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Collected Personal Memories Of The 1970s

Gathering together the shorter personal memories about holidays and life in Broadland during the 1970s.

1970s History 1970s Memories 1970s Gallery

We begin this section with an account from Graeme Cushion of his first two trips on the Broads in the 1970s:

My first experience of the Broads was back in 1974. I had been asked by a couple of friends who I had been at school with to make up a third person to hire a boat. Of course I jumped at the chance. It was Jayne from Martham (can’t remember the exact one). Petrol engine as I remember and the throttle/gear lever looked like it had come out of a signal box.


The first thing I remember is that Martin made an offering of two packets of Consulate cigarettes to the Gods of the River as we loaded things on board. Of course he made it look like he tripped. For Sunday dinner Dave had decided that we were having a chicken and all the trimmings (don’t know what he was thinking). As he was basting said chicken we hit the wake of another boat. I still remember the way that it slid around on the floor as the boat bobbed up and down, well it made me laugh.  Did we eat it?? 3 young lads, of course we did.

Funny how I seemed to be the one always in the cabin doing the steering, but I enjoyed every minute.  Well almost every minute. We were to do the Southern Broads as well and so stayed over night in Yarmouth. Next day we set off for Breydon. Don’t forget I was a complete novice and we didn’t have any maps as such. On being told by Martin that we needed to turn right at the marker and seeing what lay ahead I uttered something along the lines of “Not F****** likely” and did a 180 degree turn back to Yarmouth. This was before Breydon Bridge had been built. We did get through though (I followed another boat that looked like it new what it was doing). Whilst down there we stayed at Norwich for one night where we were set adrift while we slept.


On the last day we headed back to Martham and under the dreaded Potter Bridge. As it was my turn to steer, yet again, it was decided that I would be the one to take her through (yes I know there’s a pilot service or at least I do now). When I made comment about the clearance they told me not to worry. Surprising how much lower in the water she was after the sea cocks had been opened.


But none of this put me off and we were back again the next year.  This time Lorencia 3 from Richardsons, brand new that year. About day two we were moored up doing something to eat when a boat went speeding past, the wash rocking the boat so bad the cooker fell over! Surprising how quick 4 people can leave a boat, I missed my footing on the quay side and badly bruised my leg. But of course that wasn’t the end of it. The key broke off in the door lock. I managed to run her aground in Rockland.  And on our way back from Norwich, just passing Thorpe we lost all steering control. This in the days before mobile phones, luckily a police patrol boat was passing and they passed on the message.

Berney Arms moorings 1975

See more of Graeme’s photos from 1975 here

Memories of boating holidays on the Broads in the 1970s and 1980s from Chris Dobson:


My love with the Norfolk Broads started in the mid 1970’s when my father decided that he would hire a boat for a weeks’ holiday in July (probably in 1976). He managed to involve a family friend who had a daughter the same age as myself and duly, two boats were booked via Hoseasons, from Pearson Marine at Reedham.


 We picked up “Golden Arrow II”, a 30ft forward drive cruiser, whilst the other family had a traditional, wooden construction cruiser with centre cockpit, and cruised to Oulton Broad in glorious weather. We managed to see most of the Broads in that first week, Acle, Coltishall, Stalham, Beccles and Loddon. Between 1976 and 1987 we had at least a dozen holidays on the Broads, hiring boats from Brister Craft (in Brundall and then Wroxham), Aston Boats (in Beccles) and then latterly Harvey Eastwood (in Brundall).


Golden Arrow Hoseasons 1975

Golden Arrow - Come Boating with Hoseasons 1975

A slight scrape with Beccles old bridge and a water pump drive belt failure on Breydon Water didn’t put us off. My memory is of hot, sunny days, swimming at Coltishall and Stalham, a “posh” evening meal at the Waveney House Hotel in Beccles and not catching a single fish, ever. Half day closing in Acle was a pain! Those were innocent holidays…


I graduated from university in 1987 and found myself working for May Gurney in Norwich, so whilst boating holidays were no more, I was able to live in the area I had come to love in the previous decade. My girlfriend at the time worked with the daughter of a well-known boat builder, based in Brundall, so I was able to spend some time messing about in boats at weekends.


I moved away from Norfolk as my career developed, working in Saudi Arabia, UK and latterly in Canada. Family holidays usually involved renting a cottage in UK and in the last few years we have found ourselves being gently pulled back to holidays in Norfolk.


This year (2017) we (my wife, daughter and 2 year old Black Lab) have taken the plunge and have booked a boat for a week in July (Barnes Brinkcraft Royale 3). With some surprise the old maps and guides have been found (now very much out of date) and the quest is on to replace them with modern day versions. I’ve re discovered the importance of tides and clearance under the Yarmouth bridges (the boat we have hired has an air draught of 8ft 6 inches, much greater than anything hired previously).


It was with a deal of disappointment that it appears that Pearson Marine, Brister Craft and Aston Boats are no longer in existence (at least in the boat hire world). It will be interesting to see how it’s all changed in the 30 years we’ve been away from boating. What I did find surprisingly difficult was choosing the boat, booking and looking at a cruising itinerary without being able to involve my father, who passed away in 2013. He would have loved a final week boating, or at least being involved in the planning of an adventure.


So the adventure begins (again). The journey to Wroxham from the East Midlands will be less of an issue (when we started cruising holidays on the Broads Swaffham and Dereham bypasses were mere dreams. Driving through Swaffham on carnival weekend was interesting!)