Postcards from the Norfolk Broads.net 

                “Extras” 

The purpose of this page is to enable me to show and discuss some of the increasing number of interesting (or just charming) older images that come into my possession; but that would probably be difficult to integrate with the main pages. In particular: some of these scenes, or their content, have intrigued or mystified me and (as always) I would cordially invite any visitor to add their thoughts via my e-mail link.

River Bure


                                                                                                Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

Coltishall and the ‘Rising Sun’ in slightly more peaceful days than those on the River Bure page. I would say: around twenty years earlier than that other view; during the late 1950’s. Like the other selections, this postcard has been picked for the pleasure it gives me rather than any great detail about the boats, which (in any case) require a little guess work. As you will see: ultimately my observations are inconclusive so, as always, I hope any visitor who can assist will contact me?

So, why the late 1950’s? First we have the vehicles: a Ford Anglia 100E, which was produced from 1953 –1959, seen here in the estate car version; and what appears to be a Morris Minor Van. The latter doesn’t really help, all that much, because the Minor and its derivatives were produced between 1948 and 1971. Apart from the original Mini, which I believe was produced for forty years, there can’t be many other [single design] models with this long a production run?

Nevertheless, we can also see a Wherry Yacht at the moorings. Her presence should also help to date the picture to the late fifties. There weren’t that many examples still in commission in those days and, although it is not possible to be certain of her identity, I believe she is most likely to be Ernest Collins’ “Olive” or even “White Moth”? Both of these craft were only in use as Houseboats at Wroxham by 1960. Olive was retired in 1958 and White Moth in 1959. However, another of Ernest Collins Wherry Yachts: 'Norada' was built along similar lines to 'Olive' and was sold on to private owners in the early 1950's. This could equally well be Norada?

The cabin cruisers were both built in the 1950’s. On our left is “Bairnmore” or just possibly her sister “Babemore” the smaller centre cockpit, three berth design from R. Moore and Sons at Wroxham; which some other owners (e.g. Maycraft) fitted out as a four berth. A picture of this class appears in the advert shown in the River Bure: ‘Beehive Stores’ piece.

I believe that the other cabin cruiser is from the Ferry Boatyard at Horning: the “Ferry Mutineer” class of 32ft. 6in. Aft cockpit, Four Berths. This was on the large side for a boat of that layout.




                                                                                                                                                        Copyright Photochrom Co. Ltd.

The same view but even earlier. I would say: almost certainly pictured before the Second World War. My copy has a George VI 2d stamp, so definitely posted after 1936, but the year is illegible. It is known that a 'V' prefix index number from Photochrom indicates V for victory and relates to images published post World War 2 but I do not believe that is proof that the image was photographed post war?

The points of interest here are the weed cutter’s boat at the staithe and the building on the left. We can see that it has an entrance right on the riverside and conclude it must have been a Malting House or Mill Store (I don't actually know) with provision to receive its raw goods from Wherries moored right alongside. In later years (possibly during the war?) this building was literally chopped in half with the demolition of the riverside part. This is clearly illustrated by the previous view. 


Belaugh


                                                                                                                                                                                                                     An 'H. Coates’  ‘Nene Series’ Card

I was fascinated to discover this postcard which shows the location of the Fred Press boat sheds at Belaugh and those of his younger brothers Charlie and George; who were possibly better known to visitors as C. & G. Press of Hoveton?

I think that this Belaugh scene was probably pictured in the 1920’s. It is reminiscent of the ‘Francis Frith’ photographic series; but was actually published by H. Coates’ (of Wisbech) ‘Nene Series’ and this particular example was posted in 1932.

The group of boat sheds partially survive at this location, to this day, and have a long history in the boat hire trade. It was to become the location for the firm of A.J. Yaxley and, later still that of, Belaugh Boats, the latter of which evolved into today's ‘Moon Fleet’ at Stalham, but this postcard shows that many years earlier it was the site of the Fred Press yard, adjacent to that of C.& G. Press who, by 1934, had their main premises at Hoveton; near Daisy Broad.




Stalham Staithe in the 1930’s. Passing, what is now, the ‘Museum of the Broads’ site is an example of the unmistakable Herbert Woods’ ‘Delight’ class but we have often discussed this class elsewhere. On the right is a larger cruiser built in the same era and on-hire from a rather less famous but very long lived firm at Wroxham / Hoveton.

She is of the ‘Song of Eve’ class from George Smith and Sons of The Rhond, Hoveton St John. Song of Eve and her sisters ‘Song of May’ and ‘Song of Spring’ were introduced in the early 1930’s although they appear to have had their initial names changed by 1935. The class remained on hire from George Smith’s until the early 1950’s.  Their  fleet also included the slightly later ‘Song of June’ class and the smaller ‘Songster’ class which were both introduced in 1939. The charming little Songsters remained in the fleet, for over thirty years, until the early 1970’s. With a very few exceptions all the Smith craft had names that began with the letter ‘S’ and their burgee was a red diamond on a blue ground.
 
           

                                                                                                                                                                             © Blakes Holiday Boating 1939
  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             




Salhouse Broad


                                                                                                                        A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
The early 19th Century stone arched bridge over the River Ant at Ludham was a tight squeeze for large craft, particularly the Wherries, which could sometimes become stuck under the bridge. At such times the boatmen would have to enlist help from as many of the local men as they could find. The volunteers would crowd on board in the hope that the extra weight would make the wherry sit lower in the water and enable its passage through the bridge. There was also a counter practice whereby the Wherry would tow a large dinghy in case the water was too shallow; particularly in the upper reaches of navigation such as the Waxham Cut or above the locks on the Bure or Waveney. In the event that there was insufficient depth, part of the cargo could be transferred to the dinghy to lighten the Wherry’s load.

Ernest Collins’ Wherry Yacht ‘Olive’ had encountered difficulties at Ludham and been unable, on occasion, to cruise to Barton or beyond. The solution was to build a slightly smaller wherry yacht, along similar lines, which could negotiate the bridge more easily. This new craft was ‘Norada’ launched in 1912; she was some three feet shorter and six inches narrower than Olive. On this occasion (see the Coltishall picture) we can be certain of her identity and as you can see here, she was quite a beauty!

Famously, and rather ironically in this instance, 1912 was the year of a great summer storm which caused considerable flooding and damage to the infrastructure of the region. The bridge at Coltishall was completely destroyed after the lock upstream, at Buxton, burst and the Ant Valley was subject to considerably worse flooding, than expected, because Ludham Bridge held back the flood waters. Even though the bridge survived the storm it was decided to replace the ancient arch with a more modern girder bridge; and this work was completed by 1915.

The party in the above picture are cruising on ‘Norada’ and appear to be enjoying a swimming party in Salhouse Broad. Swimming was a common pastime in the early days of Broads holidays but became impractical in later years due to the amount of pollution, not least, from the much greater numbers of hire boats. I recall the rather unkind saying that a holiday on the Broads wasn’t so much mucking about in boats as boating about in muck! Thankfully, a great deal of work has been done, and is ongoing, to improve the water quality.

As much as I like the postcard, which dates from 1935, the group does appear rather posed and I have found that the picture was used for a ‘Radio Times’ advert in the 1948 Blakes ‘Holidays Afloat’. By this time, though, Norada had already been removed from the Ernest Collins hire fleet list and last appeared there in 1947.
 


                                                                                                   Holidays Afloat © Blakes Holiday Boating 1948

It is not possible to assert the identity of the cabin cruiser but her superstructure is distinctive and appears similar to that of ‘Firefly’ a five berth cruiser on hire from C. & G. Press of Wroxham; around this time. 


  

This is a fascinating and (I think) rare picture, a real photo-card by Charles Aldous of Norwich. It is apparently regatta day at Horning and I would guess that the racing is taking place around the 1920's; or even earlier?

I was drawn to this subject by the unusual and unfamiliar  “lateener” like, and very large, lug sail of the nearest boat and of several more to the left of picture. Extreme lateen rigs had earlier been popular for Norfolk racing yachts during the reign of Queen Victoria.

It is my belief (but I would welcome comment from anyone who knows better) that these boats are examples of the local 'Yarmouth One Design' class. These were racing half-deckers that were designed and built by Walter Woods (Snr.) for the [Gt.] Yarmouth Yacht Club; not to be confused with the class of the same name from the Isle of Wight.

Walter was manager of the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company at Potter Heigham where he went on to create Walter Woods & Sons, around 1920, after the collapse of that former company. He was the father of Herbert Woods and brother of Ernest Woods; the latter of whom later developed the Yare & Bure (White Boat) One Design.

I do note, however, that the nearest boat has a bowsprit which would enable the rigging of a foresail and which may have formed part of the evolution of the Yare & Bure One Design. Certainly, the YOD was closely related to the White Boat's design and “Noinin” was the forerunner of six more built by Walter Woods; at least one of which was later converted to White Boat specification.


                                                                                      

There were several prominent publishers of postcards such as Jarrold & Sons and J. Salmon Ltd. who were well known for their many pictures of the Norfolk Broads but it was also not uncommon for the boat owners to commission cards to sell to their hirers and promote their own fleets. Very often these would take the form of individual portraits of the hire craft, similar to those in the brochures. Sometimes a photographer would be engaged to picture the boats in a sequence of holiday scenes. Here we have just such a mini-collection of Valentine’s postcards commissioned by Jack Powles and featuring a group of young women cruising in the famous yacht ‘Palace’ circa 1932 -1933. This was a common practice, particularly at Easter, and Jack was an advocate of group holidays organised initially by Public Schools but soon followed by Scout / Girl Guide Groups and groups from State Schools. Often Teachers, Chaperones and/or Leaders would have a cabin cruiser for their own sleeping facilities and the group may even have a Tour Boat where they could enjoy communal meals. Each yacht would have a designated Skipper who had sailing experience and the group would make their own way to a pre-determined rendezvous (or should that be rhond-ezvous?) each evening, for meals and entertainments.


                                                                                                           A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

In this first picture we can see the crew boarding ‘Palace’ at the Alfred Collins / Jack Powles yard on the Hoveton Bank, just below Wroxham Bridge. To the right is one of the 4 Berth ‘Lulworth’ class yachts and aft of ‘Palace’ another group of girls, some still in their school smock dresses, are boarding another of the smaller yachts.   

‘Palace’ was a very famous and elegant, 43ft, gaff sloop of seven berths; which was launched by Alfred Collins in 1914. In 1930 she was on-hire from £11.10 shillings up to £17 a week including the services of an attendant to help with the sailing. I imagine that gentleman will be the individual standing by the mast, watching the ladies embark. Jack Powles was Alfred’s business partner and yard manager. He took over the business when Alfred retired, in the early 1930’s, and later changed the firm’s name to his own.


                                                                                                               A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Post Card

The crew get under way and set off downstream, towards Horning, on a lazy looking broad reach. Several other yachts are following suit and it is possible that this group are sailing together. This was not an uncommon practice particularly amongst school or scouting / girl guide groups at Easter or off the high season.


                     
                                                                                                A James Valentine & Sons Post Card

This consecutive image reinforces my feeling about the group sailing together as they sail down stream towards Wroxham Broad. These are the same yachts and a schoolgirl can be clearly seen in the cockpit, with the skipper, of the leading  'Westward' class yacht and 'Palace' is following. Intriguingly, the yachts' pennants do not look quite right although they are clearly those of Alfred Collins in other postcards of the series. Maybe these were pennants brought along by the group themselves to display their fleet identity? This was a practice often adopted by the sailing parties, which in the early days, were often Public School groups (possibly as here?) and which later became increasingly popular with the Church and Scouting organisations which also regularly organised group holidays on the Broads? 
 


                                                
                                                                                A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

The calm conditions still prevail when the crew reach Salhouse. Could this be their first night's mooring location? There are few nicer places to spend a night in the wild-ish. I don't really think so though, the serial number suggests this must have been shot on the way back to Hoveton.


                                            A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

Sailing downstream from Wroxham. This card doesn’t show the ‘Palace’ group but it was photographed in the same sequence. Interestingly the gentleman at the helm of the yacht is Jack Powles himself; obviously smartly dressed for the occasion and complete with neck tie. Whilst it is difficult to be 100% sure, I believe that he is taking a test sail in a newly built ‘Westward’ class, 5 berth yacht. The main clues being the roller reefing loose footed jib and what is known about the vintage of these pictures. Seen here the yacht still flies the Alfred Collins burgee which was replaced by the Jack Powles' design around 1935. 

I have no strong conviction as to whom the ladies in the speed boat might be. It looks rather too nice to be a hire craft and I wonder if it could be Jack’s family out for a spin? My only other theory is that she might be 'Brown Moth' the personal boat of Phyllis Hannaford; the wife of Charles Hannaford of 'Broads Tours' fame. It would be most interesting to hear from anyone who can confirm who they are.This same speedboat appears in company with 'Palace' in the 1932 edition of Holidays Afloat.


                                                                                                                    © Blakes Holiday Boating 1935



                                                                                                           A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

This picture is sequenced with the other in the series but actually features 'Goldfinch' as she glides past the old Horning Ferry. This is one of those postcards that were later copied by Artist Brian Gerald and turned into excellent watercolours. His version of this photograph and several others appear on the 'Early Days' page of this website.


                                                                                                         A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

Alfred Collins’ Wherry Yacht  “Goldfinch” slips past the Mock-Tudor mansion house ‘Burefield’ which stands near Horning Vicarage and enjoys the benefits of a boat dyke and thatched summer-house down by the River Bure. There are extensive and very picturesque landscaped gardens which I remember used to be kept tidy by grazing a small flock of brown Soay sheep. 


