A Holiday Afloat – White Heather 1932

New additions and finds for the Broadland Memories archive are always exciting, be it photographs, films or snippets of history, but some of the personal memories which can be found on the main website are what makes it so very special at times. First hand accounts of holidays and life, both living and working on the Broads, really do bring the past alive and are such an important  piece of both local and national social history. 

In the last blog post I hinted at a rather special new addition that would be making its way on to Broadland Memories in the near future. A few weeks ago I was contacted by Nick Pinnock about a written account of a holiday taken by his father, along with friends and acquaintances, aboard the wherry yacht White Heather at Wroxham in September 1932. He kindly sent me a digital copy of the original, type-written journal which had been produced by another member of that holiday party, Walter Germany, who was a close friend of Nick’s father. A handful of photos taken during the holiday were also attached. As you can imagine, I was like a kid at Christmas! It is such a beautifully written account, peppered with humour and so wonderfully descriptive of not only their week on the Broads, but also the initial journey by bus and train from their home in Orsett Heath, near Grays in Essex, up to Wroxham.

It was a journey into the unknown for the intrepid travellers, unsure of what to expect from their accommodation and never having set foot on the Norfolk Broads before. This was no sailing holiday, however, as White Heather was to be a static houseboat for the week, towed about half a mile upstream to a pretty spot opposite some of the picturesque, thatched bungalows which lined the water’s edge. The party had the use of a dinghy and hired a motor launch to explore further afield later in the week. Walter’s detailed account of being sent ahead to inspect their accommodation, and the first glimpse of the inside of the wherry, the layout and the furnishings is absolutely priceless and brings so much life and colour to an interior you could only hazard a guess at from the black and white line drawing of the boatplan which appeared in Blake’s Yachting List at the time. They visited Norwich by bus, taking in the market before searching the “narrow streets” for a restaurant. They travelled to Great Yarmouth on a steam railcar for a day at the seaside and a visit to the pleasure beach. They shopped at Roys, partook of refreshments in local inns, the author and Nick’s father even attended a local dance on the last night seeking romantic liaisons. Did they succeed in their quest? I’ll leave that for you to find out.

“A Holiday Afloat” and the accompanying photographs should be uploaded to the website in time for Christmas. My thanks go to Nick Pinnock for taking the time to transcribe the journal for me and for allowing it to be published on Broadland Memories. I asked Nick whether his father had ever returned to the Broads. He didn’t, to the best of his knowledge, but he added: ” Dad always spoke of this holiday with a smile in his voice, in a way that made me think he felt it was the best one he had ever had.

Update 22/12/2018: The 1932 holiday journal has now been uploaded to Broadland Memories and can be found here:


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