Once work is completed on the cine film, I hope to get started on adding the wonderful collection of photographs taken by John Chesney in the 1970s to the website. In the meantime I thought I’d post another preview of that collection on here.
The photograph on the right dates from c1978 and is one of two which show a large number of the Richardsons fleet moored together at Ranworth Staithe. By the time this photo was taken the Stalham yard and it’s fleet had been sold to the Rank Organisation …. one of several large corporations who moved into the Broads during the 1970s when the hire boat industry was booming! I was quite amazed to see a sizable chunk of the fleet moored together like this away from their Stalham base – I sent the photographs to Clive Richardson who thinks that this was probably one of the “Broadsventure” weeks when the entire fleet was hired out to groups of youngsters, with an engineer onboard each boat. Clive also mentioned that one of their engineers actually met the lady who was to become his wife during one of these weeks! I seem to remember reading mention of the Broadsventure weeks somewhere, but know very little about them. At the back on the far left is T415 “Broadsventure 2″, beside it is T495 “Broadsventure 12″ and T494 “Broadsventure 11″ – in fact it looks as though the entire Broadsventure class were lined up at Ranworth!
It has been fairly well documented that Rank let the fleet deteriorate badly during their ownership and most of the boats were in a very sorry state when Bob Richardson bought the Stalham yard back in 1984. The GRP cruisers were refurbished and brought back up to a suitable standard for hire, but the vast majority of the old wooden cruisers were sold off around this time. In more recent years, Clive Richardson managed to track down and purchase “Broadsventure 12″ which has undergone a full restoration over the last couple of years …. you can follow that restoration on this thread on the Norfolk Broads. Net forum.
If you have any memories of the Broadsventure weeks in the 1970s then, as always, I would love to hear from you!