the barge was used for cargo and is now a display area and can be hired as a meeting venue.
The Society have also bought two more vessels, Sun and Mermaid which can also be seen moored up at Crane Wharf. Sun is a British Waterways powered Mud Hopper. Mermaid was originally a lifeboat tender to the Trinity House vessel Mermaid. She was used to take crew members to lighthouses, buoys and other navigational equipment. They can be hired for short charters along the Beck and out into the River Humber.
The boats are open most Sunday afternoons or on Heritage Open days. Entry is free, but a donation is appreciated. They are available for hire.
Crane Wharf is on the south side of Beverley Beck near the Beck Head. Access is off the B1230. The post code is HU17 0GG.