The Bargeman's Daughter

Kitty Shackleton recounts her experiences travelling with her father on his barge, the 'Nab'.

Hull on Film: Tales From A City Exhibition (2018) by Yorkshire Film ArchiveYorkshire Film Archive

Kitty Shackleton with Buster the dog (1952)Yorkshire Film Archive

The Bargeman's Daughter: Kitty Shackleton

Kitty Shackleton came to one of YFA’s Hull on Film screenings at the Maritime Museum, and kindly agreed to be filmed talking about life with her bargeman father, Captain Jim Richardson. It was a privilege to hear her story. 

Saxilby with bargeYorkshire Film Archive

Kitty told us that, from the age of 12, she would often wake up in the middle of the night and join her father on a trip aboard his barge the ‘Nar’.

They would load up the barge with 40 tons of wheat and Kitty's bicycle. Together they would sail up the estuary, down the Trent and the Fosse Dyke, to the mills at Gainsborough and Saxilby. When tired out, Kitty would head for the hold, where she would curl up to sleep on the sacks.

Kitty Shackleton - The Bargeman's Daughter (2018) by Yorkshire Film ArchiveYorkshire Film Archive

Kitty with her family (1952)Yorkshire Film Archive

Right to left: Kitty’s Father Captain Jim Richardson, brother Jim, Mother Lily, elder sister Silvie, younger sister Rosemary sat at the front, Kitty on the deck chair and Silvie’s friend Rita.

Kitty Shackleton on her bike (1954)Yorkshire Film Archive

Kitty aged 14. She regularly cycled to Withernsea and Hornsea on Sundays.

Captain Jim Richardson on his motor scooter (1952)Yorkshire Film Archive

Captain Jim Richardson and his son, also called Jim.

Captain Jim RichardsonYorkshire Film Archive

Jim Richardson, Kitty’s father, was captain of the ‘Nar’. He lost an eye fighting in the Army during the Second World War, and on returning to Hull was sometimes known as Captain One-Eyed Jim Richardson.

Work on the barge could also be hazardous; on one occasion an unfortunate incident with the wire tow rope severed Jim’s finger clean off.

Captain Jim Richardson on the Thames (1950)Yorkshire Film Archive

Clarence Flour MillsYorkshire Film Archive

Clarence Mills owned by J. Arthur Rank where the Nar was loaded with wheat and barley.

Credits: Story

We are indebted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting our work to preserve these films and make them accessible for future generations. The research has been extensive and this exhibition contains only some of the stories we have discovered. To see further films visit

It is not possible to list everyone who has helped with this project – we are hugely grateful for the generosity of responses we have received, from families, historians and volunteers. In particular we would like to thank:

Kitty Shackleton, Val Baxter, Jonathan Barker, Tom Goulder, Malcolm Dunn, Daniel Morgan, Dr. David Marchant and the East Riding of Yorkshire Museum Service.

Curator: Martin Watts, Hull on Film
Editor: Andy Burns, Yorkshire Film Archive
Writer: Ruth Patman Yorkshire Film Archive
Archivist: Megan McCooley, Yorkshire Film Archive

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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