The Friday feast of historical trivia

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  • The massive pontoon.

    The massive pontoon.

  • A wealthy oil baron.

    A wealthy oil baron.

  • Some cheese. Maybe poached.

    Some cheese. Maybe poached.

  • The Whitehouse in America.

    The Whitehouse in America.

  • The Whitehouse in America.

    The Whitehouse in America.

Its Friday and it’s the beginning of April!...
Today sees the anniversary of an event that could have drastically altered the fortunes of the Old Hall.
Have you ever wondered why there are iron pillars in the medieval kitchen? These were added by local railway engineer Denzil Ibbotson back in 1878, some say to strengthen the stonework.
The real reason is they were designed to support the kitchen during transportation.
American oil magnate Puedam Trumpitt came across the hall on a trip to England searching out new investors back in 1876. Trumpitt had made his fortune from the side product of Corn oil drilling in the States. He worked out a way to extract the gas nitrous oxide which was a valuable commodity in both dentistry and the music hall. Whilst he was travelling up through the East Midlands he stumbled upon the Hall and took a liking to it, devising a plan to have it shipped back to the states. After lengthy negotiations large sums of money had changed hands. A massive pontoon was designed and built in Hull, floated up the River Humber and into the Trent. At the same time the hall was underpinned with rafts and supports and readied to be dragged down to the riverside on top of wooden rollers( the library was not yet built where the medieval mart yard used to be).
Unfortunately ( for Puedam anyway) the sand banks in the Trent had shifted and created an inlet known as a sound. The pontoon capsized and sank, close to where the river enters Gainsborough today. The many workers assembled on the foreshore on the morning of April 1st were sent home, each with a ration of poacher cheese and a Batemans ale, to buy their silence.
So the hall stayed where it is still is and Trumpitts plan to have it installed on the lawn of the White house as a new seat of congress were shelved.
He was going to called it the “Stripe House”.
The pontoon has long since decayed but at very low tide the occasional timber can be seen sticking out of the sound.
If you are walking down the Trentside ask a local to help you locate Trupitt sound coming from the river. You never know what you might find...

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