                                                                                                      A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

Another,  slightly later (1937) view of the house. Given the outstanding beauty of this property, and its proximity to the riverside, I am surprised that it is so rare to find postcard views. Saying that, this photograph must have been taken from a vantage point within the private grounds.
                                                                                                                             


                                      A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

All hands to the halyards me jolly crew! This is the original mill on Horning ‘Ferry Reach’ which was replaced by the famous and much photographed holiday bungalow that incorporates a smaller pseudo windmill in its design.

I am unsure precisely when this derelict mill was demolished and replaced but it must have been well before the second world war. This picture dates from 1933 and the new building was part of a development created by Mr A. L. Rhodes, a prosperous Electrical Engineer and Cinematic pioneer who was one of those that lost their lives in the air raid on the old Ferry Inn in April 1941. (Please see the Horning Ferry section on the main River Bure page where there is also a view of the newer bungalow.There is also an image of the new bungalow on the 1938 Holidays Afloat edition which suggests that its construction must have taken place between 1933 and 1937) Indeed I now have, in my collection, images of the Windmill dated 1937 and of the two nearby, Black and White, thatched holiday homes;   looking brand new in 1933.

Sadly, like Mr Rhodes, ‘Palace’ does not seem to have survived the war; as she doesn’t reappear in post war brochures. It is nice to note though that a slightly smaller replica, with the same name, was built in the mid 1990’s and is on hire from the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company based at Lower Street Horning.  



                                                                                                                                          A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

Another picture (posted in 1934) apparently showing ‘Palace’ and her crew of pretty girls. This example has been photographed on the River Ant a little way downstream from Ludham Bridge; which is just out of sight by the large sheds, in the background. The long boom crutches have been employed so I imagine the crew, aided by the skipper [here] in braces and trilby, are preparing to get under way, after spending the night, rather than to quant through the bridge?

I am intrigued by the mill and its nearby buildings. This is Beaumont’s Mill which was demolished in the early 1960’s. The nearest building is an enclosed type like a brick kiln but the furthest has a conical roof which tapers to a central chimney. I have no information about these buildings or their history but it is reasonable to suggest that they were used to make bricks and burn chalk to make builder’s lime; a common riverside occupation in these parts. In fact some mills were dual purpose and could be used to grind Marl for soil improvement or the clinker from the kilns to manufacture cement.

                   
                                                                                                                                               A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

My favourite of this series: Our crew have returned to Wroxham and are striking a jolly pose, for the camera, as they quant through the bridge.

                                               
                                                                                            A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

The young ladies are returning from Belaugh or Coltishall. The church is that of St. Mary the Virgin in Wroxham, itself, which suggests to me that the view is from the South West (looking N.E.) not as is implied by the card’s caption?
                               

                                                                                                     © Blakes Holiday Boating 1935


                                                                                                                           A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

This postcard is from the the same series and region as those above so although it is not possible to make a positive identification it is nice to conjecture that this is 'Goldfinch' as she was the only Wherry Yacht on charter from the firm of Alfred Collins and Jack Powles.  Goldfinch was described as an up-to-date auxiliary craft in 1933 and had been refitted in 1931. Nevertheless she had disappeared from the hire catalogue by 1935.



                                                                                                                                                                  © Blakes Holiday Boating 1926


                                                                                                                                           A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

A busy morning by St. Benet’s Abbey. Although this card is in the same sequence as the ‘Palace’ and ‘Goldfinch’ examples I don’t believe that either yacht features in this particular scene. The only yacht that clearly appears to be skippered by an attendant (the gentlemen in the braces?) is that which is sailing away from the camera, 2nd from right. The practice of providing sailing attendants and stewards largely declined following the 2nd World War except for the very largest yachts and wherries. Pennants are not identifiable here but large Powles’ yachts usually employed spreaders (cross trees) on their shrouds and none of these yachts display this feature. Nevertheless, the picture is contemporary with the Powles series and has been included for its own interest. It is clearly a calm day with only light breezes as suggested by the yacht quanting to windward and the close-hauled day boats trimmed flat on the water; although the lugger in the foreground may well be going about, albeit a cautious distance from the river bank. The elevation of the camera angle suggests that this picture must have been taken from the cabin top of a motor cruiser and I have seen evidence of this being achieved with the aid of a heavy wooden tripod during this era. 


                                                                                                         A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

This picture isn't part of the 1933 series (its 1938) but I have included it for the pleasure it gives me. Here is Palace, under full sail, passing through Horning. She is being sailed "Goose winged" which means that the wind is behind her and the foresail is sheeted out on the opposite side to the mainsail for maximum sail efficiency. Very shortly her crew will need to gybe her around the Swan corner. In a good breeze this can be the most violent manoeuvre in sailing (probably effortless to a professional Broads skipper though) which will involve frenzied crew activity as the sail is brought across to the other side of the yacht; whilst still under pressure from the wind. I think, if it was me at the helm, I would probably chicken out and wear around to come alongside the staithe, head to wind; assuming there was a choice?

This postcard was produced in 1938 a few years after the previous group. We know this because Valentine's cards can be dated, thanks to the St. Andrews University Archive, but the year given is that in which the image was copyright registered as a James Valentine Postcard. It some cases staff photographers would spend the summer travelling and taking pictures which might not be processed until that winter. Therefore there may be instances when the picture was taken in the year before registration. For ease of dating I use the registration year which, in any event, is much more reliable than any other method.

                                                     

The skipper and young attendant on the foredeck of ‘Palace’ in their rather “lived in” crew’s jerseys and yachting caps. This picture postcard is a very recent ‘find’ and unfortunately it is in a rather faded condition. Despite that, naturally, I find the image very interesting indeed. The publisher is unknown and so I have little or no reference to assist in the dating of the picture. I believe that Palace was built just before the 1914-18 War and I believe that the tall skipper is Benjamin Burgess who was also employed as a skipper for W.S. (Billy) Parker of Oulton Broad in the late 1920's. Benjamin was a well known character on the Broads, who came from Burgh Castle, and given the apparent age of the skipper in this picture I would estimate that this photograph is from around 1920? Clearly Ben worked for several different Yacht owners and indeed had various other occupations outside the holiday season. Ben's young and cheeky faced colleague is Dan Bedford and I have also seen him in pictures from Pippa Miller's 'Golden Years' book (when he was older) working as the attendant on the motor barge 'Pauline' for Fred Miller of Oulton Broad; Dan later became the skipper of that same vessel. 

* For the identification of Ben Burgess I have to thank John G. Dawson and his lovely work "Broads and Broadsmen" which contains a picture, or two, of Ben (complete with fag end) and some of John's happy recollections of Ben's skills and the pride he took in his role as a yacht skipper.

The identification of Dan Bedford is thanks to a recent discovery by Carol Gingell of the Broadland Memories website


                                                                                                       A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

This picture, taken on the River Ant near Ludham Bridge in 1936 slightly later than the former set. This time the camera is looking downstream from above Ludham Bridge which can be seen here, behind the middle yacht, and is that which was built in 1915.

I have been unable to identify the cabin cruiser at the left bank. She is similar to a Woods ‘Delight’ but I do not believe she is of that class; I will keep trying. Thankfully, I have been more successful with the yachts which are usually the more challenging craft to identify. Addendum May 2015 See below for new information.

Sailing past is ‘Selda’ a gaff sloop of 24ft. She and her class sister ‘Sirena’ where on hire from George Smith & Sons at Wroxham and were described as “Yachts of the popular amateur sailing man’s type” which I suppose means that they were quite lively? They were also described as having four berths, although this expected that one member of the crew slept on a mattress in the well. These yachts were built in 1912 and originally they also had a cot in the forepeak for an attendant. Both the yachts had been withdrawn from the hire lists by the late 1930’s.


The two sister yachts making sail on the far bank are of the ‘Clipper’ class from Chumley & Hawke at Horning. Again, these yachts were quoted with one berth in the well and, as can be seen from this extract from the 1939 Blakes’ Holidays Afloat, were described as having “first class sailing” qualities for experienced helms.


                                                                                                                                © Blakes Holiday Boating 1939
 
It can be a funny old hobby, at times, this postcard collecting malarkey! I posted the above card quite early on in the life of this website and at the time I was unable to identify the cabin cruiser on the left. I intended to keep trying but the issue was forgotten about, over the years, as things moved on. Last year I bought a card showing a scene near Sutton Staithe, just for my collection because I liked it, not particularly for use on the web-site. The view contained a cabin cruiser which was close enough for her name to be read. Then very recently I purchased the card below because I was interested in the Wherry Yacht. It was only when I began writing about her that it dawned on me that the cards (all by J. Valentine) were part of a close sequence from c.1935 and the same cruiser was in all the pictures. Clearly the photographer was using her as transport and accommodation whilst touring the Broads on assignment to the postcard company.

However, I have been unable to discover any more information about this boat. All that I know is that she is B 427 ‘Golden Wings’ and I would say she has the appearance of a hire craft but I have no record of any such craft from a Blake’s affiliated yard. Possibly she was from an independent yard or one of those affiliated to Jack Robinson’s ‘Broadland Yachting Association’ she may have even been privately owned but this seems a little less likely given that she is clearly being used for a photographer’s cruise but who knows?

                  
                                                                                                            A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

This 1935 card grabbed my attention, recently, because of the not quite so well known Wherry Yacht, seen here passing Boardman’s Mill on the River Ant. This is ‘White Rose’ and at the time she was in operation from Herbert Banham’s yard at Horning. His pennant is clearly identifiable in the picture. My information is patchy but I believe that she was originally part of George Applegate Junior’s fleet, based at Potter Heigham Bridge. In the early 1920’s ‘White Rose’ had removed to Wroxham but I am not sure at which yard, possibly Loynes’ or Smith’s? By 1930 she was listed as re-furbished and on-hire from Banham’s at Horning, at least until the outbreak of World War 2.

Now for something perhaps a little controversial? ‘White Rose’ is a “Wherry Yacht” the class of craft that evolved after the “Pleasure Wherries” (which were based on the original trading Wherry hull form) and were designed to provide a more elegant craft for the discerning customer. The designation was based on the assertion that these yachts had a “Wherry” rig. Did they though? ‘White Rose’, has a single mainsail, like a Wherry, but her sail carries a boom (as did most of the Collins’ Wherry Yachts) complete with topping lift, whereas Wherry sails were always loose footed! So one might argue that these boats were actually “Gaffers” or simply “Una” rigged?

Personally, I would tend to think that since these boats were intended to improve on the Pleasure Wherries and pioneers like Ernest Collins simply wished to maintain the title for market identity purposes? I don’t have any problem with that but if any reader has any comment or contribution please do not hesitate to get in touch.

              
                                                                                                                                                  A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

And just to prove my point here’s the card that finally put a name to this boat. I’ve had this card since last year and if you compare the three pictures and the close index numbers it is clearly the same boat in every example. With the benefit of hindsight it’s hard to understand why I didn’t make the connection sooner? Of course this just means that I have got to start searching for more cards in the same sequence now (at the least G.4401, 4403 & 4404) and I still have more questions than answers! Oh well, nobody said this was going to be easy, did they?

                  
                                                                                                                                                 A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

So, at least a few more cards in this sequence than I thought then? Here's my latest acquisition which has an earlier index number than those above. 'Golden Wings' is still at Stalham Dyke and now we have another unknown cabin cruiser to add to our list. The white cruiser in the centre of the view is similar to several hire craft of the 1930's but I have not found a perfect match so I will refrain from speculation. The yacht looks a bit easier? She is clearly one of Percy Hunter's fleet and I would say one of the larger classes (given the year and the sailing dinghy in tow) such as a Wood Rose or, perhaps more likely, the Luna class. Her crew are clearly preparing to moor as they have scandalised the mainsail by tightening the topping lift and lowering the gaff. The latter of which was a wherry man's technique and I take its use here as a sign of competence that would please Mr Hunter; who was famously fussy about whom he allowed to hire his yachts.


                                                       
The Day Tripper's Tour Boats Of Wroxham 

No series of articles about the Norfolk Broads should fail to include mention of the day trip ‘Tour Boats’ that have plied their trade on the Broads since the early 20th Century and beyond. I should say from the outset that others have researched and written about this topic, not least Carol Gingell of the excellent ‘Broadland Memories’ website see: http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk and of course nobody today could be better qualified to tell their story than Geoffrey Peek, the former Managing Director of the ’Broads Tours’ company; at Wroxham. I can thoroughly recommend his 2013 book “Personal Memories of Broads Tours” ISBN 978-0-95259440-9-6 as a highly entertaining read for all those with an interest in Broadland’s history. Not only that, it has helped me to put a name to rather more of these boats than I ever could previously. It is not an easy process to identify the boats from postcards because quite a few of them were built in pairs, or looked similar to one another anyway. Also, just to make it a little bit more difficult, the older boats were usually updated during their, often lengthy, working lifetimes. In some cases I am quite confident of my identifications but it is not always possible to be certain so when unsure I will try to make this apparent in my wording.

So: I cannot claim to bring you very much new information on this topic and I do not have a complete collection of images of these fleets but I would like to share with you some of the postcards, in my possession, that evoke memories of these elegant craft. Some cards feature the Tour Launches and they just seem to appear in the background of others. I wont show all of the latter, from my collection, just a few of my favourites.  

In keeping with the ethos of this website I shall only be concerned with the wooden boats which were in service from the outset until the early 1970’s when new boats began to be built in GRP. Most of the wooden boats were built by well known local boatmen for the fleets of George Smith & Sons, William Littleboy and Ambrose Thrower. The earliest examples, I know of,  were built by the Collins brothers and John Loynes. Alfred Pegg, Graham Bunn and Ted Landamore built boats in the 1920’s and Jack Powles built two larger boats before the 1939 - 1945 War. Herbert Woods, famously, built the very distinctive ‘Her Majesty’ in 1950 and after that Broads Tours began building new craft in their own boatyard. As you might expect: I believe that the wooden boats were very graceful and that they harmonised well with the scenery of the Broads. I would hesitate to say that of today’s novelty paddle boats.   

