Over the past couple of months I’ve been receiving batches of photos every week from Mick Middleton who is in the process of scanning the large collection of photographs of the Norfolk Broads which he has taken over the years, beginning with his first visit in 1958.
There are some fascinating images within the collection so far, with more on the way as and when he is able to digitize them. As I tend not to have too much time to spend on the website during the summer months, I’m safely storing the photographs as they are received and will make a start on getting them onto Broadland Memories come the late summer/early autumn. In the meantime I will be posting a selection of those images here on the blog.
The photograph on the left dates from the 1980s and shows the “Broads Floating Food Market” at Salhouse Broad. I don’t recall seeing a photograph of this particular provisions boat before, and actually had no idea that such things were still going in the 1980s. I’ve seen plenty of images, and read accounts of floating stores from the 1920s to the 1950s but nothing from this era – until now! Mick recalls that it visited Salhouse Broad regularly but only lasted for a few seasons. The boat itself was the ex Fulmar 12 which had been built by R. Richardson Pleasure Craft at Stalham. According to the entry for Fulmar 12 on Craig Slawson’s “Boats of the Norfolk Broads” database, she was renamed Pacesetter 5 in 1969 and left the fleet at some point in the 1980s – presumably after Bob Richardson had bought the Stalham yard back from the Rank Organisation in 1984, when many of the older wooden cruisers were sold off.
The Museum of the Broads at Stalham has a much earlier example of a floating general stores on display. Our Boys (pictured right) was owned and operated by Curtis Stores at Acle Bridge from 1921 onwards and used to make daily rounds of the most popular mooring spots on the River Bure. Boaters could purchase a variety of goods including fresh and cooked meats, bread and dairy produce, seasonal fruit and vegetables and daily newspapers. In the “Log of Corinthian“, an account of a boating holiday taken on the Norfolk Broads in June 1949 which was published on Broadland Memories last year, a mention was made of a floating fishmonger coming alongside one morning whilst the crew were moored at Acle. I suspect that the combination of boat maintenance, rising fuel costs, business tolls and the dreaded Health & Safety would prevent such ventures from being economically viable these days, although we do still currently have the ice-cream boats which operate in the Salhouse and Brundall areas during the summer months.
My thanks to Mick for sending the photograph to me. If you remember any of the provisions boats which have operated on the Broads over the years then I’d love to hear from you.