The Norfolk Broads in the 1970s

There have been several new additions to the Broadland Memories website over the last couple of months including the second part of the Charles Hannaford Collection of photographs, a rather nice sets of images from a 1948 holiday on the motor cruiser Valiant, another 1970s cine film and a couple of interesting sets of photos from the 1960s. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a rather extensive collection of 35mm colour slides from the 1970s which provide a wonderful record of Broadland during that decade.

As much as I love historic images of Broadland from the early part of the 20th century, it’s always photographs from the 1960s and 1970s which prove to be most popular. It’s within living memory for many, and it’s also when quite a number of regular Broads visitors first discovered the joys of a boating holiday in the area. In September 2016, I purchased three carousels of slides of the Broads for the archive dating from the 1970s to the 1980s. Sadly, these are an orphaned collection once again which came with no background information. They document one family’s holidays in the area, initially on a houseboat at Wroxham in 1971, followed by the hire of two of the Emiline class of motor cruisers from Porter and Haylett, before moving on to sailing holidays on various craft. The photographer was clearly a very keen amateur and, by the way the slides were arranged and labelled in some instances, I think he may have been a member of a local camera club. One vital piece of information I do have is his name and address at the time, courtesy of stickers on a couple of the slides. Whilst I can’t tell you anything about him, or the family, it is nice to at least be able to attribute the slides to D.H. Barber who hailed from the Farnborough area of Hampshire.

There were getting on for 400 slides from the 1970s alone. I’ve whittled them down to around 150 to add to the main website, the first half of which are now prepared and ready for me to caption once I’ve finished the necessary research.  It’s quite a large batch to process in one go and will probably take me a week or two to caption, so I thought I’d preview a few choice slides on here to whet your appetite!

barber71_houseboat01This was the houseboat in which the Barber family holidayed in 1971, moored alongside the Kings Head Hotel. This particular houseboat doesn’t seem to appear in either Blake’s or Hoseason’s brochures in 1971, but similar, four berth houseboats cost between £20 – £36 per week depending on the time of year. In the background you can see The Horse Shoes pub which the 1974 edition of “The Broads Book” guide described as; “A big Watney Mann house built in 1962. English cooking, full lunch and dinner; snacks and sandwiches available. Bars and restaurant overlook the river. There are pleasant lawns, a large patio and rides for children.

barber71_wroxham03The view looking downstream from Wroxham Bridge in 1971. This is a wonderful illustration of just how much the riverside at Hoveton and Wroxham has changed over the last fifty five years. It must have been taken just before the boat sheds on the left, belonging to Jack Powles, were demolished to make way for the Hotel Wroxham.

barber71_sundogThe pleasure wherry Sundog seen moored on the River Bure near Wroxham in 1971. Built by Daniel Hall at Reedham in 1906, she was originally named Ecila (Alice spelt backwards). Jamie Campbell provided the following information; “Sundog was owned by H.A.Morris (father of Stewart – the most successful dinghy sailor of his generation). HAM was a London hop wholesaler and the founding commodore of the Norfolk Punt Club. The family spent entire summers on Sundog following the Broads regattas. Their boatman was Cubitt Nudd (formerly boatman to Emma Turner and latterly rigger at Herbert Woods) Herbert Morris died in 1935, when the Morrris family fleet was dispersed.” Sadly, just nine years after this photograph was taken, Sundog was photographed in a very sorry state, hauled out of the water onto dry land at Geldeston. A botched attempt at restoration saw her collapse and she ended her days as firewood.

barber70s_em1_boat01Moving on two or three years, the family returned to the Broads for two holidays aboard the Emiline class of motor cruisers, built by Porter & Haylett at Wroxham. This shows the family with Emiline 1, a four berth cruiser which cost around £79 to hire for a week during the summer of 1973. There were two single berths in the forward cabin, a saloon with extending dinette double berth behind the central wheelhouse, a galley and WC aft. There was no shower on board. The family would have made use of showers at yacht stations and pubs around the Broads.

barber70s_em_lud01It’s always fascinating to see how much the villages around Broadland have changed over the years and there are a nice set of photographs taken in Ludham during the early to mid 1970s. Whilst the buildings seen above are very familiar, with the Kings Arms just seen on the left, the Corner Cabin and Barclays Bank are no more and are now private residences.

barber70s_em_ph02This was the much loved Bridge Hotel at Potter Heigham, pictured c1975. It was a magnificent structure which replaced the earlier Waterman’s Arms pub, seemingly in the late 1880s following information uncovered after finding an early photograph amongst a set I purchased for Broadland Memories. The Bridge Hotel had been owned by the Bullards brewery, but by the time this photograph was taken it had become part of the Watney Mann Group. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in September 1990, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault. I posted a very sad photograph of the hotel in the aftermath of the fire in a 2011 blog post, it’s scant remains propped up by scaffolding. The site is now used as a car park by the residents of the Thurne bungalows, the only hint of it’s former use being the remains of old floor tiles from the hotel making up part of the surface of the car park, a ghostly footprint of this once popular watering hole.

barber70s_crestanova07The final preview of the collection shows Mrs Barber and one of their daughters on board Cresta Nova c1976 I would imagine. Built by Martham Ferry Boats c1970 and sleeping four to five, the 28ft Cresta Nova cost between £75-£105 to hire for a week in 1976. It was described as; “A modern motor-sailer with exceptional sailing qualities that you will appreciate. Built of glass fibre with an alloy mast mounted on the cabin top and easily lowered by winch.” The family also hired one of the Cresta class from the same boatyard during the 1970s and several river cruisers from Herbert Woods too.  It is an interesting collection which should hopefully start appearing on the main Broadland Memories website within the next week or two.

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