The firm that was to become known as ‘Broads Tours’ was originated by George Smith (when Licensee of the Horse Shoes Inn) and two of his sons. That firm also ran an expanding hire craft fleet of Yachts and Cabin Cruisers so following George’s death (in 1927) Clifford and Willy Smith sold the Tour Boat aspect of their business to Charles Hannaford; around 1935. After the 2nd World War, which had suspended Broads leisure traffic, Charles Hannaford continued to expand the business with the building of new boats and the “Boat House” on the Hoveton bank above Wroxham Bridge. He also went on to incorporate the fleet of  William Littleboy and premises of Ambrose Thrower both of whom were also based at Wroxham. 

                     
                                                                                                       A Postcard by Blake’s ‘Soham Wherry Press’

Here is The Boat House (just downstream of the railway viaduct) which was the post-war home of Charles Hannaford and the base of Broads Tours; incorporating their ground floor Riverside Restaurant. The boat moored alongside is thought to be ‘Duchess’ built in 1924 by Edward Landamore. In the foreground is perhaps the one boat, amongst these, that I can nearly always recognise straight away? This is ‘Broadland Belle’ and she was built by Alfred Collins in 1913. Initially she was operated from the Collins’ yard and in those days ‘Broadland Belle’ would accommodate up to 35 people for privately booked day trips. Dependant upon number in the party, she could be chartered for Two or Three Guineas per day, with an attendant to handle the boat. This boat was still being operated by Alfred Collins in 1930 when this entry (below) appeared in his own brochure. The description of the boat as ‘new’ is precisely the same as that in the 1916 Blakes catalogue. I can find no further reference to the boat in later Blakes’ brochures but I believe that after Jack Powles took over the business she was operated by William Littleboy until eventually being absorbed into the Broads Tours fleet with the rest of his boats; after the 2nd World War.


                   

An anonymously published postcard similar, in format, to Blakes’ Soham Wherry Press series sold by boatyards, in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is ‘Marina’ (with, I believe, Bob Chapman at the wheel) and she was the first boat built for Charles Hannaford by Jack Powles in 1937. Jack was the manager at Alfred Collins Ltd. and took over that business when Alfred retired around 1934. The sheds, seen here, were a familiar Hoveton landmark for over thirty years (until the Hotel Wroxham was built on the site) and, when new, were adorned with the name of the original proprietor “Alfred Collins” on the outer roofs; a common practice in those days. ‘Marina’ was built to the same design as an earlier boat, commissioned by William Littleboy, and named ‘Marchioness’, of course, after the incorporation of Littleboy’s business the two sister craft became part of the same fleet.

 
                                             From A James Valentine & Sons Postcard

‘Princess’ disembarking (?) her passengers at the Swan Inn. This is a crop from a postcard which is in numerical sequence with the view below. Both images were registered for publication and copyright by James Valentine & Sons in 1936. I believe that this is also ‘Princess’ in the picture on the right  (a box camera photograph dated 1957) and probably ‘Countess’ aft of her. The two boats are disembarking at Malthouse Staithe which was a popular destination for all-day trips from Wroxham. It seems to me that the two ladies remaining by the forward steerage may well be crew. In his book: Geoffrey Peek refers to the existence of some female skippers but this particular boat is not mentioned in that regard.

                     
                                                                                                                         A James Valentine & Sons Postcard

I have been waiting for an opportunity to share this postcard because I particularly like the composition and atmosphere of the picture. It is not really possible to assert the identity of the rather elegant, Edwardian looking, yacht although she does have the fine lines and long foredeck of a Banham class such as ‘Carissima’ or ‘Amorita’? A little downstream ‘Princess’ is still waiting for her passengers to return refreshed from the Swan and ‘Marchioness’ is passing by on her way back to Wroxham. I believe that must be the correct class sister because ‘Marina’ was not in commission until after this photograph was taken.
      
                          

This is an anonymously published postcard but I am crediting it to the ‘The Bell Series’ from Westcliffe-on-Sea. I have quite a few of this company’s real-photo postcards, which can be of stunning quality. Only about half have the company logo printed on the reverse but everything else in their format matches. In this case the picture dates from the late 1930’s and it is my belief that the launch is most likely ‘The Prince’, originally one of George Smith’s fleet built in 1923 by Graham Bunn; who built or sold-on several other boats for the Smith family’s hire fleet.

Some more of my collection of 'Bell Series' cards can be seen nearer the foot of this page.

  
     
A pair of ‘real photo’ postcards, that are again, similar in format to the Soham Wherry Press series but do not have any publisher endorsements. ‘Vanguard’ (showing a style very similar in appearance to Marina & Marchioness) cruising (I presume) on the River Bure and her sister ‘Vanguard 2’ on Wroxham Broad. It is probably no coincidence that Vanguard resembles ‘Marina’ because all of these boats were designed and built by Jack Powles. ‘Vanguard’ was launched in 1951 and her sister a year later. Both were commissioned by Seagull Coaches of Great Yarmouth and operated by that company in conjunction with their coach tours. The boats were based at the Jack Powles yard in Hoveton until they were sold to Charles Hannaford and joined the Broads Tours fleet in 1967. By that time both launches had white painted hulls which suggests to me that the picture of Vanguard 2 is rather later than that of Vanguard; as Seagull Coaches’ postcards do exist that show her with her painted hull.

                      
                                                                                                           Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A more recent colour card showing ‘Aekoia’ heading off from Wroxham. Judging from her course it would seem likely that she has departed from the old Ambrose Thrower quay, just above the bridge. ‘Aekoia’ was one of the early trip launches and (I believe) had been built originally for George Smith at the Horse Shoes Hotel. Another of Broads Tours’ launches can be seen in the background but she is a little too far away to confidently identify. To me she looks like ‘The Prince’ but I cannot be sure of that.

The presence of a Richardson’s ‘Broadsventure’ or ‘Broadlander’ class, with varnished hull and sliding canopy, at John Loynes’ yard opposite, suggests a date for this picture of around 1964 or maybe a few years later? Its interesting to ponder that this cabin cruiser is substantially larger than little ‘Aekoia’ who could carry 35 passengers. Personally: I had a dislike of these powerful Richardson boats in the 1970’s when, all too often, they seemed to be hired out to very young, same sex, crews who careered noisily around the Broads, leaving behind huge washes and clouds of smoky diesel fumes! I suppose the sheer number of berths on some of theses boats encouraged bookings by such groups of individuals who could share costs? Nevertheless, at times, it seemed like Arthur Ransome’s “Hullabaloos” all over again?

                            
                                                                                                            Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

‘Aekoia’ again and this time she appears to be coming alongside another of the Broads Tours’ fleet: ‘Countess’ at the Granary Staithe. ‘Countess’ was distinctive because of her unusual and old fashioned ‘Beaver’ stern. She was built in 1906 by John Loynes who also built at least two others that displayed this feature; in that decade. William Littleboy also operated the slightly smaller ‘Viscountess’ and John Loynes himself had ‘Blossom’ a ten seat launch in similar elegant style.  


                      
                                                                                                                                   Photo © John Hinde Ltd

A similar view to that above and this time we know the photograph is no earlier than 1972 due to the ‘L’ suffix registration of the red Ford Escort. Yes: I know the proportions don’t look quite right but I assure you it is an Escort.

This launch is ‘Enchantress’ one of the later and larger designs of Tour Boats. Unusually, she wasn’t built on the Broads but at the Banham boatyard in Cambridge (1934) and was operated by that firm on the River Cam. Bert Banham of Horning founded that yard and once he came to the Broads, in the 1920’s, his brother Harold (usually known as ‘Alf’) continued to manage the Cambridge business. In fact the Cambridge yard continued in business for quite some years after Bert died, around 1960, and his Horning yard had been taken over by H.T. (Percy) Percival.  Enchantress was purchased from Alf Banham and joined the Broads Tours fleet in the 1960’s.

                          
                                                                                         A Colour Master International Postcard by Photo Precision Ltd.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every day was as sunny and bright as this one? This1970’s picture taken from one of the front suite verandas at the Hotel Wroxham shows ‘Her Majesty’, the first boat commissioned by Charles Hannaford after the 2nd World War.  ‘Her Majesty’ was unusual for the fleet because she was designed and built by Herbert Woods at his ‘Broads Haven’ boat yard in Potter Heigham. She was built using the light weight ‘double-diagonal’ system rather than the conventional ribs and planking of a carvel hull. Herbert Woods was particularly adept at designing boats with low displacement and low wash hulls. ‘Her Majesty’ also displayed these desirable characteristics. She was launched in 1950 but, as far as I know, this was the only such boat built by Herbert Woods; who unfortunately passed away only a few years later. 

                                       

I acquired this privately taken photograph some years ago and have never been able to identify the launch although the location is noted as Wroxham. I think that is quite an early photo and possibly taken from the Horse Shoes’ moorings or the Granary Staithe. We do know that George Smith had a few small launches which were disposed of after the sale to Charles Hannaford. One such was a launch named ‘Whaler’ and given the appearance and construction of this craft, might it be that she is the boat of that name? I don’t suppose we will ever know!

                     
                                                                                                      Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

Here’s another little picture puzzle. I do have a theory but I must stress it is no more than a theory?

This is an un-numbered and un-posted ‘Photocrom Ltd’ postcard, but we can tell (from the trademark) that it is from the period 1905 -1912 and the caption informs us that this is the launch ‘Lyndhurst’ belonging to Messrs. Rounce & Wortley. The launch looks to have raised steam and is about to depart from the Kings Head at Wroxham; well Hoveton really. The photographer seems to have attracted the attention of the passengers and crew but they do not appear to be posing for the camera?

This same postcard can be seen in Geoffrey Peek’s book “Personal Memories of Broads Tours” and his copy was posted in 1910. Geoffrey also knew of this company as a printing firm, based at Cromer, and whom later produced work for Broads Tours. The photograph is typical of the period in that it appears to have been taken from an elevated view point. That is because they were often taken using plate cameras mounted on large tripods and placed on the roof of a cabin cruiser or launch. Even though it bears no index number, I didn’t think the card would have been commissioned by Rounce & Wortley. After all, why would a printing firm have a card produced by another company? However I have now discovered that there was some sort of business link between the two firm's as I have found another Photochrom card, from the same period, which bears the legend "Sold by Rounce & Wortley"!

So what is my theory? Well, I think this is really an early picture, possibly even slightly earlier than 1905 when steam boats were more common. George Smith gave all his self drive hire cruisers and yachts names that began with the letter ‘S’ and also had a motor launch called ‘Sombra’ in his early fleet. If you look at a side view picture of that launch (I don’t have my own copy unfortunately) you will see that the lines of the two boats are pretty much identical. So that is my suggestion: When (and if) like most others ‘Lyndhurst’ was converted to a motor launch was she re-named and did she join George Smith’s fleet as Sombra?  
     
 

River Thurne


                                                                                                                                Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©


A group of yachts at Thurne Mouth on the River Bure. The original card was posted in 1959 but I think it probably a slightly earlier photograph.  Nevertheless, I believe that the subject matter is of some interest. (May 2010: the original monochrome image has now been replaced with this colour example)

The nearest yacht is a ‘ Perfect Lady’ and the others are all from the fleet of Herbert Woods so I feel fairly comfortable in the conjecture that this was pictured during  the annual regatta of the famous “Lady Yacht Club”?

This club was founded in 1945 and initially the “Perfect Lady” class yachts were made available free of charge to the staff and families of the Herbert Woods organisation as an end of season “thank you” for their efforts throughout the year. The yachts would race to Thurne from their Potter Heigham base and spend the first night moored in the dyke. The next day would be spent racing in and around Thurne Mouth and would culminate in a dinner at the Lion Inn. A “merry” time would be enjoyed by all and the boats would return to the yard on the third day; ready to be hauled out for the winter. I believe that The Lady Yacht Club still exists and can thoroughly recommend Jennifer Woods’ book “Herbert Woods” A Famous Broadland Pioneer
(ISBN 0-473-08945-9) as a very good read if you would like to hear a lot more about these events; including personal recollections from some of the participants.

 



This unattributed ‘real photograph’ card is another pristine favourite; I would say, from the 1950’s. The mill was repainted in1950 but there is no piling on the Dyke’s bank which suggests that the picture wasn’t taken too long after?

It is easy to identify the class of the nearest cabin cruiser but not the individual. She is a ‘Finewind’ class from Graham Bunn’s yard at Wroxham; as is the cruiser moored just behind her. In those days the hire fleet were all presented with varnished hulls but I would say that this craft is a privately owned example. A number of these craft were built for private customers and she has the more costly wooden sides to her wheel house. She also has a flagstaff, with cross trees, on her fore cabin like her sister ‘Dijack’ which can be seen on the River Ant page. This is a mark of the privately owned craft and she carries a burgee with a roundel emblem. The only hire fleet that had a similar burgee was H.T. Percival, of Horning, but this is not quite the same and I have no record of their having one of these boats. Neither does the burgee appear to be that of any of the Norfolk Sailing Clubs?

Consultation of Craig Slawson’s database reveals a Finewind built in 1956 for a private buyer and then named “Bubble”. Her number was B843 which is possibly what we have here? It is not possible to be certain because these numbers can be very difficult to read in postcards and are easily confused unless the photograph is a fairly close-up example.

Equally, easily we can identify the Yacht motoring past as one of the Truman fleet from Oulton Broad; still in her varnish. She is an “Odyssey” class, similar to “Fantasy” but with a slightly smaller sail area; she was also built in the early fifties. See the River Ant page for more on A.D. Truman yachts.




