A wonderful collection of photographs which document one family’s holidays on the Norfolk Broads during the First World War. Sadly, this is yet another photograph album which has been orphaned from its family and I have no background information on the people seen here. Other albums belonging to the same family were up for sale at the time I purchased these and seemed to show that they were fairly well healed, and there may have been a military connection too. When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, the government under Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith introduced a “business as usual” policy, encouraging the population to carry on their normal daily lives in order to keep up morale. Popular belief held that it would all be over by Christmas. On the Broads, yachts could still be hired, but as the war dragged on it was to affect the lives of everyone. For those who could afford such holidays, a cruise on the Norfolk Broads must have been a welcome break from the hardships and realities that the war brought to the country. You can read more in Holidaying on the Norfolk Broads during the First World on the Broadland Memories Blog.
This is believed to be Repps Level Drainage Mill on the River Thurne. After falling into disuse, the mill was later converted for residential use and can now be hired as a holiday home.
There are some wonderful bathing costumes on display here, but the one being worn by this chap looks more like those worn by ladies.
Drying out on the aft deck of “Victoria” after the swim.
Captioned as “The 2 yachts tied up for night against bank”. The second, smaller yacht was named as “Mavis” but I’ve not been able to find any information on it yet.
Blakes 1916 brochure continued: “The greatest charm a holiday spent in this manner holds for one is its perfect freedom and peacefulness, its absolute change and unconventionality; indeed the feeling of independence is paramount, and so long as one respects the few recognised laws of the district there is little you cannot do.”
Lounging on the aft deck.
“Victoria” and “Mavis” moored alongside one another.
“Mrs H sailing smallest yacht ‘Mavis”
The final two photographs from the 1915 holiday were taken at Oulton Broad.
Emptying the dinghy at Oulton Broad.
The first photograph in the set was captioned on the reverse: “Party on board yacht ‘Victoria’ July 1915” and shows the holiday group with the skipper and mate whose services would have been included within the hire terms for a large yacht such as this. The rest of the images on this page are from the same holiday.
Another photograph of the holiday party. Built by John Loynes, Victoria was listed as being a 17 ton “smart cutter-rigged yacht with comfortable sleeping accommodation for seven persons“. The crew slept in cots in the forepeak which also housed the stove on which meals for the party would have been prepared. The ladies slept in the aft cabin whilst the gentlemen berthed in the saloon. A small toilet compartment was situated opposite the companionway between the two cabins.”Victoria” would have cost around £8 10s to hire for a week in July. On sister ships Coral and Volunteer a small piano could be hired for an additional 15 shillings per week.
A foal and its mother, presumably taken at the same time as the last photograph at Repps Level Mill.
Captioned as “Passing a bungalow at Potter Heigham.”
“South Walsham Broad - a funny story!”
Another shot of the holiday party. These photographs feature men who would have been of fighting age but, at the time this photograph was taken, there was no compulsory conscription, those who signed up did so voluntarily, encouraged by the famous poster campaign which featured Lord Kitchener. By the beginning of 1916 it became clear that it was not going to be possible to continue fighting with just volunteers alone. In March 1916, compulsory active service was introduced for all single men between the ages of 18 and 41, and in May that was extended to include married men. Clergymen, teachers and certain classes or those deemed to be employed in jobs which were vital to the war effort were exempt, as were those who were medically unfit.
Photographs of Broadland during the First World War seem to be relatively scarce. The wonderful “Cruise of the Yacht Frolic”, a log of a honeymoon taken on the Broads in 1918 which can be found within the personal memories section of the website, mentions that rolls of film were difficult to procure as it was needed for military use.
“On board ‘Victoria’”
Another in the series of photographs taken of the party on board “Victoria:.
Blakes 1916 Yachting List gave a wonderful introduction to the delights of cruising on the Norfolk Broads: “All lovers of nature will be greatly impressed the moment they find themselves on this wonderful lakeland, for one feels the glamour of it stealing over you. We cannot overrate the attractions or The Broads.”
Another view of “Victoria” cruising on the river, presumably photographed by the group on “Mavis”.
A wonderful photograph, captioned: “Birds eye view of Beccles town from top of tower. Yachts tied up on river.” You can see both the rail bridge and the old road bridge here.
Taken at the same time as the previous photograph, this shows four of the party at the top of the church tower in Beccles.