I don’t think I’ve ever watched an old cine film of the Norfolk Broads which I haven’t enjoyed, or found interesting, but the latest addition to the Broadland Memories Archive is an absolute corker. Filmed during a week’s holiday in June 1965, the film follows the Wittkopp family as they cruise both the northern and southern rivers and has to be one of the best films I’ve seen of the area from the 1960s.
It was kindly sent to my by Bill Wittkopp who is seen in the film along with his parents Bill and Amy, and his sister Joan. The footage was mostly shot by Bill’s cousin, Bill Ward, who accompanied the family on the holiday with his wife Muriel. Originally shot on Super-8 cine film, Bill Ward later transferred the footage to VHS by projecting it onto a wall and filming it with a camcorder. Bill Wittkopp recently digitized the film from VHS and sent a copy to me on DVD. The quality of transfers from VHS can sometimes be rather grainy, but this is actually very watchable.
The film begins with footage of the family preparing to set off on holiday, and part of the car journey to Stalham Yachting Station where they pick up their home afloat for the holiday, the motor cruiser “Fiesta”. We follow the family as they pass Ludham Bridge, cruise through Horning and Wroxham and on to Coltishall. There are some wonderful shots of the boat’s interior and its mod cons! Back through Belaugh, and past St Benets Abbey, the family then head for Potter Heigham where we ghet some fantastiic panoramic views of the riverside area. The Bridge Hotel, Herbert Woods and Lathams all feature. The next day sees the family passing Acle Bridge Inn as they make their way to Breydon Water, through Reedham and up to Norwich. Once again, there is some fabulous film of the Yacht Station there and also the city centre including London Street before it was pedestrianised.
Heading back down the Yare, the family stopped at Brundall (possibly Tidecraft Cruisers) and visited the riverside store. Reedham Ferry is filmed as is the new Haddiscoe road bridge in the New Cut and Burgh St Peter Church as they head to Beccles. It’s on to Oulton Broad next with some great footage of powerboat racing. Heading back to the northern rivers, the family pass through St Olaves and stop at Burgh Castle Yacht Station before crossing Breydon once more with a stopover at Thurne Dyke. The last day is spent traveling back to Stalham, with film of Ludham Bridge, How Hill and Irstead. There are some lovely shots of wooden cruisers once they reach Stalham.
Many thanks to Bill for sending me this wonderful record of Broadland in the 1960s and for allowing me to share it via the Broadland Memories YouTube channel.