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Oulton Broad

Oulton Broad Yacht Station 1950s Oulton Broad Yacht Station 2008

The Yacht Station at Oulton Broad pictured at the top in the 1950s. The bottom photograph was taken in September 2008 and shows that this is as popular a mooring spot as ever! Much of the layout of the Yacht Station remains the same, although the large maltings buildings in the background have now been converted into apartments and virtually all of the many boatyards which once lined the banks of the Broad are, sadly, long gone.

Oulton Broad Yacht Station 1934 Oulton Broad Yacht Station 2010

The view from Oulton Broad Yacht Station, looking across to the old maltings photographed in 1934 and in May 2010. The 1930s scene shows an array of small motor launches, sailing and rowing boats lined up for hire whilst just a handful of dayboats can now be seen in the recent photograph.

Mutford Lock 1920s Mutford Lock 2010

The postcard of Mutford Lock dates from the 1920s whilst the photograph below it was taken in May 2010. The first bridge was built here in 1554 and was replaced and rebuilt several times over the next 200 years. In the early 1800s Lake Lothing was opened to the sea when the new harbour was built and the first lock was installed at Mutford Bridge. Oulton Dyke was also widened and the Haddiscoe cut was dug to allow the passage commercial traffic through Lowestoft and up to the port of Norwich. A swing bridge replaced the fixed Mutford Bridge in 1894 - this itself was replaced by a new swing bridge in 1939. In 1992 the road layout was altered, the lock was rebuilt and a new foot bridge was installed.

Bridge Road, Oulton Broad 1920s Bridge Road, Oulton Broad 2008

A very familiar scene to those visiting the Yacht Station at Oulton Broad - the Wherry Hotel as viewed from Bridge Road. The postcard dates from the 1920s and shows a very quiet Bridge Street winding it’s way past the Hotel. The bottom photograph, taken in September 2008, shows that major changes have been made to what is now a very busy, main road, the course of which has been substantially altered since the 1920s. The building on the right in the foreground, now an Indian restaurant and cafe, is still there although it too has been heavily remodelled. The shop beyond it is now a two storey building but appears to sit in the footprint of the one seen in the 1920s postcard.

Bridge Road, Oulton Broad c1950 Bridge Road, Oulton Broad 2008

Another view of Bridge Road, this time looking up towards Outlon Broad North railway station. The shops and both rows of terraces still exist but, again, look very different to the scene in the old postcard which dates from around 1950. The shop itself is now in a very poor state compared to the elegant facade with it’s awning that we see in the original image.

Potter Heigham

Potter Heigham Bridge 1930s Potter Heigham Bridge 2008

The famous medieval road bridge at Potter Heigham, pictured at the top in the early 1930s and taken by Ronald Winton. The Bridge Hotel can be seen in the background on the right with the motor cruiser “Pauline” moored in front, and George Applegates boatyard can be seen on the left hand side in front of the bridge. The picture at the bottom was taken in May 2008, the Bridge Hotel is now long gone having suffered major fire damage in 1990. The area where Pauline was moored is now the site of the Bridge Pilots office and Phoenix dayboat hire. Applegates yard is also long gone.

Potter Heigham Rail Bridge 1930s Potter Heigham Rail Bridge 2008

The River Thurne at Potter Heigham, taken from the old road bridge looking upstream. The first photograph shows the old rail bridge, pictured in the early 1930s and taken by Ronald Winton. The line was part of the Midland and Great Northern Railway (known locally as the Muddle and Get Nowhere!) and brought thousands of holidaymakers to the Broads every year. The line was closed in 1959 and the bridge was demolished in the 1960s. The modern view, taken in May 2008, shows a very different scene today. A road bridge carrying the A149 has replaced the old rail bridge and the boatyards and sheds which once lined the left hand bank are now gone, their place taken by a large, grassed area which provides free 24 hour moorings.

View from Potter Heigham Bridge 1903 View from Potter Heigham Bridge 2008

Another view taken from Potter Heigham road bridge, this time looking downstream. The top photograph was taken by Donald Shields in 1904 and shows the skyline filled with masts, including those of several wherries. The comparison photograph was taken in May 2008 and shows that the scene looks very similar today. The buildings on the right stand in the footprint of those original boatsheds and, in the height of summer, the riverbank is still lined with large numbers of cruisers.

Potter Heigham Bridge c1915 Potter Heigham Bridge 2010

Another view of Potter Heigham Bridge. The postcard was posted in 1919, but probably dates from a little earlier, and was taken from the edge of what eventually became Herbert Woods “Broads Haven” yard looking up towards the Bridge Hotel. The boatyard on the right bank had been owned by the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company and was managed by Walter Woods, father of Herbert. The company also had boat sheds on the opposite bank roughly where the original photo was taken from, as well as yards at Wroxham and Brundall. When the company went into liquidation in 1917, Walter bought the Potter Heigham yard and founded Walter Woods and Sons. The site of that original yard is now occupied by the Phoenix Fleet and the bridge pilots.

Potter Heigham Staithe c1900 Potter Heigham Staithe 2013

Potter Heigham Staithe c1900 and 2013 - a view which has changed considerably over the years! I've covered a slightly wider area in my "Now" photo to better illustrate exactly where the old image was taken.

Herbert Woods boatyard 1960s Herbert Woods boatyard

Herbert Woods Broadshaven boatyard 1960s and 2013. The Broadshaven boatyard was created by Herbert Woods at Potter Heigham in the early 1930s. The 2 acre mooring basin was dug out by hand and it is said that 60,000 tons clay were removed in the process, this being used to build up the surrounding land on which the boatsheds and workshops etc. were constructed. The square building in the centre of the photo was built as a water tower to supply the hire fleet with fresh water, and also provided office space. The modern photograph shows that the range of sheds on the left had changed, although still sat within the same footprint. However, since this photograph was taken, I believe these sheds have now gone - one to revisit! The boatshed on the far right is still there, as is the building centre right, but a large range of workshops and ancillary buildings in the background have disappeared since the 1960s.

Bridge Stores Potter Heigham 1930s Bridge Stores Potter Heigham 2013

Bridge Stores at Potter Heigham 1930s and 2013. Looking toward the medieval road bridge, the Bridge Stores building looks to have changed very little over the years although has recently been converted into a tearooms. In the foreground on the left in the 1930s you can see the Potter Heigham branch of Roy's (of Wroxham!) - now the site of Latham's. Between Roy's and the Bridge Stores in the 1930s was the garage owned by Sidney Grapes - better known as the local humourist "The Boy John".

Church Road Potter Heigham 1940s Church Road Potter Heigham 2010

Church Road in Potter Heigham pictured at the top c1940s. The pond was presumably at the entrance to a farm at that time with an entrance opposite into the field. The bottom photograph was taken in February 2010 and shows that the pond is still there, as is the remains of the flint wall which you can see in the earlier image. The farm building has long since gone, and the houses in the distance have been joined by some new properties in the intervening years.

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The Norfolk Broads Then & Now

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Buckenham Ferry

Burgh St Peter




Great Yarmouth





Oulton Broad

Potter Heigham


Rockland St Mary

St Olaves




Thorpe St Andrew

West Somerton