That Was The Year That Was

As we approach the end of 2013, I thought a roundup of the year, news of the most recent additions to Broadland Memories and a look forward to 2014 might be in order. I have a few interesting projects in the offing and quite a number of photographs which still need my attention.

One of John Austin's photographs of Hearts cruisers in the early 1960s

It’s been a difficult year in many ways and, once again, I’ve not been able to spend as much time working on the website and the wonderful submissions which have been sent to me as I would have liked.  A concerted effort in the spring and early summer saw me work my way through a good part of the backlog of memories, photographs and other ephemera which had been sent in to the archive. These included some super photographs from John Austin which featured boats from the Hearts fleet in the early 1960s, fabulous memories of working on the River Police launch in the 1960s from Ray Spinks and some great new additions to the 1970s and 1980s photo galleries.  Having had a frozen shoulder for the last ten months which got a bit better, and then got a lot worse again, has meant that prolonged spells sat with a keyboard in front of the computer have been rather difficult over the last few months. I am hoping that an injection into the muscle will finally see it on the mend next week … although this is a rather daunting prospect for a needle phobic!

Boating party on the Norfolk Broads in 1932 from the Pleasants Family Collection

As fast as I’ve managed to work my way through the backlog, a new one has built up. On the “To Do” list for the new year are further new additions to the photo galleries including images from the 1960s submitted by Cressida Potter and the Pleasants family collection (see left) which I featured on a blog post back in September. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to get in contact with their memories or sent things to me for the archive. It’s greatly appreciated. I must apologise that it is taking me so long to get your photos and memories online – I’m a one woman band and health issues and family commitments seem to have been getting in the way! I’ve also penciled in a bit of a redesign of some areas of the main website when I get the chance, most importantly the “Then & Now” section. At the very least it needs a town and village directory added to make it easier to navigate, ideally I would like to redo all of the images to display them at a higher resolution.

The latest additions to the Broadland Memories Archive

Christmas came early last week when a very exciting parcel arrived in the post. I had been contacted by Graham Vardy regarding some old cine films of the Norfolk Broads which had been taken by his late parents in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Graham has very kindly donated them to the archive and I hope to eventually make these available to view online via the Broadland Memories YouTube channel. I sat down on Monday evening to watch the films and there is some lovely footage of Broadland and the boats of the various eras. They really are a wonderful historic record of the area and will be of great interest to others I’m sure. Unfortunately, events this year have meant that I am no longer able to plough any personal funding into the website. Since the website began in 2006, I have largely funded it out of my own pocket with the purchase of photo collections, cine films and their digitizing costs, software upgrades etc. A handful of DVD sales each year helps towards hosting and other costs but, reluctantly, I have had to concede it all has to pay for itself from now on. I’m very lucky that my annual website hosting costs are low at present thanks to Craig Slawson of the Boats of the Norfolk Broads database, who hosts it under his account for a very small fee. It does mean that future purchases of new material for the archive will be minimal though. Thankfully, there are always lots of kind people out there who are happy to send me their collections to put online.

On Board Spark of Light in 1932

Still from the "Boating on the Norfolk Broads in the 1930s" DVD

I’ve been offered a very generous discount on the cost of digitizing the films by Video Impact of Loddon who did such a good job for me with my last batch of film but, even so, I think it is likely to cost around £200 to get this new batch done as there is almost 2 hours of footage. This may have to be done in two batches, but I’m desperately fundraising at the moment by selling a few items on Ebay. Currently up for auction are two brand new Norfolk Broads books which were bought in error – these are duplicates to copies I already own.  The first is the lovely Norfolk Broads The Golden Years – Pictures and Memories 1920s to 1950s by Philippa Miller and the second is Reedham Remembered – one of the sought after local history titles by Sheila Hutchinson. The auction finishes on Sunday 15th December. I still have copies of both of the Broadland Memories DVD’s available if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas stocking filler for the Norfolk Broads lover in your life! Please order by Tuesday 17th December to ensure delivery before the big day. I’m aware that I could probably earn a little advertising revenue via Google on the website, but I am still very reluctant to go down this route and hope that the website will continue to remain an ad free resource.

Still taken from the 1931 cine film of a holiday onboard the wherry yacht Norada

As I said, my intention with the new cine films is to make them available to view online for free via the Broadland Memories YouTube Channel, however I do have two further amateur cine films from the 1930s which I purchased and had transferred at quite considerable cost. As much as I would love to be able to put these out there for free too, I really need to recoup the costs and, hopefully add another source a funding to the website with them. The first features a family holiday onboard the wherry yacht Norada in 1931 which I covered in a blog post in September 2011, the second is a “lads” sailing holiday from the same decade which was transferred for me by Video Impact last year. More about that film will follow in a future blog post. I probably have about 25 – 30 minutes worth of film altogether and was hoping to find more to make another longer DVD, but this now seems unlikely. The revised plan is to edit the films as they are onto a DVD, much as I did with my grandfather’s c1950 film of the Broads, with no background music or narration, just a few captions where necessary and minimal packaging so that I can keep the production and selling costs down. I hope to crack on with this project in the New Year along with getting the first batch of the Vardy family films digitized and online too.

So there’s quite a bit to look forward too! Once again, thank you to everyone has contributed to the archive in one way or another – hopefully 2014 will see me being a little more productive where the website is concerned. Seasons greetings, virtual eggnogs and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year to all!

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