                                                                                                                   Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A busy Potter Heigham Bridge in the 1950’s. I have included this card for its nostalgic atmosphere and unusual wide angle format; and, in the spirit of this page, because I like it. My eye is taken by the number of people enjoying the view from the bridge. A popular pastime on the Broads and often undertaken at this location in the hope of witnessing some entertainingly disastrous attempts at shooting the bridge. The parked car is a Standard Vanguard; the Phase 1 version which was built between 1947 and 1952. About ten years after this picture I learned to drive in an example of the later Standard Vanguard ‘Six’ model. It had a bench front seat and a floor mounted gear stick that would not have looked out of place in a ten-ton truck!

Sadly, there is insufficient detail to easily or accurately identify most of the boats in the picture and I am only confident about the cabin cruiser moored on the left. She is ‘Broadland Teal’ an early (1950) example of those uniquely designed cabin cruisers from Ripplecraft at Somerleyton. You can find out more about these craft on the River Waveney page of this web-site; in the Oulton Broad section.


                                                                                                         © Blakes Holiday Boating 1959


                             Broadland Teal at Wroxham c.1960          (From a postcard © Jarrold & Sons Ltd. Norwich)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       River Waveney Valley                                    
                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                            A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

It seems to me that Oulton Broad was much more popular with the postcard photographers in the early years and between the two world wars? Judging from the level of development at the Yacht Station and the postcard index number I believe that this, once again - pristine, example dates from 1933. At the mooring are various flush decked and launch style cruisers of the period and in the foreground we have a ‘Motor Sailor’ the like of which I have never before seen.

I would say that the day boat [nearest the camera] is a “Waveney One Design” as can be seen on the River Bure page but I am intrigued by her companion.

At first glance you might (like me) take her to be a smart cruiser in the Flush foredeck style popular in those days. It is only with more careful examination that one realises that the Gaff Yacht rig is not that of a craft moored on the far side of the pontoon but is that of B148 “BELLE” herself; the craft in question.

“Belle” is, I feel sure, a privately owned craft? Possibly owned by the same skipper as the ‘Waveney’ day sailor who may be here for the racing? She has a fine entry and is round (possibly counter) sterned, giving her an elegant appearance and, probably, good sailing qualities. She appears to have an electric anchor winch and she carries navigation lights. The former must have been the latest kit in this era and the latter implying that she has sea going capability or at least the ability to make night passages on the Broads?

It would be fascinating to hear from anyone who knows of this boat or has memories to share.

August 2010: An enquiry from Mr Brendan Flynt, who owns a very similar boat to 'Belle' and is about to restore her, has provided a vital clue. That is that the boat was built by J.W.Brooke's 'Brooke Marine' of Lowestoft.

Armed with this information I have even been able to locate another example, built some four years after Brendan's in 1933. The latter has twin Lister Diesels and is currently for sale. She is lying at Falmouth and has had her trunk roof and canopy replaced in Epoxy sheathed
Marine Ply. Interestingly, her design gives her length on the waterline as exactly the same as her length overall, maximising hull speed for her size.

Of course Brooke Marine made their own engines and it may be that these have been replaced by Listers later. Here is what Alfred Collins had to say in his 1930 brochure:


 


 

Another fascinating card from Oulton Broad (publisher unknown) which definitely falls within my “mystifying” group for this page.

Judging from the folks’ attire I am guessing 1930’s or possibly late 1920’s? Clearly our group are watching some mixed class ‘handicap’ racing and, in view of the bunting, it may be that this was a regatta rather than a club racing night?

The larger craft (sail emblem ‘C’) behind the gentleman appears to be a “National Canoe” class. Her hull reminds me, a little, of the old fashioned, boy scout, kayaks that were built with a canvas hull stretched over plywood frames and stringers but it bears little resemblance to the International Canoe of today. The boat just ahead of her looks like a Broads One Design (aka BOD or Brown Boat) to me; but the class of the leading boat is not so clear.

To me, this craft looks like a Yare & Bure One Design or White Boat; but no matter how hard I stare at it, the sail insignia still looks like a ‘B’ and not a number 8!  A White Boat would carry only her class number on the mainsail and the letter ‘B’ would indicate a Norfolk Dinghy; of which this is not an example. The Norfolk was introduced in 1931 having been designed and built by Herbert Woods to provide an inexpensive alternative to the, then, National 14 and carried a ‘B’ for Broads rather than cause confusion with the ‘N’ of the National 12. 

Finally, and although there is not much to go on, the Pleasure Wherry does not appear to be any one of the examples still around today but there were rather more at this time and wherries were a popular choice for providing transport and accommodation whilst visiting regattas.


                            

Another race at Oulton Broad on what looks like quite a breezy day? This time we know the publisher is James Valentine and we can date the image to 1932 or 1933. The nearest boats are Yare & Bure One Designs (White Boats) and in the foreground we have 'Atlanta' which was built by Ernest Woods. What amazes me about this picture is the attire of the crews:  Flat caps and Tweed jackets! Hardly 'de rigueur' for a wet sailing event and how on earth did they keep their caps on; that day? Maybe this was a Commodore's Cup, type, race or one of those quirky-fun challenges, often arranged by sailing clubs at their regattas?

    

              

Recently I acquired three 12” x 8” photo-proof pictures of Oulton Broad that were endorsed for post card production in 1960. They are of stunning quality and at first I thought that the style of the titles and index numbers was familiar but (when I checked my collection) I found that I had no similarly formatted post cards. I thought to myself: “that's strange?” but then I realised that the familiar look came not from a postcard but from a souvenir booklet of tiny photographs I bought some years ago. The photos were anonymously published and despite measuring only 3 ¼” x 2 ½”  they are pin sharp and produce enlargements of outstanding quality. Incidentally, the blue effect is not a feature of the photographs.  It is because the originals are so large they will not fit on my scanner properly flattened!

I have since been able to establish that these large proofs were published by Edward Bodmer of Lowestoft; and were possibly destined to be included in the “St. Albans Series” which refers to the later publications printed by Photo Precision Ltd. of that same town. Edward’s postcards seem to be rather rare and it doesn’t help that they were often published anonymously. Nevertheless they are of outstanding quality and I am sure that they must have been produced using a large format camera such as the ubiquitous Graflex ‘Speed Graphic’ press cameras of the period? I just know I will be keeping an eye open for some more now that I have discovered Mr. Bodmer’s work!  

Now then: this view is so busy with beautiful wooden boats I shall try to refrain from including my usual dialogue and just have some fun with naming as many boats as I can. Thanks to the sheer quality of the photographs I can actually read a surprising number of the names. So here we go, anticlockwise from bottom left we have:

‘Shimmering Light’ Herbert Woods Ltd’s’ one off (and to me) rather ugly duckling, that appeared in the fleet after Herbert’s death; which was in 1954. ‘Spring Heather’ from Spring Craft of Brundall. This company joined  Bradbeer’s ‘Red Whale’ Fleet shortly after this picture was taken but had returned to Hoseason’s by 1969.

On the right we have ‘Craigmore’ the boat used as ‘Margoletta’ in the BBC series ‘Swallows and Amazons For Ever’ the stories of the Coot Club. More details of ‘Craigmore’ can be found on the River Ant page of this website.

The next identifiable boat is another varnished cruiser, this time displaying an elliptical white background to her number and a scrolled name plate. She is ‘Sea Wanderer’ a ‘Sea Scout’ class, four berth, from Alfred G. Ward at Thorpe St. Andrew; whose preference for these graphic features helps to distinguish boats from their fleet. Details of ‘Sea Scout’ can be found at Bramerton Woods on the ‘River Yare’ page. Next we have two cruisers with white hulls and varnished boot tops. This style and the painted burgees, on their bows are, again, a good clue to the identity of the boat’s home yard. That is Clifford Allen of Coltishall and the boats appear to be ‘Rolling Wave’ nearest with ‘Blue Wave’ alongside her.  

I cannot be entirely certain of the next boat in line? Distinctively she has her forward cabin superstructure extended to form a small cockpit at her bows. A much more secure viewing point for children etc. than sitting on the cabin roof forward. There were only a few similar boats, that shared this feature, and I usually associate it first and foremost with Ralph Moore’s ‘Clanmore’ class, but the curvature of this boat’s stem and the Blake’s plaque on her bow makes me think more of the ‘Rushleen’ & ‘Caroleen’ class from his near neighbours; Sabberton  Brothers of Hoveton.

Just behind the latter we can see the distinctive lines of a ‘Foam’ class from Jack Powles at Wroxham. She is ‘Glittering Foam’ and for my money this class would have been a more perfect match for ‘Margoletta’ in the Ransome stories; despite the author's implication that she was a unique cruiser.

                                      
                                     Flying Foam in the 1930’s complete with her own ‘Hullabaloos’

Finally, for the picture [above] and in front of Waller’s Store, we can see a boat that always leaves me a little bit unsure but we can say with confidence that she is one of the class pair ‘Wayfarer’ or ‘Just Jane’ from R. Richardson at Stalham; although of course that business was founded here at Oulton Broad.  
         
                  

In this second example we can still clearly see ‘Wayfarer’ but the new camera angle has revealed even more boats that were previously hidden from our view. Unfortunately a few still don’t reveal enough of themselves to enable identification.

Returning to the boats that are stern-to on the main quay: I can’t really see enough of the first boat but she appears to have the pennant of Herbert Banham or more likely, by then, ‘Norfolk Holiday Boats’ the re-incarnation of his fleet owned by H.T. Percival; possibly ‘Frivolity’? (Please see the later Beccles section below) Next we have a ‘Janette’ class from Martham Boats (Also to be seen in the Beccles section and on the ‘Lower River Bure’ page) and a couple more unidentified (mostly hidden) boats. Finally the white hulled boat with the dark boot top is ‘Quaker Girl’ a 27’ four berth cruiser from A.H. Carr of Horning.

Lastly the large cruiser ahead of “Just Wayfarer” is also a Richardson’s boat. Most likely a 40’ nine berth ‘Merlin’ class but also very possibly one of the two strong ‘Osprey’ class which were similar but lacked the extending double berth in the saloon; reducing them to eight berths.

    
    
A selection of the small photographs from my souvenir booklet. I particularly like the one with ‘Delight IV’ approaching Wroxham Bridge. These three pictures are all in my screen-saver slide show and that is the reason that the format of the large photographs initially seemed so familiar.
 
                                        

This is, so far, the only ‘actual postcard’ published by Edward Bodmer that I have managed to locate but its quality is clearly evident. The card was posted in 1962 but may have been photographed somewhat  earlier; judging from comparison with known dates of the Oulton Broad serial numbers? The white building is the 'Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club' which organises events both on local tidal waters and inland locations including the nearby Oulton Broad. The boats present are a mixed group and most fall outside my usual remit but I can say that the elegant yachts (on the left) are of the International ‘Dragon’ class which was an Olympic racing class from 1948 to 1972.  Although this view is not strictly on the Broads it is not far removed and I have seen many postcard views of this harbour dating back as far as the late 19th century. Indeed, according to their website, the Yacht Club was inaugurated in 1849 and received its Royal Warrant in 1898.

This location again has an Arthur Ransome connection because it was where his famous 'Swallows & Amazons' characters met the eponymous 'Peter Duck' before setting off for blue waters in their schooner 'Wild Cat' ..... that
man gets everywhere!

                   

Another ‘deckled edge’ postcard that appears to be by this same photographer; although this time it is an anonymous publication. Please forgive this inclusion as it really is stretching the Broads connection a bit too far but I am interested by my search for cards in this series and guess what? There is another Arthur Ransome connection! Could that be the sound of groaning I can hear? Sorry about that

This is the famous ‘Butt and Oyster’ at Pin Mill on the River Orwell near Ipswich.  An inn of this name has been on this site for over five hundred years and the name is thought to refer to a barrel of oysters or, perhaps more likely, “Butt” is a reference to the local name for the flat fish (Flounder) which frequent the oyster beds hereabouts. An interesting combination from the 16th century menu perhaps?

This location is steeped in the Arthur Ransome connection both in life and in literature. Again this was the location for the beginning of a Swallows and Amazons story. In this case: “We Didn’t Mean to go to Sea” which only involves the Swallows but they are reunited with the Amazons in its sequel “Secret Water”. At the beginning of the story the Walkers are staying at the Butt and Oyster where they share a meal with their new found friend Jim Brading after helping him to pick up his mooring at the end of a tiring solo voyage.

In1935 the Ransomes had relocated from the Lake District  to Levington in Suffolk, near the north bank of the Orwell. Arthur bought a 28ft David Hillyard yacht and brought her from the Isle of Wight to his mooring at Pin Mill. He renamed the yacht ‘Nancy Blackett’ after his Amazon heroine; whom he acknowledged as providing the means for the purchase. This yacht was the model for ‘Goblin’ the yacht in which the Walker children [Swallows] find themselves adrift and end up sailing to Holland. They are without adult supervision after an accident befalls their skipper, Jim Brading, whilst he is ashore in Felixstowe.

Arthur loved his sea kindly little yacht ‘Nancy Blackett’ but apparently his wife Evgenia was less enamoured. So a few years later a new and larger yacht was built  for the couple by Harry King at Pin Mill; a yacht builder as famous as any on the east coast in his day. That yacht was the ‘Selina King’ a 34ft double ended sloop designed with the shallow eastern estuaries in mind. Harry King’s boatyard is still in business today but I believe that the last of his family, to succeed him, has now retired.  http://www.kingsboatyard.co.uk 


                                                                  Beccles     

Most of the following Beccles postcards, plus the Lowestoft and Geldeston ones, were published by Harry A. Spashett who was a retailer in the town of Beccles. Nothing unusual in that you might say but Postcard ‘Series’ sold by retailers were more usually produced by well known national publishers such as the local Jarrold’s of Norwich; and simply endorsed by the retailer as their own. A good example of this would be Roy’s of Wroxham who sold many cards printed by Jarrold’s.

