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1970s History 1970s Memories

1970s Photo Gallery

The John Chesney Collection


The next collection of photographs were taken by John Chesney and date from the mid to late 1970s. Sadly, John passed away in July 2010, but his wife Joyce sent me a large collection of the wonderful photographs he had taken of Broadland over many years of boating holidays. John and Joyce first visited the Broads in 1967 aboard the wooden motor cruiser “Cumulus” from Johnson's yard at St. Olaves. A lifelong love of Broadland began on that trip and, over the years, they revisited over 70 times on various cruisers. John was a keen photographer who developed and printed all of the photographs seen here himself, and the collection provides a wonderful record of the Norfolk and Suffolk broads during this era.

Norwich Yacht Station 1970s

Norwich Yacht Station, photographed from Foundry Bridge in October 1978 - even at this time of year you can see that it was quite busy! On the left is the Norwich Recorder Motor Company, a site which is now occupied by the Riverway Court development of apartments.

Norwich Yacht Station 1970s

Another view of Norwich yacht Station from the late 1970s, this time a little earlier in the season, where the boats can be seen double moored up ahead.

The view from the moorings at Norwich Yacht Station, looking up towards Bishops Bridge, also pictured in the late 1970s. In the foreground is G804 “San Remo 2” which was hired from Johnsons of St. Olaves. “San Remo” was a Mk 2 Hampton Safari which went on to become “Lochmore” with Moore & Co at Wroxham before being sold to a private owner in the 1990s.

Norwich Riverside 1970s

Heading upstream towards Foundry Bridge on the River Wensum - the Hotel Nelson, which had opened in 1967, can be seen on the left. On the right, nearest the bridge, you can see the vessel which was used by the Norwich Sea Scouts and, in the foreground is the passenger boat “Regal Lady” which used to run river trips out of Norwich at this time.

Norwich Riverside 1970s

A view of the riverside area of Norwich which has changed dramatically in recent years! Looking downstream towards Carrow Bridge, on the left was the engineering works of Boulton & Paul and in the foreground on the right was Moys coal yard. In the distance, on the right, you can see the buildings of R.J. Reads Flour Mill which originally began life as the Albion Yarn Mill. Reads moved their business to the site in the 1930s and large quantities of grain were regularly delivered by river. Closing in 1993, the buildings spent the next ten years or so becoming ever more derelict until the site was sold and work began in 2005 to redevelop the former mill and surrounding land into the massive “Reads Mill” apartment complex which we see here today.

Norwich Riverside 1970s

Another view of R.J. Reads Flour Mills from the late 1970s. The Novi Sad swing bridge, which opened to pedestrians and cyclists in November 2001, now crosses the river at roughly the same point where the coaster “Siri Maria” can be seen moored above. You can compare the modern view with this one in the Norwich section of “Then & Now” photographs within the Broadland Memories archive.

Norwich Riverside 1970s

Looking upstream from a similar location to the last photograph. The coaster “Bokanier”, seen on the left, was moored beside Moys coal depot with Boulton & Paul’s engineering works on the right. From humble beginnings as an ironmongery shop in Cockey Lane in Norwich which was set up by William Moore, Boulton & Paul went on to produce a vast range of products including agricultural implements and buildings, fencing, gates, electric generators, kitchen ranges, conservatories, glasshouses, sheds, garages and summerhouses, and a range of sectional buildings and bungalows, some of which can still be found around Broadland. The riverside works closed in 1986 and in the 1990s the site was cleared and the riverside retail park and the Wherry Road housing development were built in it’s place. Once again, a modern comparison photograph of this view can be found in the Then & Now section of the website.

Norwich Riverside 1970s

A little further upstream, just beyond where the Novi Sad bridge now crosses the river, approaching the Ferry Boat Inn and ABC Wharf on the left, with Boulton & Paul’s seen once again on the right. The Dutch barge seen moored on the left was the “Gestetner”. Looking at this view today you would see the Wherry Road housing development on the right and, in the distance, the Lady Julian footbridge. This photograph also features in the Norwich section of the Then & Now pages of the website.

