The Don affords intercommunication with Goole and the Humber.
The Levels, as this district is generally named, are of remarkable fertility, and Thorne, having water communication with Goole and the Humber, is consequently an agricultural centre of importance; while some barge-building and a trade in peat fibre are also carried on.
The town owes its existence to the construction of the Knottingley canal in 1826 by the Aire and Calder Navigation Company, after which, in 1829, Goole was made a bonding port.
The latter's uncle, George Leather, was engineer of the Great Aire and Calder Navigation Company, of the Goole Docks, and other similar works, and Fowler passed occasionally into his employment, in which he acquired a thorough knowledge of hydraulic engineering.
The principal ports for the shipping of coal for export, set down in order of the amount shipped, also fall very nearly into topographical groups, thus: - Newcastle, South Shields and Blyth in the Northern District; Newport in Monmouthshire; Sunderland in the Northern District, Hull, Grimsby and Goole on the Humber, which forms the eastern outlet of the Yorkshire coal-fields; Hartlepool, in the Northern District, and Liverpool.
The ports of Hull and Goole have been administratively combined since 1888, the conservancy of the river being under the Humber Conservancy Board.
The course is carefully buoyed and lighted, for the Humber is an important highway of commerce, having on the Yorkshire bank the great port of Hull, and on the Lincolnshire bank that of Grimsby, while Goole lies on the Ouse a little above the junction with the Trent.
It has communication with Liverpool by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and with Goole and the Humber by the Aire and Calder Navigation.
The main line of the Aire and Calder navigation runs from Goole by Castleford to Leeds, whence the Leeds and Liverpool canal, running by Burnley and Blackburn, completes the connexion between the Humber and the Mersey.