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The Charles Hannaford Collection

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The name Charles Arthur Hannaford will be familiar to many, both as the past owner of the Broads Tours passenger launch business at Wroxham and as an accomplished watercolour artist. Early in 2016, I was given two old shirt boxes full of photographs by Charles Hannaford’s great-nephew, William Allchin. The photographs, mostly taken by Hannaford himself, span five decades from the 1920s to the 1960s and cover a variety of subjects including the Broads Tours business, wherries, mills, sailing and general Broadland scenes. Many were taken as reference material for his paintings, indeed there are a number of photos which have grid lines drawn on them, paint splatters, or visual notes in the form of scribbled drawings. Whilst not the most accomplished of photographer, the collection does contain some very interesting images.

It has taken me several months to sift through the collection and work on tidying up the best of the photographs to publish on Broadland Memories. With such a large collection it has been difficult to work out how best to present them but I eventually decided that they warrant a section of their own on the website. I have collated the photographs into themed groups which I will add to these pages over the coming months with, hopefully, some accompanying notes from William Allchin.

Charles Hannaford moved to Norfolk in 1935 after retiring from his job in banking due to ill health. His father, Charles Hannaford senior, was already living in Norfolk and Charles junior had enjoyed holidays here during the 1920s and 1930s. The move coincided with his purchase of the Broads Tours passenger launch business from George Smith & Sons at Hoveton, more of the early history of the company and the boats in the fleet can be found in a series of Broadland Memories blog posts which began with Old Broads Tour boats never die. Follow the links at the bottom of that post for further updates on the story. Hannaford was the son of the renowned landscape artist Charles E. Hannaford and had himself studied at Plymouth Art School before choosing banking as a career. He continued to sketch and paint when he moved to Norfolk, his paintings being exhibited for sale in the Broads Tours office and restaurant. His artwork also appeared in a booklet produced as a souvenir for Broads Tours passengers entitled The Charm of the Norfolk Broads, a publication which first appeared c1950 with several revised editions produced over the following 50 years. Charles Hannaford passed away in 1972 aged 85. He left behind him a wonderful record of a bygone Broadland with his paintings and it’s a great honour to now share his photographs on here.

Charles Hannaford pictured in 1950

The Early Years

Norfolk Broads boatyard 1920s Lower Street Horning 1920s Trading wherry at Horning 1920s Trading wherry at Horning 1920s Trading wherry at Horning 1920s Horning Ferry 1920s Horning foot ferry 1920s Horning c1920s Norfolk Broads pleasure wherry c1930s Norfolk Broads pleasure wherry c1930s

Another photograph of the pleasure wherry at the same location c1930s.

Fishing on the Norfolk Broads 1930s

An idyllic Broadland summer scene c1930s with two young children seen fishing from the bank.

Houseboat on the Norfolk Broads c1930s Our Boys provisions boat c1930s

A wonderful image, dating from the 1920s by the look of the car and the clothing. The boatyard is unidentified, but the long, low boat shed on the right looks very much like the shed at Ernest Collins yard in Wroxham. The lady in the foreground was Charles’s wife, Phyllis.

Lower Street in Horning in the 1920s. The sign for Shell Spirits and Oils on the left hung on the wall of H.C. Banham’s boatyard. The boatyard is long gone, replaced like so many others around the Broads by housing. The thatched cottages in the foreground on the right still stand.

An unidentified trading wherry alongside the maltings at Horning in the 1920s. The maltings were demolished c1928 and the green now occupies the land on which it once stood. The thatched building to the right of the maltings is now better known as the Staithe and Willow restaurant.

Another photograph taken at the same location. On the left is the tail end of a pleasure wherry.

Another shot of Horning in the 1920s with what is now the Staithe and Willow on the left. On the right is a sign for Banham’s boatyard. Is this the same trading wherry passing back in the opposite direction I wonder?