Carrow Bridge 1970s

Carrow Road Bridge pictured in the late 1970s. The bridge was designed by A.E. Collins who was the city engineer and was built by J.Butler & Co. of Leeds and was actually the third Carrow Bridge, the first having been built c1810.  The current, single-leaf roller bascule lifting bridge was opened by the Prince of Wales in June 1923 and cost £42,000 to build - both Colmans and Bolton and Paul contributed towards the costs.

Norwich Power Station 1970s

This is the old Norwich power station which stood on the riverbank, roughly opposite Whitlingham Country Park, looking downstream and photographed immediately after passing beneath Trowse rail bridge. The power station was opened in 1926 after the original station in Duke Street in Norwich had reached full capacity. The coal which was needed to power the station was transported to the site by river on some of the large coasters which were once a regular site on the Yare and the Wesum. I haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact date when the station was demolished, but I believe it was during the 1980s. The wherry yacht “Olive” can be seen heading downstream. Again, this photograph is featured in the Then & Now section of the website with a modern comparison view.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

A diesel train crosses the rail bridge at the west end of Thorpe St. Andrew on the River Yare, pictured by John Chesney in 1975. The rail bridges at Thorpe St. Andrew were originally built as part of the Norwich and Yarmouth Railway which opened in May 1844, engineered by George and Robert Stephenson. This line became part of the Great Eastern Railway Company in 1904, and then part of the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923. In crossing the River yare at Thorpe, the low, fixed rail bridges were obviously going to become a serious navigational hazard for river traffic coming in and out of Norwich and so a new cut was dug to bypass Thorpe Green, thus creating what we now know as Thorpe Island. The first bridges were built of timber and the line was single track. In the early 1870s, the track was widened to become double track, and the nearby Whitlingham station was built. The current rail bridges were constructed by the LNER which was formed after the railways company’s grouped together in 1923.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Photographed during the spring of 1979, this is the bridge at Thorpe St. Andrew which was constructed by the Jenner’s boatyard during their expansion in the late 1960s. At that time the yards of Ward’s, Jenner’s and Hearts were almost operating as one yard, the bridge was to provide a means of getting customers over the river to the island. Shortly after the bridge was built, Jenner’s was taken over by the Caister Group who redistributed the fleet and closed down the yard at Thorpe. The land where the yard once stood was re-developed and housing was built in its place.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Heading upstream towards the west rail bridge, this photograph which dates from 1977 shows the Foundry House Hotel which was operated in conjunction with the Santa Lucia Hotel next door. On the far side of it is the River Garden public house. Early 20th century photos of Santa Lucia reveal why this later addition was given its name - a foundry once stood on the site, run by the Sabberton family up until the outbreak of the First World War. Hart’s 1850 trade directory lists Thomas Sabberton as being a machine maker and coal merchant here, whilst Kelly’s 1883 directory lists Charles Sabberton as being an engineer and (strangely!) an assessor of taxes! Both the Foundry House and Santa Lucia were converted into private dwellings in the late 1990s. A Then & Now comparison view of this scene can be found here on the website.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Another photo taken at Thorpe St. Andrew in the late 1970s by John Chesney. Heading downstream towards the green, on the left you can see the tower of St. Andrew’s church. Built in the 1860s to house a growing population, it replaced the medieval church which stood on the same site. Whilst most of that original church was demolished, the original tower remains and now acts as a gatehouse for the Victorian church. Early 20th century photographs show the tower as having an ornate spire - this apparently suffered bomb damage during the Second World War and was taken down in the mid 1950s. On the right you can see a Flat-Afloat houseboat - designed by Donald Hagenbach, who had purchased the Windboats yard from Graham Bunn in 1945, the Flat-Afloats proved to be popular holiday accommodation and appeared at various locations around the Broads during the early 1960s.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Another photo taken at Thorpe St. Andrew in the late 1970s by John Chesney. Heading downstream towards the green, on the left you can see the tower of St. Andrew’s church. Built in the 1860s to house a growing population, it replaced the medieval church which stood on the same site. Whilst most of that original church was demolished, the original tower remains and now acts as a gatehouse for the Victorian church. Early 20th century photographs show the tower as having an ornate spire - this apparently suffered bomb damage during the Second World War and was taken down in the mid 1950s. On the right you can see a Flat-Afloat houseboat - designed by Donald Hagenbach, who had purchased the Windboats yard from Graham Bunn in 1945, the Flat-Afloats proved to be popular holiday accommodation and appeared at various locations around the Broads during the early 1960s.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Another photograph of Thorpe Green, taken a little further downstream in 1977. In the distance you can see the Boat & Bottle public house (now the Rushcutters) and Hearts Cruisers boatyard. The large vessel seen moored on the right was “Morning Flight”, an ex military motor gun boat MGB56 which became the home to Commander Ron Ashby when he invested in Hearts Cruisers in 1948. By the early 1970s the yard was under the ownership of the Ladbrokes Group.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Dating from 1978, another photograph which shows the ex MGB “Morning Flight”, Hearts Cruisers and the Boat & Bottle public house at Thorpe St Andrew.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Another view of the Hearts Cruisers boatyard at Thorpe St. Andrew, taken by John Chesney in 1977. As previously mentioned, the yard was under the ownership of the Ladbrokes Group at this time, and was later sold to the Richardson Group. The cruiser in the foreground has the registration number B689 and looks to be another centre cockpit Elysian 27, so presumably another of the “Mistress of Hearts” class. Behind that is F844 “Leopardess of Hearts” which was an Aquafibre 38. This image is another which can be found with a modern comparison photograph of the same view in the Thorpe St. Andrew section of the Then & Now pages.

