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Tom Puddings & The Last Run

Inland Waterways, DVD Production

Tom Puddings & The Last Run
Inland Waterways, DVD Production

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The train of loaded pansBackground

In the 1860's, William Bartholomew the chief engineer of the Aire and Calder Navigation company, developed a new method of carrying coal in compartment boats.

Developed from Shropshire Tub Boats; the "Pans" or "Tom Puddings" as they were called, were capable of carrying up to 40 tons of coal and could be joined together into a train of 30 to 40 boats.

Puddings and tug leaving Syke House Lock A revolutionary design of hoist was developed using hydraulic machinery, which could lift each boat in turn and tip its contents into a ship. This method was both cheap and efficient, and wasted very little coal. Five such hoists were built in Goole docks.

The system was used for 120 years, carrying coal from Yorkshire pits to be exported from Goole. In April 1986, the Tom Puddings made their last run from the staithes at Doncaster to the Port of Goole, after which all the coal had to go by road.

DVD Part 1 - 'Tom Puddings'

Tug Hatfield and crew working the 'Last Run' The first part of the DVD is the Production "Tom Puddings" which follows the train of pans from Syke House Lock to Goole, where the boats are emptied into a waiting ship by No.5 boat hoist.

There is a commentary throughout and the hydraulic mechanisms are explained with animated diagrams.

DVD Part 2 - 'The Last Run'

The boat hoist at Goole The second part of the DVD "The Last Run" is a longer Compilation without commentary, which includes all the rest of the material we recorded in April 1986 of the last run of pans to Goole, views around the docks including the rail hoist and No.3 boat hoist which was later demolished, and four complete cycles of operation of No.5 hoist.

Empty pans by the boat hoist at Goole This DVD is a unique record of the use of Tom Puddings with detailed footage of boat handling and the working water-hydraulic mechanisms, seen from many different angles including on and inside the hoist. It combines our popular 1986 production "Tom Puddings", with the equally popular Compilation No.1: "The Last Run".

Short excerpts from the DVD

The Tom Puddings being moved

The boat hoist in operation

Animation showing how the boat hoist worked


"I could have enjoyed twice the footage"
Waterways World 1996
"Mesmerising and memorable" Waterways World 2010

"I.A.Recordings are to be congratulated for having the foresight to record this and other vanishing practices of the Industrial age and indeed, should be supported" Archive

Doncaster Staithes SE 5740 0369
Sykehouse Lock SE 6384 1611
No.5 boat hoist, Goole SE 7428 2287

Tom Puddings and The Last Run DVD case


  • Part 1 - "Tom Puddings" narrated by Andy Rutter
  • Part 2 - "The Last Run" has no commentary
  • © IAR 1986, 2008
  • Total running time: 47 mins.
  • Digitally re-mastered from original camera tapes
  • £13.45 - DVD
  • Price includes worldwide delivery.
  • ' PAL' and 'NTSC' versions available.


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The images on this page are taken from the video.

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Copyright © 2018 I.A.Recordings, Last modified: 12 November, 2019