The Lowther Hotel History


The Hotel was built in 1824 and was the very first building in Goole. Built by Sir Edward Banks (famous for building two bridges over the Thames) this was two years before the dock was opened. It was bought by the Aire and Calder Navigation Company (the people who built the dock and canal) in 1828.

The Aire and Calder used the rooms on the first floor at the front of the building as their board room and Chairman’s office where they had murals painted. They used these up to the 1960’s. These have recently been rediscovered and renovated along with the restoration of the building, making it one of the most important buildings in Britain because of its industrial heritage. These can be viewed by appointment.

The murals in the board room show a view of Goole in 1828 from the other side of the river. This shows how quickly Goole grew in a very short space of time. It also shows The Lowther from the side and shows that as well as the portico on the front, it also had one on the side of the building. We believe that this was the entrance where the luggage was unloaded, after the Lady and Gentleman had been set down at the front of the building, before the coach and horses were taken around the back to be stored in the coach house and stabled.

It was called The Banks Arms to begin with and remained so until 1835 when Sir Edward Banks died and the decision was taken to rename the hotel after the first chairman of the Aire and Calder Navigation Company, Sir John Lowther. It has been known as The Lowther Hotel ever since.

The hotel was a very prestigious hotel in the 1800’s and had much money spent on it. It had a Minton floor installed somewhere between1878 and 1882. This has been rediscovered and restored and is now in daily use in the entrance and hotel reception.

Coffee shops are not new and The Lowther had a coffee lounge installed in the late 1800’s. This had to be one of the few outside London. Sadly this was removed many years ago but we continue the tradition with our Italian coffee machine and premier Italian coffee.

It is believed that much of the money to build the docks, canal and the town came from the woollen mills in the West Riding of Yorkshire and certainly Goole played a huge part in supplying materials to fuel the Industrial Revolution.

Goole is only one of two company towns not created by Quakers. Because it was the very first building it was where most things in the town started. The school started here along with the Magistrates Court, church services were held here and the local Masonic lodge started here. Because all decisions were made here, no town hall was built in Goole.

To celebrate the opening of the first dock on July 20th 1828, there was a ceremony where there was a ships canon gun salute from one of Sir Edward’s ships. One of these cannons was put on the front portico to commemorate this and remained there until 1969 when it was unfortunately stolen. Many stories are still told in Goole about who stole it and where it is now, all good fun. After frequent requests we have put a replica of the original back where it belongs to celebrate the Lowther Hotel being reopened as the prestigious hotel it once was.

The portico was used for many other things over the years. It was one of the few places where the Riot Act was read from after one election in the late 1870’s.

Unfortunately on August 9th 1915 Goole docks were bombed by a Zeppelin. Bombing wasn’t too accurate in those days and many of the bombs hit the town. Twenty six people lost their lives and the front of The Lowther Hotel was blown in.

Somehow over the following years it stopped being a hotel and became a popular pub. Many tales of Mrs Hall (landlady for many years) are fondly remembered by the older residents of Goole. It briefly became night club and when that closed it quickly fell into neglect and became derelict.

It was bought by the Julie Howard Partnership in 2008 and underwent full renovation, and reopened on the 19th August 2010 with many of its original features either restored or replaced. A small number of before and after photographs are shown below:

Please note. Our mural rooms can be viewed by appointment only due to the rooms being used for meetings & functions.