I’m going to try and tie up a few loose ends over the next week or so with some updates to previous articles on the Broadland Memories blog. The first concerns the passenger launch Viscountess Bury which featured in two previous posts.
There were two vessels which carried the name Viscountess of Bury and both spent some time at Oulton Broad during the early years of the 20th century. In the first article, The Enchantress and the mystery of Viscountess Bury, published in February 2012, I wrote about the ex Thames passenger launch which was eventually converted into the motor cruiser Enchantress by Leo Robinson in the early 1920s having previously been used for a while to run pleasure trips from Oulton Broad. I was contacted around 18 months later by Tim Sargeant who added a new twist to that story as one of the Oulton Broad postcards I had posted was actually of a different passenger launch bearing the same name. This was the original Viscountess Bury, designed at built at William Sargeant’s boatyard at Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick in 1888. This Viscountess had been bought by H.C. Banham c1910 with the intention of running her as a passenger cruiser from his boatyard in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Banham also had a yard at Horning and it seems that his Viscountess spent a season or two at Oulton Broad before being moved round the coast and entering the Great Ouse at Kings Lynn and thence on to Ely where she was used for many years.
A couple of months ago I received yet another piece of the story in the form of a photograph which was sent to me by Peter Larter. It shows Sargeant’s Viscountess of Bury at an unknown location c1910. It was found amongst a batch of negatives featuring Norwich and was originally thought to have been one of the passenger launches which operated from Foundry Bridge during that era. The name Viscountess Bury is clearly visible on the name plate at the rear of the boat and an internet search lead Peter to my posts about her. I don’t think it looks right to be Norwich, but does this photograph actually show her at Oulton Broad? There is a tantalizing glimpse of the edge of a sign on the boatshed to the left. Sadly, not enough to be able to attribute a name to the yard, but can anyone provide a positive identification from this small clue? One would assume that the chap with the beard and his hand on the rail is either the owner of skipper of the Viscountess at this time.
Please do get in touch if you can provide any more information and my thanks to Peter for allowing me to share the photograph on here.