Goole MBC was formed in September 1997. For much of that time the membership remained fairly static but since 2005 it has grown rapidly from 14 to over 50. This was probably due to the club having its own boating pond and publicising itself better. Like many other model boat clubs, the age range of members tends to be at the top end of the scale, though recent recruitment has started to see an influx of some younger enthusiasts. Members come from as far as Leeds in the west, Hull and Bridlington in the east, York in the north and Chesterfield to the south.
Initially the club sailed from the slipway at the Goole Boatyard Marina or on the Aire and Calder canal in front of the Yorkshire Waterways Museum. The club and the museum have always had a close working relationship, which directly led to the invitation to build a pond on the No. 5 Boat Hoist site. ABP Ltd owns the site and leases it to the museum, as it contains a number of historic listed structures. The most important is the last remaining, and Grade II* listed, hydraulic boat-hoist, a structure of national importance. Also on the site are the last four remaining Bartholomew ‘compartment boats’, more commonly known as Tom Puddings.
The site is half a half a mile away from the museum, but on the same road and stretch of canal, so it was advantageous to have a resident organisation based there. The benefits to both organisations were immediately obvious as the boat club would have somewhere secure to build its pond and the museum would have an associated body that was prepared to maintain the site. The location may be unique in model boating circles as it is situated within a museum, which itself is within a working and growing port. Members frequently sail with full size vessels tied up and loading/unloading within 30 metres of the lake, with four moored nearby not being unusual.
When the club moved onto the site in 2003 it was all but derelict and even contained the remains of one of the bridges that had been replaced on the nearby Dutch River. All this had to be cleared before the contractors could move in and excavate and line the pond with clay.
Even after the Humberside Fire Service had kindly filled the pond there was much left to do.
A car park had to be laid, a toilet installed in the listed ‘lobby’ building and a 60ft by 7ft concrete staging built to sail from. Although this work was completed, further work has since been carried out by members. Major problems with leakage lead to the whole perimeter of the pond being lined with timber and the gap behind in-filled with 16 tons of clay.
There are still on-going tasks that have to be undertaken such as cutting the considerable expanse of grass, all of which is carried out by members. Even though the club has been on site for some 8 years it is really only in the last 5 years that it has become fully functional and a facility to be proud of. The facilities include a dedicated building containing a meeting room with open coal fire, hot running water, lighting, two microwave cookers and hot drink facilities. Also in the building are a toilet and a workshop fitted with lighting, a work-bench and power.
Due to the site being privately owned members can sail at any time they wish, as there are none of the imposed restrictions that come with using municipal parks etc. There is, however, a dedicated club sailing period every Saturday afternoon, from 1:30 pm, and on a Wednesday, come rain or shine and this has certainly attracted some new members. On the third Saturday of each month, from 1:00 pm, there is a formal meeting at the Waterways Museum where members discuss the running of the club, although sailing does take place after the meeting.