Thorpe St Andrew 1970s

Another view of the Hearts Cruisers boatyard at Thorpe St. Andrew, taken by John Chesney in 1977. As previously mentioned, the yard was under the ownership of the Ladbrokes Group at this time, and was later sold to the Richardson Group. The cruiser in the foreground has the registration number B689 and looks to be another centre cockpit Elysian 27, so presumably another of the “Mistress of Hearts” class. Behind that is F844 “Leopardess of Hearts” which was an Aquafibre 38. This image is another which can be found with a modern comparison photograph of the same view in the Thorpe St. Andrew section of the Then & Now pages.

Whitlingham 1970s

Moving further downstream on the River Yare this photograph, dating from 1978, shows the old boatyard on Whitlingham Reach at Thorpe St. Andrew. This site is now better known as the home to the Broads Authority work barges (formerly occupied by May Gurney).

Whitlingham 1970s

Another view of the boatyard on Whitlingham Reach, photographed at the same time as the previous image. A large, sea-going vessel “Nova Shore” is presumably being worked on.

Whitlingham 1970s

The “Decca Mariner” pictured at Whitlingham Reach, Thorpe St. Andrew in the late 1970s.

Whitlingham 1970s

More sea-going craft moored at Thorpe St. Andrew, photographed in 1975.

Whitlingham 1970s

The final photograph of the boatyard at Whitlingham Reach, Thorpe St. Andrew dates from 1977.

Wreck of the Hrold Margetts 1970s

This wreck was photographed on the River Yare by John Chesney in 1977. My thanks got to Vaughan Ashby for providing an identification of the vessel of which he says: “She was not a wherry but a genuine Thames spritsail barge. These were often seen coming up to Norwich with coastal trade up until the end of the 50′s and I can remember seeing their masts going by behind the railway line, from the gunboat Morning Flight in Thorpe. She is sunk in the old Whitlingham sewage works dyke, on the west bank of the Yare between Postwick Grove and the Woods End. She was named HAROLD MARGETTS and her registered port was ROCHESTER. You can see the remains of these two words on her transom. There was also a large wherry sunk in the dyke up ahead of her, but I don’t know her name. I used to walk over the decks of these wrecks as a boy, when there was a lot more left of them.”


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