Harry Spashett actually took his own photographs and sold the cards as ‘Real Photograph’ prints from his shop and I personally find them to be of very high quality. Spashett’s of Lowestoft commenced trading in London Road North, Lowestoft around 1890 but the patriarch of that company died in 1933 and it my belief that it was around the same time that Harry Spashett started his own business in Market Street, Beccles.  A 1933 Advertisement described his trade as: Bookseller, Newsagent, Stationer, Toy & Fancy Goods Dealer. Crest China, Purses & Handbags, Cricket & Tennis goods, Fishing Tackle and a “Special Series of Postcards of Beccles from my own Photographs” Here is a view, by another publisher, entitled “St Michael’s Church, Beccles” but which clearly shows Spashett’s “Toy Shop” in the 1960’s. Of course we now know they sold a lot more than toys. Harry died in 1964 but by that time he had opened another shop, in Bungay; which was managed by his son.

The building is well over a hundred years old and had the faca'de renewed at some point but (In this day and age) it is perhaps surprising to note that number 32 New Market is still trading in the same business as Halesworth's 'The Toy Box'. The old London & Provincial Bank building, next door, has since been replaced but the 'White Swan' remains as the well known Swan House Restaurant and Bar.


                       
                                                                                A Photo Precision Ltd. (Colour Master International) Postcard c.1965

I can’t resist a personal comment about the cars: My Grandfather had an Austin Cambridge like the red one in the foreground. It was the original version, as here, with the big rear wings. His was a 1961 Mk11 model; if I remember correctly? It could have been the A60 I suppose? I do remember it was turquoise with matching upholstery! The pick-up truck next to it is a derivative of the previous Austin Cambridge (the A50 or 55). Then we have several Mk 1 Austin 1100’s, a version of which I had in the early 1970’s and a Wolseley 1500. A second hand 1965 model like this was my first proper car. A nice runner (by the standards of the day) but what a rust bucket!  Finally a couple of Fords: a Lemon coloured ‘Classic’ and a ‘Consul’ – my boyhood heaven! 




                                                                                                                                       Postcard by H.A. Spashett. Beccles

                                                                                                                                                          

A busy morning at Beccles Yacht Station. It looks as though the crew of “Lucky Days” have just cast off and are heading out towards the river. They are rather better dressed than the average Broads holiday maker; I must say! This will be around 1955 and I am unsure whether the crew’s attire and the bunting on the boat to our right might indicate that the picture was taken during the Beccles Regatta? To be honest though: the “bunting” could just be a holiday maker’s laundry drying in the breeze!

By the time of our postcard ‘Lucky Days’ was on hire from C.B. Darby and Sons’ yard near the famous Wherry Hotel at Oulton Broad but she originated from the nearby fleet of Frederick Miller (father of the well known Teacher, Artist and Writer: Philippa Miller) where she was built in [around] 1936. She was then known as ‘Spear’ and was one of Miller’s attractive ‘Arrow’ class of two berth twenty footers. The style ‘Spear’ displays here with her short stepped foredeck was a signature of Miller’s designs. Fred Miller and his son both died during WW2 and the fleet was sold off at Wroxham when the holiday hire recommenced in the late 1940s.

                                             

                      
                                                                                                                                                  Postcard by H.A. Spashett, Beccles
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Another crisp image from the same publisher and one that is very close, in sequence, to number 5 above. This suggests that the two photographs were taken in quick succession but I am not so sure on this occasion as this view is from the same direction but the camera has been moved a little closer to the main river (perhaps on board the Windboat in the foreground of the other card?) and the boats appear to be a different group from those one might expect to see if judging from the previous view.

Nearest to the camera is ‘Panda’ a 30’ 4 Berth, Aft cockpit cruiser from the Horning yard of H.T. Percival. She is of the 1930’s style but only appeared in this fleet after the 2nd World War ended. Nevertheless ‘Panda’ had left the hire fleet by 1963.  Astern of ‘Panda’ is a Graham Bunn ‘Windboat’ of the post war designs. I would say that she is of the 39ft 6” ’Fairwind’ Or ‘Finewind’ classes but it is not always possible to distinguish between these cruisers because of their similar appearance.

The presence of forward running side decks, which are only really apparent in a frontal view like this, identifies the adjacent ‘Woods’ cruiser as one of their larger 42’ Seven or Eight Berth Cruisers. In fact, acquisition of another card in this series, reveals this to be 'Highness of Light' an Eight berth built in 1934/5 and remaining in hire until 1979. Not a bad innings and testament to the original build quality I would say! Nevertheless a few remaining Woods' 42's were still in hire for a few years after that; until around1984. I would think that the design of these boats was probably unique in that most pre-war boats of this style had no side decks forward of the cockpit; crew members stepped up onto the main raised deck. The forward cabin on this class had a superstructure (rather than raised hull sides) that extended to the stem head; leaving the side decks to taper away to nothing at that point.

               
                                                                 © Blakes Holiday Boating 1962                                    © Blakes Holiday Boating 1968

                               
                                                                                                                                                    Postcard by H.A.Spashett c.1955

This was the day Harry Spashett caught a whopper! So I was going to start this off with an observation that to the best of my recollection I had never seen another postcard that shows this quite unique wherry yacht with her distinctive bow, emulating the style of the old Tea Clippers such as ‘Cutty Sark’ or the ‘Thermopylae’.

I suppose that sometimes happens when you have a lot of postcards? It’s a good job I checked because I found another one in my own collection, I don’t even remember buying it! Not a scenic view this time but one amongst my Boatyard cards. Quite a few boatyards commissioned their own photo-cards for their brochures and to sell as souvenirs to hirers but this particular firm actually had their own not insubstantial shop at Oulton Broad; which they advertised as selling everything from Air Guns to Wireless Sets!  That firm was Leo A. Robinson of Oulton Broad and the Wherry Yacht is ‘Rambler’. She was 60ft in length, had accommodation for nine guests in five private cabins (four double and one single) and could be chartered with skipper and attendant for £33 - £65 per week around the time this picture was taken; dependent upon the season. My earliest listing for Leo Robinson dates from 1916 and ‘Rambler’ was on hire that year. She survived through the 1939-45 War but my last record is 1959 when she was only in hire as a Houseboat, on Oulton Broad. Robinson’s which was by that time being run by Leo’s son, Neville, ceased trading altogether a year or two later.

Identification of the cabin cruiser was not quite so easy: my first thought was ‘Silver Broom’, one of C.J. Broom’s earlier designs from around 1920, which was very similar in appearance. However, taking into account the vintage of this series of pictures (and the fact that Broom’s had modernised their fleet after the war) a much safer bet is that she is from Eastick’s Yacht Station at Acle; and of the slightly larger ‘Damask Rose’ class. That is: ‘Damask Rose’ and ‘Tudor Rose’.
  
      
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
As I said: I don’t remember buying this postcard of Rambler but that is one of the pitfalls of collecting. On-line auctions are not a problem because one can check to see if a card is in your collection before bidding. Although I do sometimes buy further copies of cards where, let’s say, I have a print and I find a real photo edition or my copy is damaged in some way? Postcard Fairs are a different prospect because of the sheer volume that one gets through in a few hours; often thousands. Several times I have come home only to find I already have a copy of one of my purchases. On one sorry occasion I found I had bought two copies of the same card, from different dealers, at the same fair. It is for this reason you see some collectors attending fairs with a lap top or tablet in their bag – it’s not just me!                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                 
                                                                                                                                                                Postcard by H.A. Spashett, Beccles

I particularly enjoy this scene because of its photographic quality and the fact that quite a few people have been included. This is what postcard collectors refer to as ‘animated’ and although at times examples may be ‘posed’ for the camera this scene appears to be entirely natural. Even in a monochrome picture we get the sense of a warm summer’s afternoon with people sunbathing and relaxing in their swim wear. The card is entitled the “Car Harbour” but it is my belief that it should, more correctly, be referred to as the ‘Caravan’ Harbour; which sat between the road bridge and the Yacht Station.

I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess at the identity of the closest cruiser, she looks a smart craft but we only have a partial view and similar boats, of this pre-war design, were represented in a number of classes; particularly those based at Wroxham. Likewise, the cabin cruiser passing up river is of similar but distinctive style. However, the advantage of viewing the original reveals that she has side deck safety stanchions and a dinghy in davits on the stern. Both these features mark her out as a privately owned craft and therefore outside my remit - shame.

Thankfully the little, three berth cruiser, in the centre of the picture is a lot easier. She is a ‘Pinta’ from H.T. Percival at Horning. The same yard as ‘Panda’ in the previous view. There were six boats in the ‘Pinta’ class and they began to appear in 1953/4. The class remained in the Percival fleet until his retirement, in the early 1970’s, when his fleet and main premises were sold off.

                                     
                                                                                                             © Blakes Holiday Boating 1968

                       
                                                                                                                       Postcard by H.A. Spashett. Beccles

I have pretty much given up trying to understand the Harry Spashett index system as this is the third card I have found which is endorsed with the number ‘2’ and there are a few with no index number at all. My favourite postcards are always the real photographs but this is an example that has been printed from an original that has had colour added by hand. This is similar to the [Collotype] system used by M&L and another example can be seen below. Nevertheless it’s a charming scene and I had to include this card for that reason; if no other. The boys have obviously been enjoying a swim in the river and even appear to have rigged up their own spring board but, to be honest, some of their body language does not convince me that it is a very hot day. Of course the river water would always be cold; naturally I do speak from experience!

This is in the early 1950’s and the boat identities are not straight forward (one has defeated me) so If any visitor wishes to question them I will be more than happy to receive their own suggestions. Behind the bathers is one of the ten strong ‘Janette’ (or possibly the ‘Judith’) class from the rather wordy ‘Martham Boat Building and Development Company Ltd.’ Which is usually referred to as Martham Boats nowadays. This company, like quite a few others, was founded soon after the 2nd World War but has survived to this day with quite a few of the original fleet remaining in hire. There are also further additions to their fleet including White Boats, some newer day boats and the Horning - Norfolk Broads Yachting Company yacht fleet gathered by Mike Barnes. In the early days Martham Boats were not affiliated to either Blake’s or Hoseason’s, booking agencies, so archived brochure information is not so readily available. However, along with Fred Brinkhoff’s ‘Brinkcraft’  they were major participants in the shorter lived Bradbeer ‘Red Whale Fleet’ in the 1960’s.    

I am sticking to the ‘Janette’ assertion because I have a 1965 picture of one such whose number was B829 which is at least ¾ correct for the boat in this picture. This example is seen here in the original trim but in later years the boats received several face lifts. Initially the portholes in the raised hull were joined together to form two elongated windows and the hulls were enamelled white. Later the forward decks were lowered flush with the after deck and entirely new superstructures were fitted to give an altogether more modern appearance. As you might expect: I am very much in favour of older (Classic?) wooden boats being available for hire. Other than a handful that are available for skippered day hire I am only aware of one other firm that is developing such an idea: www.littleships.co.uk  Maybe one day if I win the lottery?

Birdwatchers of the ‘Twitcher’ persuasion (not me…. honest) have an expression that they use when a rare bird is reported but the ID is considered questionable. They say that it is ‘Stringy’ but I hope you will be kinder about my suggestion for the white cabin cruiser with the red cabin roof; just  behind the boys and the rowing boat.  The distinctive forward facing windows first made me think of Eastick’s ‘Vega’ class but that was easily dismissed because of the Hoseasons connection. Then I looked at the rakish ‘Tidecraft’ aft cockpit cruisers and the similar ‘Damaris’ from Stalham but could not find any that were a perfect fit. I knew that those windows were a key feature but couldn’t remember where I had seen them before. Then I looked back at the 1952 Hoseasons brochure and there they were. The three strong ‘Swift’ class built by G.W. Bell & Sons (later 'Bell Boats') of Brundall from 1950 -1952. That is helpful because Bell Boats switched their affiliation to Blakes for the 1955 season so we can say with confidence that this card was photographed between 1951 and 1954. These cruisers were in the Bell fleet until around 1960 when I suspect there may have been a change of management because thereafter new boats were built and all were given names incorporating the word ‘Bell’ (e.g. ‘Merriebell’ and ‘Fiestabell’) rather than the earlier bird theme.  At least one of these boats was later to be found in the Red Whale fleet at Oulton Broad as ‘Orient Star’ but my information is incomplete for that period.


   
                                                                                                                                             © Hoseasons Ltd 1952

                        

                                                                                                                  
Lastly we can see a white (1930’s style) cabin cruiser (left of centre in picture) with what appears to be an asymmetrical cross either side of her stem. The painting of the firm’s burgee on a boat’s bows, superstructure or transom was a custom practiced by several yards at the time and I believe that this is the emblem of  E. Piggen of Hickling Broad. This firm later came to be known as ‘Whispering Reeds’ but was not, as far as I can tell, affiliated to either of the booking agencies until the 1958 season when they had joined the Broadland Owners Association; i.e. Hoseasons. This particular boat has a common design style and was no longer listed by Piggen in 1958. Consequently I have been unable to identify it. Help anyone?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                
                                                         
                                                                                                            © Hoseasons Ltd 1958

                              
                                                                                                                                                             Postcard by H.A. Spashett. Beccles

Here's another example of a Spashett postcard printed in colour after an original monochrome photograph that has been hand tinted. This example displays a little artistic licence (a pink Woods' cruiser?) and over colouring but it has a beautiful high gloss coating. Given the hairstyle and posture: I cannot help but wonder if the young man is the same as that nearest the camera in the earlier shot of the boys swimming? Perhaps even Harry's son who, by now, had been added to the company name H.A.Spashett & Son of Beccles & Bungay?

              
                                                                                                                          Postcard by H.A. Spashett. Beccles.

A view from further upstream showing an E.C. Landamore (Wroxham) built ‘Vesta’ class, 32’ four berth cabin cruiser. Details of the ‘Vesta’ class can be found below, in the section at Geldeston Lock.  