The Woodbastwick side of the river crossing point for Horning Ferry c1920s. A wonderfully atmospheric photograph. The pontoon ferry was put out of action during a bombing raid on the night of the 26th April 1941 which pretty much destroyed the inn, killing 21 people who were inside it at the time.

Horning Ferry Inn pictured in the 1920s. This was the foot and cycle ferry,  the larger pontoon or “horse” ferry can be seen on the left. A foot ferry continued to operate here until at least the 1960s.

Phyllis Hannaford pictured at an unknown location c1920s. The large stone jar she is carrying was a water bottle used to fetch and store fresh water supplies for you holiday. Many boats, especially sailing cruisers, would not have had fresh water tanks fitted. Water was usually obtained at village hand pumps rather than the handy hose reels you find at moorings today.

Peeling potatoes by the look of it. Potatoes seemed to form a dietary staple of a boating holiday on the Broads back then. Guide books were keen to point out that fresh fruit and vegetables were not necessarily  easily found at times, even in village stores, but potatoes were always plentiful and kept well on board. I’m not certain, but this looks as though it may have been taken at Wroxham, just downstream of the bridge, looking across towards the Hoveton side of the river. There is a rather lovely pleasure wherry moored in the background with another wherry to the left of it.

A pleasure wherry makes it’s way down river - I’m not sure which mill this is?

This looks to have been taken at Horning again, 1920s or 1930s,  just upstream of Swan Corner with the village itself seen on the left in the background.

The floating provisions boat “Our Boys” which was owned and operated by Curtis Stores at Acle Bridge. Built in 1921, it used to make daily rounds of the most popular mooring spots on the River Bure. And boaters could purchase a variety of goods including fresh and cooked meats, bread and dairy produce, seasonal fruit and vegetables and daily newspapers. A canopy was later added to protect both goods and the staff from the elements. The boat has survived and can now be seen on display at the Museum of the Broads in Stalham.


Mrs Hannaford c1920s

The first section of the collection deals with photographs which largely pre-date Hannaford’s purchase of the Broads Tours business at Wroxham, presumably take during holidays spent on the Broads in the 1920s and early 1930s.


Broads Tours

Charles Hannaford Princess Mary Princess Mary Illustrration by Charles Hannaford Princess Mary

Another photograph taken alongside the garden of the Boat House c1950. I’ve not been able to identify which launch this is yet.

Broads Tours passenger launch at Wroxham

This is also Princess Mary c1940s - it may be skipper Dixie Dean at the helm.. In the background, on the right, you can see the Hoveton branch of the Norwich Co-operative Society shop. William Allchin remembers that Mary was awkward to get through Wroxham Bridge from upstream due to her length and the bend in the river there.

Broads Tours passenger launch at Wroxham

I think this is “The Prince” which was built for George Smith in 1924 by Graham Bunn. The Prince left the Broads Tours fleet in 1973 and moved to Oulton Broad with the Waveney River Tours Company. In 1977 it was sold to Cedric Lovewell who owned the Southern Rivers Steamer company at Norwich. Cedric renamed her “Princess Victoria” and she was used to run trips on the Wensum and the Yare alongside Empress and Prince Edward, two other former Broads Tours passenger launches. In the 1990s, she too found a new home in Scotland, eventually being bought and converted for personal use by businessman Ronnie Rusack, who renamed her “Ratho Princess”. Once again, there is a more detailed history, along with many more photographs in the Broadland Memories blog article - Broads Tours: This Prince. As a footnote to the story, I noticed that Ratho Princess was up for sale about a year or so ago.

Princess Pat Broads Tours 1949 Princess Pat Broads Tours 1949 Princess Pat Broads Tours 1949

I mentioned that Princess Mary had been lengthened in 1924. The next three photographs show another of the Broads Tours launches, “Princess Pat” undergoing the same lengthening process in 1949. Here you can see that she has been cut in half just ahead of the aft cabin and pulled apart ready to be in filled.

The fore section of Princess Pat in 1949. She had been bought from another passenger tour company c1940 and was originally 40 feet in length and capable of carrying 40 passengers.

