Following on from part one of the postings on the 1930s cine film which I am currently working on, we continue following the familys holiday on Herbert Woods “Spark Of Light” over Whitsun week 1932 which would have run from Saturday 14th May to Saturday 21st May.
Having apparently spent the first night on a quiet mooring somewhere on the River Bure, the family set off and continue on their journey upstream. The next scenes show the youngest child on the bow, playing with the Woods pennant as they enter Wroxham, filming Bure Court as they pass. At this time, Bure Court was still a private house but by 1947 it had become a hotel. During the 1950s and 1960s it was a very popular watering hole for those stopping off in Wroxham, but this magnificent building was sadly destroyed by fire c1975. Over the years, Bure Court underwent some major changes to the structure as the open balcony area seen in the still from the film was enclosed, and large picture windows were installed.
The next shot shows further riverside bungalows and boatsheds at Wroxham as they pass what looks like it may be the entrance to Daisy Broad – as it’s only a passing glance, it’s difficult to be sure but the bungalows are definitely set back off of the main river. The development of bungalows at Wroxham had begun in the late Victorian and early Edwardian era when some very luxurious waterside residences were built with extensive, well manicured gardens which swept down to the river – properties, most notably, like “The Glade” and its neighbours which were erected in the Beech Road area on land which had formerly been part of the Wroxham House estate. Without any planning restrictions, people were able to purchase or rent plots of land and build where they wanted to. By the early 1930s, the boom for riverside bungalows had seen clusters of more modest buildings springing up along the banks in the popular villages of Horning, Potter Heigham, St. Olaves and Brundall along with the further development at Wroxham, and there were several local builders who advertised in the holiday guides and brochures offering to construct such buildings for interested parties. One such entry in a 1937 guide mentioned that “The bungalow is fast becomming a rival to the cabin cruiser in popularity. ” The cost of hiring one of these more modest, three or four bedroom bungalows would have been between £4 and £8 per week in 1932.
There is no further footage of Wroxham from this particular holiday, but the family filmed more when they returned in 1933, including their passage beneath the bridge! The next scenes from 1932 show the family cruising on the Upper Bure beyond Wroxham – the still at the beginning of part one of the blog postings which shows the family posing with the life ring comes from this section, and is followed by some staged footage taken from the tender as “Spark Of Light” rounds the corner and comes towards the camera. It illustrates just how low wash Herbert Woods hulls actually were as she creates barely a ripple! Again, the still of Spark seen in the previous post was taken from this section of the film. Next we see them approaching Belaugh Church before the film cuts to shots of two of the boys rowing the tender. This must have been at Coltishall as the next scene captures the family as they take lunch or afternoon tea at a table in the wheelhouse, the camera panning round at one point to give a brief glimpse of the old maltings buildings adjacent to the Rising Sun. We then get a little section shot inside the boat as the mother and one of the sons wash up the dishes.
Next we move on to Horning, where the mother and youngest son are filmed walking down the top end of Lower Street with provisions in hand! In the background you can see the Horning branch of Roys which had recently opened in the village, the shop previously having been Gillard’s general stores. Brothers Alfred and Arnold Roy had opened their first store in Coltishall in 1895 and their first shop in Hoveton in 1899, with a further branch opening at Potter Heigham in the early years of the 20th century. The Horning shop is now home to the Bure River Cottage Restaurant. Also seen on the far right of the still is Delve’s Garage who, at one time, had properties on both sides of the road. Horning, along with other Broadland villages, was well served for shops at this time, many having geared themselves up to catering for the large influx of tourists who needed to stock up on fresh supplies of food and other essentials during their holiday. Reading the earlier guide books, it was clear that their Victorian and Edwardian counterparts had a much greater struggle finding supplies whilst out on the river, but by the 1920s and 1930s when the boom for Broadland holidays really kicked off the local stores found a lucrative market in supplying the visitors needs. Not only could you buy foodstuffs from the general stores but often items such as fishing tackle and films for both still and and cine cameras could be purchased, wirelesses and gramophones along with the discs to play on them could be hired, and the most popular London daily newspapers were stocked, along with an extensive range of tobaccos and cigarettes ….. smoking seemed to have been almost compulsory back then if the many images of boating holidays I’ve seen from that era are anything to go by!
Out on the river again, the camera looks back as they head down towards the Ferry Inn, several yachts are tacking across the river as they cruise past the Petersfield House bungalow which can be seen in the still on the left. In more recent years the bungalow had been slowly subsiding ever further into the ground on which it stood, the boatshed beneath being almost fully submerged. In 2009 it was demolished and a new, sympathetically designed cottage has been erected in its place. Gone are the days when one could just stick up any monstrosity beside a Broadland river …….. having said that …… controversial redevelopment elsewhere on the Broads in recent years highlighted the fact that the planning departments don’t necessarily always get things right!
In the next section the family head up the River Ant before cruising back through Potter Heigham, under the bridge, and onwards to Horsey!