Now, in this case, I am in little or no doubt about my identification but it is known that Landamore’s gradually disposed of the four,1930s built, ‘Vestas’ soon after the war. Over the next few years these were replaced by new boats and the original class of four was increased to twelve boats. The example we see here is flying a Red Ensign from her transom and shows none of the usual (er..hem) vestments of the Landamore fleet; which leads me to think that this is one of those boats that had been sold off by the builder. In which case she probably appears here in private ownership as I have seen no evidence of the boats that were sold, in the 1950’s, joining other hire fleets.

In the back ground we can see St Michael’s Church and Tower, dominating the skyline, as is so often the case in pictures of this town. The wide building on the riverbank is the swimming place which was initially built to cordon off the section of river where locals traditionally enjoyed a swim in the clean upper waters of the Waveney. This building provided proper changing facilities and a safer environment for the bathers. Eventually (around the time of this picture) a heated outdoor swimming pool was built over the river water and the ‘swimming place’ became the Lido of today.
                                                                                               

                        
                                                                                                                    Postcard by H.A. Spashett. Beccles

Another scene from Harry Spashett which was included prior to the rest of this mini-collection for its value as a missing link! The yacht in the foreground is the 19ft. ‘Peony’ and in the early 1950’s Peony was listed as part of the W. B. Hoseason fleet although, of course, by that time the firm was being run by Hoseason’s son James (Jimmy) Hoseason. The extract from Hoseason’s 1952 catalogue (below) shows the yacht rigged as a Gunter Sloop. However she was built in 1923 by Fred Miller, at Oulton Broad, the first of a class of four ‘Una’ rigged yachts. This type of rig consisted of a more forward stepped mast and a single (Una) mainsail.  Such yachts were usually designed to be more easily handled by novice sailors without the dependence upon a sailing attendant.

W.B. (Wally) Hoseason was Harbour Master at Lowestoft and set up his holiday let business at the end of the 2nd World War. Initially with a small mixed fleet of craft acquired from various sources and rented out as Houseboats on Oulton Broad until such time as petrol-rationing was ended in 1950. The Miller fleet had been sold off when Fred retired after the death of his son; as previously mentioned. ‘Peony’ probably only remained in the Hoseason fleet for a few years as James soon modernised his fleet with the help of the local boat builders who joined with him in the ‘Broadland Owners Association’. This association was the only one of such to become a substantial and long term competitor to the ‘Blakes’ association and, of course, once it had become very successful James was to concentrate on this business and leave the running of boatyards to others. 

 
                                                                                                                                    © Hoseasons Ltd 1952

The cabin cruiser in centre of picture is a ‘Vesta’ class from E.C. Landamore & Co. of Hoveton and it is the image of this cruiser that leads me to believe that the picture is from the period when ’Peony’ was re-rigged and on hire from Hoseason’s own fleet at Oulton Broad rather than Miller’s, in the 1930’s.  

Landamore’s cabin cruisers were built to the highest standards and smartly turned out with white carvel hulls, grey boot tops and green cabin roofs. Before the war, the grey panel extended all the way to each boat’s stem. At the end of the war most of the surviving Landamore fleet was disposed of, except two of the ‘Vesta’ boats which were their most modern class at the time; four of which had been built from 1934. From 1949 the Landamore yard went on to build more ‘Vestas’ and the similar but larger ‘Vestella’ class began to join the fleet in 1950. All these new boats had their grey topside paint scalloped up to the side deck, aft of the bows, as can be seen above. Compare that with the 1939 brochure extract below. For me, this is clear evidence that this postcard was photographed after the end of the second world-war.   
I remember watching these immaculate but slightly old fashioned looking craft coming and going past our mooring at Summercraft in 1960 and, of course, they were  a pre-war design but most of them were quite new at that time. Nevertheless Landamore’s hire fleet was disposed of at the end of the 1967 holiday season and with the exception of the GRP ‘Cascade’ class yachts, which were in hire from around 1968 – 1973, the firm abandoned the holiday hire trade to concentrate on the construction of commissions for private owners and the larger ocean-going ‘Oyster’ yachts. 

 And now a momentary diversion?

                                                                                                                                     Postcard by Spashett & Co. Lowestoft                                                                                                                      
The purchase of this latest postcard suggests to me that I must, by now, have become a confirmed collector because I seem to be enjoying them just for their own sake, these days. That’s because, apart from the fact that this one has also been published by Spashett’s (and its got some boats in it) the postcard has no real connection with the remit of this web-site whatsoever! However, I couldn’t resist sharing it and my excuse is, I had a good idea of the age of the card and I was rather intrigued by the animated scene. Nevertheless all that I could discern initially was that it must be the occasion of some sort of pageant or open air play?

Well, hopefully you too, are a little intrigued? If not please accept my apologies. I will try not to make a habit of this sort of thing!

A little research reveals that this event took place in 1935 and the pageant was part of Lowestoft’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in honour of King George V. The pageant is a re-enactment of the occasion, in 1736, when King George II landed at Lowestoft. I think probably for the purposes of respite. The King’s party was returning from Hanover, his place of birth, where he spent enough time to make himself rather unpopular with his British subjects and his ship had been caught in a severe storm whilst crossing the North Sea. This was in the December of 1736 and the King did not arrive back in London until the following month; where he was (a bit controversially) indisposed for some time.

                        
                                                                                      Postcard by Spashett & Co. Lowestoft

Here’s another intriguing yet rather tantalising card. One of those that raise as many questions as answers! I was initially interested and acquired the card just because it was another real photograph by Spashett of Lowestoft and because it clearly shows a particularly elegant looking Edwardian Wherry Yacht. She is the ‘Olive May’ and the only record I have of her is that she was built in 1910 and was advertised, by Blake’s, for hire from a base at Oulton Broad in 1916. I am not sure of the owner but feel it may have been Leo Robinson or W.S. (Billy) Parker? Her burgee looks most like that of The Norfolk Broads yachting Company, as can be seen here in the enlargement, but that doesn’t quite fit with the known facts. Unfortunately I have no archive that could possibly clarify that impression. I only know that 'Olive May' had disappeared from the Blake's list by 1926.

                                                 
                                                   
Now then: most intriguingly, the year 2000 Journal of The Norfolk Wherry Trust includes a personal account, not originally intended for publication, of a trip aboard ‘Olive May’ which took place in the Autumn of 1919. It appears to have been transcribed from the hand written diary of a young lady who was invited aboard by ……. wait for it, the Spashett family! The family members are referred to formally (as Mr. and Mrs. Spashett) but reference is made to Miss Olive Spashett greeting their guest. I have inferred that the latter lady was in fact the youngest daughter of Alfred Spashett and sister of Harry A. Spashett. Her name was, in fact, ‘Olive May’ Spashett and it was her mother who ran the family Stationery and Fancy Goods business at Lowestoft. Several of their children (including Harry) were also employed in this business. Mrs Spashett’s husband, Alfred, was separately occupied as a chandler’s agent to the local fishing fleet and it seems that various other members of his extended family were connected to this Industry; both directly and in other ancillary businesses.  

So where does all this leave us?  The Spashett cruise took place in 1919 but the yacht was for hire with the same name by 1916 and I would infer that she may have been given that name from new? Could it be pure coincidence that like Miss Spashett the yacht was named ‘Olive May’ or did the family have a closer connection? Could this photograph have been taken during the 1919 cruise? Probably not because, although we know there was a crew of two, this looks to be a larger party of guests. Albeit, the guests do look very well wrapped up and I am reminded that our diarist made frequent mention of the cold weather prevailing during her own cruise.  Finally, of course, we do not know the date of this photograph; only that it would be pre-1933 because that is when the Spashett’s of Lowestoft Co. ceased producing postcards following the death of Alfred and Harry’s setting up in business for himself at Beccles.

                
                                                                                                                      Postcard by Spashett & Co. Lowestoft

There's not much to say about this card but I am set on creating a collection of this family's publications; come what may? The postcard is clearly from the same era as that of 'Olive May' above because the presentation of the cards evolved through several different styles over the years. All I can say for certain is that it will have been photographed sometime between 1910 and 1933. Most likely the early 1920's I would hazard?

That being the case we can say that the pleasure steamer is most likely "Yarmouth Belle" although she should not be confused with the contemporary but much larger paddle steamer, of the same name, which plied between London and Great Yarmouth with regular cargoes of holidaymakers. This little steamer was from the fleet of 'Pleasure Steamers Ltd.' of Southtown, Great Yarmouth and although she had a similar looking sister ship, the 'Waterfly', the latter only had a short life and was laid up in 1914. These steamers provided popular day trips to Wroxham, Norwich and Lowestoft from Hall Quay. A couple survived up until the 1970's. Perhaps the most famous of the fleet was the "Queen of the Broads" and she is pictured on the River Bure page.

Despite the card's title the actual location is Oulton Dyke and given the mention of 'Fisher Row' I take it that the view is quite near to the entrance to Oulton Broad but looking in the opposite direction, toward the River Waveney. Fisher Row is a local beauty spot where the lane (of that same name) runs down, to the north side of the water, from the village of Oulton St. Michael where the Spashett family lived at the time.

                    

A slightly better picture of 'Yarmouth Belle' with an Edwardian Party aboard for their day trip. The hand coloured photo-card was published anonymously and I am unable to be sure of the location but the vessel's name plate proves her identification.

               

                                                                                                                                                       Postcard by Spashett & Co. Lowestoft                

Another of the early Spashett publications which I have had in my collection for a little while now. I imagine it is quite a well known image because I have seen it in several publications, although there is a tendency to crop out the titles of cards like this; in books. The trading wherry setting off, under sail and quant and loaded to her ‘binns’, is fairly easily identified as ‘Meteor’ as her name plates are largely visible. She was one of two wherries owned by Samuel Barnes of Surlingham; on the River Yare near Brundall. ‘Meteor’ would make regular deliveries of coal from Lowestoft to Barnes’ premises by the Surlingham Ferry House Hotel. The firm also had a second Wherry the ‘Herald’ but I cannot say with certainty that she is that which we see here, still alongside. That Wherry’s masthead colours (which denote the owner) are not sufficiently clear. 

Like the other Lowestoft cards, above: One might suggest that this picture dates from around the time of the 1914 to 1918 War because ‘Meteor’ later changed hands and was given the new name ‘Lord Kitchener’ after the Field Marshall who very famously featured in the “Your Country Needs You” recruitment posters. It was seen as a national tragedy when he lost his life, amongst many hundreds of others, aboard H.M.S. Hampshire in 1916. The ship struck a mine and quickly sank, in very heavy seas, near the Orkney Islands. She was en-route to the Russian port of Arkhangelsk, shortly after the Battle of Jutland, for diplomatic meetings between Lord Kitchener and our Russian allies.

                           

I had seen this picture in the 1998 book, “Back to the Broads” by David Holmes of How Hill but did not realise it was a Spashett postcard until I acquired my own copy. I could not say for certain that it is the actual copy (used in the book) but, believe it or not, that has happened a couple of times in the past. Having received the card I was intrigued by the impression that some writing appears to have been obliterated in the bottom left hand corner. This must have been done by the original publisher as, with hindsight, the same feature can be seen in David’s copy. Perhaps the original caption was misplaced on the negative, rejected by the publisher and consequently brushed out by the photo-printers?

This card is also a little intriguing because it appears to be something of a missing link in the history of this publisher. To date I have discussed two distinct phases in my Spashett collection: Earlier than 1934 when the publisher was listed as Spashett & Co. Lowestoft, or similar, and the period after that date when Harry Spashett relocated to Beccles and published under his own name; for the next thirty years. The card is un-posted but it has a handwritten endorsement, on the reverse, with the date: 30.7.13. I would have said that the scene contains nothing that would lead me to doubt that date but after further consideration I am somewhat conflicted.

Putting that aside for the moment: my reference to a missing link relates to the fact that the publisher’s mark states: “Photographed by H.A. Spashett, Lowestoft” with no reference to Spashett & Co. or Spashett’s Ltd. as is usually the case. So could  this be an example of Harry’s earliest self publications; or just credit for his photographic efforts?  I do not believe his accredited Beccles pictures commenced until after 1934 but the publisher’s style of this card is clearly contemporary with the Lowestoft series.

And so: onto the picture, which shows the River Waveney a little upstream of Saint Mary’s Church. Two yachts are present in this picture that (despite its age) are relatively easy to identify; because they are both very well known. The principal yacht is Ernest Collins’ ‘Iverna’ a very stylish Victorian yacht built by Robert Collins and (probably) his eldest son Ernest in 1893. She is described as a ‘Cutter’ because of the very large staysail set to the end of her bow sprit. Latterly, such yachts would carry two smaller staysails (Jibs) set in tandem; which made them more versatile and easily handled by the crew. More recently, simpler ‘Sloop’ rigs were employed on Broads yachts after it became more popular for hirers to crew their own craft without the assistance of professional skippers.

Below is the 1926 Blakes’ Brochure page for ‘Iverna’ which shows that the yacht could be hired by six guests for the princely sum of £13.50p in the high season; including an attendant to sail the yacht for them.

In the postcard: the Motor Yacht ‘Enchantress’ can be seen moored just downstream and I it seems to me that some of the holiday makers wearing their ‘whites’ in the scene may well have been enjoying a cruise aboard that vessel. I have mentioned this craft on numerous occasions but there remains one small mystery that is maybe not completely clarified and which needs to be considered here. There was another similar vessel that operated from Oulton Broad in the early twentieth century. She was called ‘Viscountess Bury’ and she took day trippers for cruises on the Waveney.      