The third photograph shows the new section being built between the original fore and aft sections of Princess Pat. An Eastern Daily Press article in July 1949 reported on the work done: ” Mr Sidney Smith, who was responsible for the alterations, made a special cut in the keel and the fore part of the boat was carried forward 12 feet. Using seasoned oak from a tree grown at Belaugh, the new 12 foot length of keel was joined to the old wood by the butt-scarfe method. Planking and cladding completed the hull and a mid-section to the canopy was fitted.” Once re-launched, Princess Pat was licensed to carry up to 60 passengers.

It seemed fitting to start this section with a photograph of Charles Hannaford himself, seen here in one of the boat sheds at the Broads Tours base.

This was the passenger launch Princess Mary which had been built for George Smith by Alfred Pegg in 1922. She was originally 45 feet in length, but in 1924 she was lengthened by 20 feet by another boat builder, Graham Bunn. According to Pegg’s daughter she was cut in half with a hand saw and pulled apart so that the new 20 foot section could be inserted. She also  mentioned that Alfred Pegg had built a sister ship in 1925, Princess Pat, which eventually joined the Broads Tours fleet but was originally commissioned by Charles Mayes who ran her as a trip boat from the Horseshoes public house at Hoveton. Princess Mary was sold by Broads Tours c2002. From Norfolk, she moved up to Scotland and the Falkirk Wheel, more details of which can be found in another Broadland Memories Blog article with information on her history and time in Scotland provided by skipper Mike Lennox - Broads Tours: Princess Mary.

This is a perfect example of how Hannaford used his photographs to aid his artwork. This particular illustration is based on the previous photograph and was included in the first edition of the Charm of The Norfolk Broads booklet which dates both to c1949.

The original Broads Tours business had been started by George Smith, who was the proprietor of the Horseshoes Hotel at Hoveton between 1900 and 1912. He later moved the business to land off Station Road, just downstream of the rail bridge. Along with increasing the number of passenger launches, he later ran a fleet of motor cruisers and yachts for hire. William Littleboy was a rival tour operator who also ran a fleet of passenger launches at Wroxham. Charles Hannaford bought the passenger launch side of the business from George Smith’s in 1935 and, in 1936, formed a limited company which incorporated Littleboy’s fleet under the Broads Tours name with George Smith’s sons and William Littleboy on the board of directors. Already a sizeable fleet when combined, it was decided that the fleet of passenger launches would be increased further.

When war was declared in 1939, the Broads were effectively closed for public use due to the threat of an enemy invasion. The Broads Tours fleet were hauled out, their engines disabled and the launches were laid up for the duration. The fleet appear to have faired somewhat better than many of the hire fleets around the Broads as most of the launches were restored and returned to working condition during 1946, and business resumed in 1947 under strict petrol rationing. The expansion of the fleet continued with quite a number of larger passenger launches and  smaller day boats being built during the 1950s and 1960s. A much more detailed history, including many wonderful photographs, was published in book form in 2013  “Personal Memories of Broads Tours” by Geoffrey Peek is well worth seeking out.

The Boat House was built at the base in station road as a home for the Hannaford’s, with a riverside restaurant beneath. It was a distinctive landmark for many years and features quite prominently in Charles’ photographs. Charles continued to paint, his artwork adorned the walls of the restaurant where it was available to purchase. As previously mentioned, he also produced the “Charm of The Norfolk Broads” booklet as a souvenir for his customers. First produced around 1950, and and subsequently updated and re-published several times over the next five decades, the book included illustrations and paintings by him. Many of the photographs within his collection were obviously taken as visual references for Hannaford’s artwork and it was interesting to be able to match some of them up to the illustrations in the Charm of the Norfolk Broads booklet. I covered this in an article of the Broadland Memories blog - Charles Hannaford: Art, Photography and The Charm of The Norfolk Broads.

This section of the collection concentrates of the photographs of the Broads Tours fleet and base.