Gathering together the shorter personal memories about holidays and life in Broadland during the 1950s.
After reading mention of the hire boat “Caroline” in the 1950s historical overview, John Hughes contacted us with his memories of that boat and of Porter and Hayletts of Wroxham:
“She was the boat of my second Broads holiday in 1956. All Porter and Hayletts boats were named to end in "ine", hence Caroline. But her real, full, name was Caroline June and she was, in fact, owned by a Wroxham pub landlord and operated by Porter and Haylett for hire. She was named after the daughter of the owner. She, the boat (I never met the owner or daughter), was lovely! I believe she was built by Porter and Haylett, and was in "as new” condition. I think she was only 1 or 2 years old, in any case. The two owners of the boatyard were a Mr Porter and a Mr Haylett. My memory now gets confused as to who was who, but, both were delightful enthusiasts and real gents. One was slightly built and seemed to mainly look after the "business details". I think this was Mr Haylett. The other was much more portly and more directly involved with the boats. I think this was Mr Porter. Between them they epitomised everything that was special and good about the Norfolk Broads hire industry at that time.
On the day we took over Caroline (June), we arrived in Wroxham at 6.30 in the morning, having travelled overnight from Manchester on the Robinsons coach service. As might be assumed, Wroxham was not exactly buzzing at that time! A cafe opened about 7.30, but this still left a lot of time to kill until the official take over time of 4.00 pm. At about 11.00 ish, we, Dad, Mum, and me (young 15 year old), plucked up courage to go to the yard to enquire about the possibility of the boat being ready earlier than the due time of 4.00. Mr Porter couldn’t have been more helpful and understanding. Bags were put onboard, kettle was boiled, even as he was completing a thorough mechanical check over. Boat had already been cleaned and was spotless inside. Caroline was also beautiful outside, but Mr Porter insisted on some touching up of paint and varnish before we set sail on our happy holiday much earlier than the due time.
Visiting the yard later in the week, Mr Porter was generous in his time in showing me round the new builds in his sheds, all beautiful wooden boats at the time, and lending me his bike to visit the chip shop which, at the time, was a bit up the road towards Norwich. Lovely times, lovely boats and lovely people”
If you read something in the archive which jogs some memories, or feel that you have a tale to contribute then please do get in contact