The mystery surrounds conjecture that ‘Enchantress’ and ‘Viscountess Bury’ were one and the same. I do not believe that was the case but please bear with me on that. I believe that they were two different boats but it seems quite convincing that the vessel that came to be known as ‘Enchantress’ was at one time employed under the guise of ‘Viscountess Bury’ as a means to make her more of an attraction because the more famous launch had previously been under charter to, the Prince of Wales (Later Edward V11) on the River Thames. That original ‘Viscountess’ was fitted out as a luxurious motor yacht but was later converted to a trip boat. It was after this conversion that she purchased by Herbert Banham for use on the River Cam. This was the location of his original boatyard, in Cambridge, where he was situated before he founded his well known business at Horning, around 1920. Thereafter his brother Alfred Banham managed the Cambridge business.

I am not sure to whom ‘Enchantress’ belonged when she was masquerading as the “Viscountess Bury” at Oulton Broad although I believe she was first purchased by one Henry Miller. I have also seen Leo Robinson postcards showing a vessel of that (latter) name and mentioning the Edward V11 connection. It is plain to see, from those postcards, that she is the vessel that became known as ‘Enchantress’ in the Robinson fleet and not the original ‘Viscountess’. On the other hand ‘Enchantress’ was not mentioned in the Robinson hire fleet until the early 1920’s. Of course, by that time she had been restored to luxury motor yacht specification for parties of up to ten guests .
 
             

At Oulton Broad it was customary to photograph the day trip passengers, all aboard the launch, at the start of their cruise and to have the prints (in Postcard form) ready for them to purchase upon their return. Some of these postcards survive and come on the market occasionally; I have a couple in my collection although, unlike those of Leo Robinson, they are anonymously published and show the launch with a dark painted hull rather than the white hull of ‘Enchantress’. Furthermore, as you can clearly see (below) these passengers are dressed in their Sunday best, rather than the sporting whites of a yachting party. This reassures me that it is in fact ‘Enchantress’ with ‘Iverna’ in the postcard above; not the trip boat. Coincidentally this postcard below - which, perhaps significantly, has no publisher’s trademark  was posted to a London address in August 1913. A date most likely to be very close to that of the actual photograph. Another fact which does cast doubt upon the hand written date on the Spashett card? As one might say, “Confound it Holmes”? The pictorial evidence points to the Spashett card dating from the 1920’s and its endorsement being erroneous; but why such a specific date? In any event handwritten dates on unposted cards are usually rather later than the photograph itself.

If you’re still reading this, thank you for your patience and my apologies if it all took a bit of digesting. Believe me, having written it, I am going for a little lie down in a darkened room! Further discussion of both 'Enchantress' and
'Iverna' can be found in the Bell Series article below.

                    
                                                                                                                        Millar & Lang. National Series.
 
This real photo card is one of a handful, I have found, endorsed the “M&L National Series" which was the trade mark of Millar & Lang Ltd. of Glasgow; and later London. The portfolio of this company was typical of stationery firms of the early 19th century but amongst postcard collectors they were perhaps best known for their black & white real photograph postcards; which they later reproduced in hand coloured 'Collotype' form. Most of the 'Broads' examples, I have seen, feature Beccles and appear to date from the 1950's. Miller and Lang were also suppliers of Stationery and Greetings cards so it is easy to envisage one of their sales representatives visiting Harry’s shop and admiring his postcards. Consequently, I can’t help feeling Harry Spashett might have been commissioned to provide photographs of Beccles for the Miller and Lang cards?  I have seen conflicting reports but I know M&L were certainly trading into the post war period and possibly as late as the early 1980's from their London office.

At least two boats predominate this scene but I can only be reasonably certain of one of their identifications. In the foreground is one of Herbert Banham’s ‘Frivolity’ class, similar to, but smaller than, the ‘Planet’ class. Banham was one of the earliest developers of the new self drive Motor Cruisers and came to Horning from Cambridge (were he also had a boatyard) in the 1920’s. Herbert built up a substantial fleet of cruisers and yachts but unfortunately he died in 1953. Nevertheless the company continued to trade, under the directorship of Herbert’s wife Cora, at Horning until about 1960 when the Banham fleet was purchased by their neighbour H. T. Percival who remodelled the firm as Norfolk Holiday Boats.
 

 
                                                                                                                                   © Blakes Holiday Boating 1939
                                                                                                                                                                                                                
In the background is an even more interesting vessel but in this case I am not confident enough to assert an identification; just a likelihood? Clearly she is a Thames Barge and such vessels brought bulk goods and commodities to and from Beccles and London for many years. In this picture two or three Bedford trucks can be seen alongside the Barge but it is not possible to say whether they are loading or discharging cargo.

Famously (well at least, amongst fans of Arthur Ransome) the crew of the ‘Teasel’ in his first story of the Broads (Coot Club) encountered a Thames Barge at Beccles. This was after the Farland twins had hitched a lift aboard her from Breydon to Beccles; while trying to catch up to ‘Teasel’ after missing her departure from Horning. The inclusion of the barge was very probably inspired by Ransome’s visit to Beccles in 1933. This was when he met the crew of ‘Pudge’ a Thames Sailing Barge owned by The London & Rochester Trading Company. He was enjoying a cruise in one of his favourite ‘Fairway’ yachts from Jack Powles & Co. of Wroxham at the time. Ransome was accompanied by another yacht the ‘Welcome’ and this was the name he used for his fictional Sailing Barge: ‘Welcome of Rochester’ Now I can’t be certain that the barge in my postcard is ‘Pudge’ but I like to think that she is one and the same. Certainly I have seen pictures of ‘Pudge’ and she did have a substantial wheel house just like the one in this picture; when she was still working. In fact ‘Pudge’ was one of the last sailing barges to be built from wood and she is still around these days, under the care of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust.
                                                                                                                         
                
                                                                                                                                                                            Copyright ©  www.francisfrith.com

Another lovely crisp image of the River Waveney at Beccles Yacht Station, this time from the Francis Frith collection of 1955. I was particularly taken with the image of ‘Elita’ in the foreground. She would have been one of the earliest craft to be book able through the James Hoseason organisation in the early 1950’s. At that time the firm also had a small fleet of their own based at Oulton Broad and many of their clients were based in the southern Broadland region.

This particular four berth cruiser was on hire from R.C. Harradine of Thorpe St Andrew and was, as far as I can tell, one of only two craft on hire from that owner. In fact I have no personal memory of this boat or her owner but their very obscurity made this a fascinating find.

The large cruiser passing by appears to be ‘Wayfarer’ one of the earlier examples from the fleet of R. Richardson (Pleasure Craft) Ltd. of Oulton Broad and, of course, latterly at Stalham.



                                                                                                                                                                                             © Hoseasons Ltd 1958

An image of this same cruiser appeared in an early advert for the newly formed W. B. Hoseason, Norfolk Broads Holidays Company. This is from 'What to do on the Norfolk Broads' 1948 Edition.


                                         Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd
                                                                                             
       
       
 
People who are not postcard collectors may possibly be forgiven for considering it might be a bit of a dry pastime or maybe an “anorak’s” hobby like (say) train-spotting or metal detecting? By the way: those examples were just off the top of my head, no offence meant to those that enjoy such pastimes.

I never concern myself with such ideas because whenever I go to meet friends and somebody produces an old picture of the district where we live or one of those “All our Yesterdays in such and such a town” books, the material is always greeted with enthusiasm and proves to be a wonderful source of conversation and memory sharing. If I am in my local hostelry a particular favourite is reminiscence about the old pubs of the town. Many of which had nick names that stuck for generations and people struggle to recall their proper names; the Pubs’ names that is not my friends’ - although I am not too sure about a couple of them?

The point of this introduction is to explain that many such publications are resourced by old postcards and this is why collectors like to buy ‘Topographical’ cards, e.g. Street scenes or views from their home towns, or ‘Social History’ cards, which are similar but tend to be more ‘Animated’ (containing lots of people) and may commemorate some ‘event’ such as a Royal Visit, a Ship Launching (or Wreck) a Parade, a Flood or some other such disaster. They do this out of general interest, nostalgia or to help in the presentation of the Genealogical Research they have done on their own families. Not least they may collect cards that reflect a specific interest which they may wish to write about and of course that is the group of which I now find myself a member.

Amongst these collectors: Many (myself included) particularly enjoy the monochrome “Real Photographic” cards that were particularly prevalent throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s; until they were largely superseded by the advent of litho-printed colour cards from the 1950’s onwards. This preference is largely because of the sheer quality of these images and the ease with which they can be scanned and enlarged, using today’s technology, without too much loss of clarity.

Some of the most famous postcard publishers produced fine examples of this process but a personal favourite is a smaller regional company known as the Bell Photo Co. of Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex. They also used the trademark “The Bell Series Leigh-on-Sea” although it is a little confusing as to which came first!. This company was based in Essex, rather obviously, and is particularly known for its images of East Anglia; although they also produced work from all over London and, to a lesser extent, the North of England.

The Bell Co. produced postcard images that many consider of outstanding quality and this is in part due to the fact that they used “half plate” cameras which, by modern standards, had enormous negative sizes ranging between 4¼” x 5½” and 5” x 7” dependant upon what type of negative medium was used; be it glass plate or sheet film etc. This was the secret of their excellent sharp images because the originals were actually larger than the postcards produced.

As I explained in previous discussions: Real photographic cards were just that and they were created using frames of multiple negatives on large sheets of traditional photo-sensitive paper. After the photographs were developed and dried the whole sheet would be passed through a guillotine to produce the individual cards.  Here-in lies a little difficulty with this company’s products: in that they used different supplies of photo-paper and there was variation in the publisher information printed on the backs of the cards. This meant that some cards were what is known as “anonymous” in that they bore no mention of the publisher. That said, the format and style of the back layout would be recognisable and all the cards had their title and serial number hand etched onto the negative so that they appeared on the picture side in the form of white text. The Bell Photo Co. was not the only firm to do this but consensus amongst interested collectors is that most of their anonymous cards are very recognisably the products of that company. I concur and I have identified at least six different styles of back, pairs of which are frequently found with or without a trade mark but which are otherwise identical.

The company can be traced back to the early Edwardian years and seemingly survived until around 1950. I do not know of any surviving records which would help to pinpoint the dates their cards were published but in my small collection I have examples that were posted between 1912 and 1956; although predominately in the 1920s and 1930’s. Here are a few of my favourites:

     

Here we are making our way up the River Bure just below Wroxham Bridge in, around, 1910. I have the next card (number 65875 in Titles above) which is almost identical and that example was posted in 1912.

To our left: two of Ernest Collins’ skippers are preparing their yachts for new guests. The yacht with her mainsail raised and her boom resting in the crutches is ‘Iverna’. A very elegant, Victorian Cutter Yacht of 40’ (on deck) with berths for six people. Iverna was built around 1893 and it seems probable that she was named and styled after a very much larger and very famous, off shore, racing yacht, built in1890, which competed alongside the royal yachts of the late Victorian era. In fact this conjecture is supported by the fact that several of Ernest Collins' yachts had famous namesakes in the world of international yacht racing. Not least of these was the locally famous ‘America’ who shared her name with the yacht that won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 1851 Challenge race, around the Isle of Wight. That racing challenge match was henceforth known as the “America’s Cup”, of which I am sure you are aware! Other contemporary Collins’ yachts named after 1st Class Racers and America’s Cup challengers included: (Royal Yacht) Britannia, Cambria, Mayflower and Valkyrie.   

Alongside ‘Iverna’ is one of the Wherry Yachts built by Ernest Collins. I can’t see enough of her to be sure but she is carvel built and looks quite large so, taking into account what is known about the date of this picture, she must be ‘Olive’ (named after Ernest’s youngest daughter) and would have been quite new at the time.

The small yacht directly ahead of us appears in quite a few photographs from this era; usually moored in this cross river location which was also part of Ernest Collins’ moorings. I have never been able to establish a positive identification for her but my best guess is that she is the ‘Restless’ a 6 ton cutter which was probably designed for estuarial work, originally. She is of heavy ‘clinker’ construction and she has raised gunwales with scuppers at the stern to let water drain from her decks. That was not a feature of the generic Broads yachts but they were only just beginning to emerge at the time that this picture was taken.

Further upstream we can see the Granary and the Pleasure Wherries of the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company; Probably ‘Dragon’ and ‘Fairy Queen’? - please see below: 

              

Unfortunately this card doesn’t seem to scan with quite the same degree of clarity as most of this firm’s production but since it is the opposite view to the previous example and it was clearly taken on the same day I couldn’t very well leave it out, could I? I don’t think those plate cameras had very fast shutters, if indeed they had shutters at all, and so camera shake may have been a hazard at this view point. In any event, all the pictures display a tremendous depth of field which in itself would necessitate very small lens apertures and consequently longer exposure times. I have sometimes noticed that camera shake or movements within the scene can affect the sharpness of some of these photographs. However this doesn't appear to have prevented the publication of some quite badly affected examples? 
       
In this view from the bridge we can see the premises of the ‘Norfolk Broads Yachting Company’ on the immediate left. Two of that firm’s most famous craft are in the foreground. They are the Pleasure Wherries: “Fairy Queen” and “Dragon” the former being the nearest vessel with the white mast top. On the far right are the moorings of Ernest Collins, where we can still see ‘Iverna’s mainsail in the raised position, possibly drying out after a soaking?

            

A recently acquired card that, again, has been photographed on the same day as those above. This time the camera has been positioned closer to the premises of the Norfolk Broads Yachting Co. (N.B.Y.Co.) and to the left we can see John Loynes’ yard with a pair of his Cutter yachts and the little motor launch ‘Blossom’ which would be quite new at this time. Through the arch of the Bridge we can also see one of Ambrose Thrower’s steam launches at her moorings. She is probably ‘Vivid’ which was built around 1875 and, around the time that the picture was taken, could be hired for thirty five shillings (£1.75) per day; including fuel and a ‘man’ to handle the boat.

