Company Town

by Gezz Overington

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There was but few scattered farms beside the River Ouse
Tall masted ships to Selby sailed with weathered sailor crews
Vermuyden came to Hatfield Chase and he said “I’ll drain the land”
The banks and the dykes and Dutch river were built or dug by hand

The hamlets grew throughout the years and people prospered well
’Til men from the Aire and Calder came their own strange tale to tell
We’ll build an inland waterway with docks and housing too
A company town with jobs of work, that’s what we’ll build for you

The navigators came in droves with hammer, pick and spade
They broke the stone and hewed the land and miles of concrete laid
By ’26 the work was done and ships moored by the quay
The waterway ran through and straight from Goole to Knottingley

Then hoists and pans and tugs were built to hurry down the coal
From Yorkshire’s pits down the waterways into the collier ships hold
The port it boomed and ships they sailed on a fast flowing Humber tide
All bound for the swell of the northern sea to nations far and wide
A song relating to the draining of Hatfield Chase in South Yorkshire and the subsequent construction of the Aire and Calder Navigation.

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