Goole is a town, civil parish and inland port located approximately from the sea at the confluence of the rivers Don and Ouse in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, although historically within the West Riding of Yorkshire. According to the 2011 UK census, Goole parish had a population of 19,518, an increase on the 2001 UK census figure of 17,600. The port is highly versatile and capable of handling nearly 3 million tonnes of cargo per annum, making it one of the most important ports on the east coast of England.
The Dutch civil engineer Cornelius Vermuyden diverted the River Don northwards to the River Ouse in 1626-1629, to drain the marshland of Hatfield Chase at the behest of King Charles I. It made the new lower Don - known as the Dutch River - navigable for barges, so that coal from the South Yorkshire Coalfield could be transported to the new confluence, for transfer to seagoing vessels. There the engineers built a new wooden bridge - rebuilt in iron in the 1890s, now known as the Dutch Bridge - where to its east formed a new village called "Goole".
In the 1820s, the Aire and Calder Navigation company proposed development of a new canal to transport coal, from existing broad canal from Knottingley in the northern sector of the coalfield in 1826. Once it reached Goole, the company proposed development of a new floating dock, capable of handling larger sea-going vessels. Chief engineer William Hamond Bartholomew was instructed to build the canal, docks and an associated company town to house both the dock workers and visiting seamen. Bartholomew commissioned civil engineer and builder Sir Edward Banks company to construct part of the canal, the eight transshipment docks, and to layout the associated new town to the west of the existing wooden bridge. Resultantly, the "Banks Arms Hotel" on Aire Street - today known as the "Lowther Hotel" - was in 1824 the first building constructed in what was known as "New Goole"; The Macintosh public house on the same street took its name from engineer Hugh Macintosh.
When Goole opened as a port, it was a new community of about 450 people. Now it is a town with about 18,000 inhabitants.
Three locks keep the water in of floating docks at a constant depth of , by preventing the level from rising and falling with the tides in the River Ouse. Once ships are within the complex, eight docks provide a total quayside of . Beside the docks are transit sheds where cargo is stored, many of which are equipped with overhead cranes.
Bartholomew introduced the Tom Pudding system of compartment boats, which could carry around of coal in 1863. On reaching the docks, the barges were lifted by large hoists, form which they could be discharged directly into seagoing ships, a system which proved so successful that it competed against rail until 1985.
For most of its life, the port was most associated with the shipment of coal, and associated cargoes including the importation of pit props. With the demise the mining industry, the former Timber Pond is now a marina, trading under the name Goole Boathouse. It has berths for 150 boats and is the largest inland waterway marina in Yorkshire.
After a period of decline, commodities were replaced by containers, the export of steel, and the import of timber from north-eastern Europe. Today the Port of Goole has regular cargo liner services to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco and South Africa; plus a transshipment route to Europort, Rotterdam.