Surlingham Ferry Inn c1935 and May 2013. In many ways, a view which has changed little over the last 78 years although there was quite and extensive range of out buildings to the left in the original image. The old pontoon ferry can be seen in it's dock in the 1935 image - I believe it ceased to operate during WW2. One of my favourite spots on the Norfolk Broads!
Another view of the Ferry Inn at Surlingham c1910 and May 2013. This is another shot where I couldn't stand far enough back to recreate the original properly due to a swinging wooden hammock being in the way! Apart from the extension and a coat of paint, it hasn't changed a great deal over the last 100 years.
Thorpe St Andrew
The postcard of Thorpe gardens and the railway bridge at Thorpe St. Andrew probably dates from c1910, when the landlord of the time was William Ward. You can see a fine array of rowing boats which were available to hire. The rail bridge was part of the then Great Eastern Railway owned Norwich to Great Yarmouth line which had opened in 1844. The current bridge, as seen in the bottom photograph which was taken in May 2010, was erected by the London & North Eastern Railway Company at some point after the rail companies merged in 1923. The pub itself has a long association with boat building - in 1878 the then licensee, John Hart, took over a boatbuilding business next door which was owned by Stephen Field. He began to hire out boats from here, later moving the business across the river onto what became known as Hart’s island. Thorpe St. Andrew had gained the reputation of being the “Richmond” of Norfolk due to it’s picturesque setting and was an extremely popular destination for picnics and day trips from Norwich. The pub itself was renamed The Boat & Bottle in the late 1960s, changing to The Rushcutters in 1985.
Another postcard of Thorpe St. Andrew, this time dating from c1960, which was taken from the River Green looking across to the boatsheds of Hearts Cruisers. This was the yard which had been established by John Hart in 1878, later taken over by his son George and, subsequently George’s son Geoffrey. By the time this photograph was taken, the yard was under the ownership of Commander Ron Ashby and had been renamed Hearts cruisers. Commander Ashby bought a major shareholding in the yard in 1948 and he and his family lived aboard the ex-admiralty vessel “Morning Flight” which was moored on the island opposite the green. The yard was later purchased by the Richardson Group who continued to operate a hire fleet from here until 2002. The comparison photograph was taken in May 2010 and shows that, although those boatsheds still stand, the river is a much quieter place without the bustle of hire boats and eager holidaymakers.
Another Then & Now of the old Hearts Cruisers boatyard at Thorpe St. Andrew. The photograph at the top was taken by John Chesney in the 1970s, at which time the yard was under the ownership of the Ladbrokes Group. In the background is what is now the Rushcutters public house, although in the 1970s it was still known as The Boat & Bottle. The comparison photograph was taken in May 2011.
Heading upstream towards the eastern rail bridge, the first photograph was also taken by John Chesney in the 1970s and shows the Foundry House Hotel which was operated in conjunction with the Santa Lucia Hotel next door. On the other side is the River Garden public house. Early 20th century photos of Santa Lucia reveal why this later addition was given its name - a foundry once stood on the site, run by the Sabberton family up until the outbreak of the First World War. Hart’s 1850 trade directory lists Thomas Sabberton as being a machine maker and coal merchant here, whilst Kelly’s 1883 directory lists Charles Sabberton as being an engineer and (strangely!) an assessor of taxes! The bottom photograph was taken in May 2011 and shows that the Foundry House is now private housing. Both it, and Santa Lucia were converted into private dwellings in the late 1990s.
Continuing upstream from the previous photo you reach what is now the Town House Hotel, seen just right of centre in the old postcard on the left which dates from the 1920s/30s. On the far left of the photograph is Walpole House which was and 18th century addition to the earlier Manor House was the home of the then lord of the manor, Thomas Vere. He apparently felt that Thorpe Hall had become outdated for his needs and status and so moved into the newly built Manor House. The Town House, Manor House and Walpole House are now listed buildings - the latter even having a listed summerhouse by the water’s edge. The comparison photograph was taken in May 2011 and shows that most of the buildings are now obscured by trees when viewed from a similar position, and modern housing has been built beyond the hotel.
The old May Gurney yard at Whitlingham Reach, on the River Yare, 1970s and 2013. The 1970s photograph was taken by John Chesney whilst it was under the ownership of May Gurney, it's now been taken over by the Broads Authority and the 2013 photo shows the new workshop which has been built where the original boathouse stood.
Cottages at West Somerton Staithe 1930s and 2013. Still an idyllic scene, apart from the extensions to the buildings on the left, this view has changed little over the last 80 years.
West Somerton Staithe 1930s and 2013. Looking across to where the farm still occupies this position at the staithe, the most noticeable change being the lack of boatshed on the right of the dyke.