Now that we have a closer view of the N.B.Y.Co. (Don’t you love the hats?) we have a better idea of the identity of the two hard-chine hulled yachts moored together: The  yacht on the left is ‘Badger’ or one of her two class sisters. I am not quite so sure of the yacht on her right but I think it probable that this is one of the similar but slightly larger ‘Alligator’ class; one of which (‘Pelican’) was later converted into a houseboat for Pippa Miller of Oulton Broad. Originally there were seven of these similar yachts and they joined various other fleets when the N.B.Y.Co. was eventually dissolved in 1920.

Finally: I am intrigued by the small ‘clinker’ built yacht that is being moved to a mooring astern of the latter two yachts. This is not the usual Broads type craft and she is apparently without her ballast so may have just been launched out  of the building sheds? If you look carefully she can be seen in the first post card above with her crew still aboard. The N.B.Y.Co. had three branches at this time. At Potter Heigham, Brundall and here at Hoveton where Fred Press (Snr.) was the manager but it would be pure speculation to suggest that gentleman was one of the two crew seen here, despite their typical boat men’s attire?
 
              
 
Ernest Collins’ moorings and basin (c.1920) on the Hoveton bank of the River Bure opposite his main boat sheds on the Wroxham side. In the back ground can be seen his brother Alfred’s main boat houses on the bend of the river. The name of Alfred’s right hand man and eventual owner of the business Jack Powles is emblazoned on the shed roof; confirming his roll as Manager.  The Pleasure Wherry on the riverside mooring is ‘Reindeer’ and although I cannot be certain of the second Wherry’s identity, I think that she is ‘Chloe’ with ‘Empress of India’ lying, mostly obscured, astern of Reindeer. At one time Ernest’s fleet included about eight Pleasure Wherries but by 1926 only ‘Reindeer’ survived. Wherry Yacht ‘Olive’ having been joined by ‘White Moth’, ‘Norada’ and White Heather. There was also ‘Liberty’ a carvel built wherry which was painted white to give the impression of a yacht.

I am really not sure about the white yacht in this picture, she is possibly ‘Britannia’, but it is interesting to note the stone jar on her foredeck. That was how you carried your drinking water aboard in those days. I hope they had a better system on the wherries where baths were provided for the guests’ comfort?
 
    
                                                                 
A particular favourite of mine, from the 1920’s, and one that has almost a 3D like quality about it; when viewing the original. Clearly this is another view of the Ernest Collins premises and I would like to think it is that very gentleman doing some running repairs on the foredeck of the nearest yacht; although I believe Ernest passed away in 1926 and this is more likely to be Jack Cooper. The yacht is ‘Reed Bird’ and Jack was her regular skipper. She was an early and very large example of what became the generic yacht type that is designed specifically for use on the Norfolk Broads. ‘Reed Bird’ was built in 1914. She was 40ft. long and 10ft. in the beam. The yacht had the distinctive feature of a full length skylight in her cabin roof. The covers for this can be seen in the picture, below the furled sail.

Activity can be seen in and around all of the boats so it is probably safe to assume that this is a Saturday when the change-over of guests would take place? Judging from her rounded counter stern the yacht behind ‘Reed Bird’ appears to be the famous Cutter style yacht ‘America’. At 43 ft she could accommodate six guests and was fitted out in the luxurious style of a small Wherry Yacht even, like them, including her own piano. Moored alongside her we have the Cutter Yacht ‘Iverna’ once more and in this later picture you can see that all the yachts have now been fitted with ‘stanchions’ in their stern sheets. These made it safer and more comfortable for guests to seat themselves there whilst under way. I am sure the reason that the counter sterns were usually squared off was to provide more room for this purpose. This was the hey-day of these elegant yachts which had catered for well-to-do Edwardian parties and survived throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. Unfortunately most of these yachts did not survive the 2nd World War and only a handful of skippered Wherry Yachts remained in hire into the early 1950’s

‘America’ appears to have a cross-trees spreader on her shrouds but it is my belief that these have been drawn into the image as none of these boats was thus equipped. Minor embellishments such as this were not uncommon in the postcard trade.

The elegant little yacht in the background is ‘Sunbeam’ a 38ft. four berth Gaff Cutter Yacht in the Victorian style; like a smaller version of Iverna. In 1926 she could be chartered for as little as £9.10 shillings (and up to £14 in the high season) including a “Man” to sail her for you. I have to consider that ‘Sunbeam’ may have been renamed after the earlier but outwardly similar ‘Lapwing’ had her accommodation remodelled to provide more permanent berths?  

     
 
The quay of Ernest Collins ‘ near neighbour: John Loynes, just next to Wroxham Bridge; circa. 1928. Mr Loynes is famously recognised as the man who was first to popularise the Norfolk Broads holiday yacht charter business. That is as may be but there were Yacht and Wherry builders and Owners in the region well before John Loynes and some were prepared to offer charters for Victorian customers in the short holiday season of that era. In those early days there was no very organised system for booking a cruise and potential customers would sometimes arrive with no arrangements confirmed and simply ask around. There was apparently a fairly good grapevine though and often if an owner had no boat available he might well know the whereabouts of colleagues who did have craft for hire. All a bit ‘hit and miss’ and in fact it was Ernest Collins who first formed the association with Harry Blake that resulted in the foundation of his booking agency in London. This provided advertising and centralised the process of arranging these holidays; a move that proved so good for business that many other yacht owners were quick to follow in Ernest’s footsteps and become members of the organisation.

Here at John Loynes’ premises we can see a similar mix of craft to those downstream at the Collins’ yards, although it was a rather smaller fleet. Before us is an example of the ‘Ripple’ class. These three yachts were built between 1922 - 1926 and are representative of the evolution of the generic ‘Broads’ yachts that we are still familiar with today. They are round in the bilge and low in displacement for the shallow waters of the Broads. They often have low free board and that is why these yachts invariably feature some means of raising the cabin roof when moored up; otherwise there would be little or no headroom in the cabin. They were also designed with a short fin of a metal keel for lateral resistance (necessary for sailing upwind) but which allowed the vessel to turn quickly when tacking in the narrow rivers.

Behind ‘Ripple’ is the Wherry Yacht ‘Golden Hinde’ which appears not to have been in commission at this moment in time. She has no after stanchions fitted and her mast is out. That suggests that this either the start or finish of the charter season. Perhaps she is about to be hauled out and battened down for the winter or is still awaiting preparation for the new season?

Now it gets a little bit more difficult! Here we have two of the heavy “Cutter” type yachts that survived at this yard up until around 1936 or 1937. My archive material for these boats is a little patchy. John Loynes had five or six yachts of this type but they were not always illustrated in Blakes’ brochures. Furthermore three of these yachts were listed as a class but, in fact, they were not all quite the same. That said, I do believe the inner yacht is ‘Coral’ and I suspect that the yacht moored alongside her is the largest of this type ‘Spree’ or possibly ‘Volunteer’ another name that is evocative of the America’s Cup yachts? These craft were long keeled and of heavy displacement, consequently some Rivers and Broads would be too shallow for them. They would be fast but not so “handy” for inland waters and probably their professional crews would need to make full use of their ample foresails to turn them through the wind when tacking? Amongst other things: It was the necessity for professional crews that ultimately saw the demise of these historic craft in favour of the generic Broads yachts such as ‘Ripple’ and ‘Reed Bird’ and many-many more, not mentioned here.  


                                                                  
Wroxham Week Regatta circa 1920 and in the tradition of such events spectators have turned out aboard various vessels, the larger of which are dressed overall to celebrate the occasion. The yacht in the centre of picture appears to be a smallish wherry yacht whose crew have erected an awning to protect their guests from the sun or the rain, whichever should prevail on the day? I do not know the identity of this craft and to offer any such would be pure guesswork on my part; so I shall refrain from speculation. It would be easy to suppose that this was a committee boat and it may be that she is stationed at one end of the start and finish line but I cannot see any sign of racing signal flags so she is probably not host to the Officer of the Day? Astern lie three more Wherries and it can be seen that at least one is a large Wherry Yacht; perhaps White Moth or Olive?  

            

“A Pretty Scene” but I think not at Horning Ferry, rather we are just passing the Village Staithe and making towards Swan corner; the year is around 1928.

I have pondered long and hard about the identity of the yacht in the centre of picture and have eventually formed an opinion which I am happy with; more of which in a moment.  I would say that the yacht has not long raised sail to get under way, as we can see her skipper busy “swigging” her halyards tight. This is a technique whereby the sail is raised as far as can be managed by hauling away on the halyard then by taking a single turn on the cleat and holding the tension with (in most cases) your left hand. Any slack is then taken up by pulling on the halyard at right angles with the other hand (a bit like a bow string) and then snatching up the slack with the left. This is what we see here, there would be no halyard winches, on yachts, at that time, and the process would be repeated until the luff of the sail was taut enough for efficient sailing. Ideally this procedure would be done without wind pressure on the sail but the yacht is clearly sailing, albeit very close to the wind, so maybe we can suggest that it is more likely the jib halyard that is being attended to here?  

So clearly this is a fairly large ‘attended’ yacht of the ‘Broads’ type and since these are generally of similar appearance it can be difficult to identify an individual from a postcard image without a few good diagnostic clues.

There are several subtle clues here to narrow things down a bit: The yacht is Gaff Rigged but most were at this time. She has a white enamel hull with her full width transom in varnish, a companionway to the starboard side deck and at least one cabin skylight; all fairly common features unfortunately! The first feature that really narrows things down are the cross tree spreaders on her shrouds. These appear to be a genuine feature (see my comment about ‘America’ above) and that was not really usual on Gaff rigged yachts of the day. It is not clear but my initial feeling was that the burgee could possibly be that of Alfred Collins? However, much more time spent myopically staring through a magnifying glass brought about the impression that it was actually showing a pale letter H on a slightly darker ground? That left only one possibility from my short list: William Hewitt’s ‘Belvedere’  and one last observation confirms that in my mind. ‘Belvedere’ had a rear cockpit, aft of the main well, where guests (probably ‘ladies’ in those non p.c. days) could remain seated and out of the way whilst the yacht was under way. With the benefit of seeing the original such a facility can just be discerned. So there you go: in my ‘opinion’ this is ‘Belvedere’ but, as always, I would be delighted to hear from anyone who has other ideas. For example 'Belvedere' was built in 1926 and the following year a slightly smaller and very similar sister class was born. That was the 'Belvoir' class (Belvoir 2 came later in1930) but they were generally for hire unattended and I remain convinced that the yacht seen here is Belvedere. Strangely, Belvedere was spelled with an I [Belvidere] in early brochures but this had been corrected by 1935.

William Hewitt had his home near to Wayford Bridge and had been a Wherry Skipper from a very young age. He set up his boat yard nearby and designed and built his own hire fleet of yachts and day boats; including ‘Belvedere’ which was the largest. After the 1939 -1945 War he retired and sold his business to J. Stanley Starksfield, himself a Marine Architect, who went on to design the two ‘Willow Wren’ yachts and increase the fleet with a few Motor Cruisers. The yard changed hands again in the early 1960’s when it became part of the Windboats group; then owned by T.M. Hagenbach who designed the ‘Flat Afloat’ Houseboats and went on to build Cabin cruisers and Marine Yachts using the Ferro-cement (Seacrete ) method.  

The moored yacht (right of picture) was very much easier to identify because her name can be read on the original postcard. She is ‘Miranda’ from Herbert  Hipperson’s at Beccles. Although it is not obvious from this angle ‘Miranda’ was actually a little larger than ‘Belvedere’ and would also be sailed with a Skipper in attendance and berths for five guests. It strikes me that taking an engineless yacht through the tidal waters of Great Yarmouth might have been a daunting task for this crew from Beccles without the benefit of an expert Broadsman aboard? Both of these yachts could have been chartered for £14 per week in the peak season and as little as £9 out of season, at the time this picture was taken.  

I was intrigued by the large and comfortable looking house boat on the opposite bank. She is the yacht conversion ‘Memories’ and is listed as having a Wroxham base. I have not been able to identify which yard she belonged to, as she was de-listed before Blakes started recording that fact in their brochures, but what is she doing here at Horning? Well sometimes people were allowed to move houseboats by Quanting them but in this case hirers could invest an additional £2.10.0d per week and have an outboard motor included in the charter. That way they could cruise rather further afield but we should not forget that this was quite a modern innovation in the 1920’s. Outboard motors were invented in the late 19th century, primarily in the United States, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that they really became efficient and reliable enough to be produced in any great numbers for the world market. Well known companies such as Evinrude and Johnson were amongst the pioneers at that time.   

And finally: just a comment about the cabin cruiser coming downstream towards the camera.The early designs of motor cruisers were often based on a yacht like hull with the forward hull sides raised to allow standing headroom in the cabin. The trouble is: from this angle they can appear like the simplest and smallest form of this which featured cabin forward and large open cockpit aft. However some larger examples evolved with an additional aft cabin superstructure which would not necessarily be visible from the camera’s viewpoint here. Having added that caveat we can see the scrolled nameplate which was a feature favoured by Alfred G. Ward at Thorpe and he had a pair of 3 berth aft cockpit cruisers known as ‘Sea Sprite’ and ‘Sea Finch’, which appeared around this time. That would be my best theory as to the class of this craft.      

        

This is a very intriguing scene at Horning, probably not long after the 1st World War, in which what appears to be Ernest Collins’ yacht ‘Iverna’ has had to find an emergency mooring near to Horning. I do not recognise the location but I am guessing that the Dike (sic) was on the ‘Lower Street’ bank of the River Bure. The yacht’s mast has been removed from its tabernacle and is lying on the rhond beside her. Two members of staff are attending to the work and the gentleman in the well looks a little familiar from the earlier picture of ‘Reed Bird’ could it be Jack Cooper again or is that just my imagination?

The mast’s counterweight (weighing up to one and a half tons in a Wherry but probably rather less on this boat) must have been removed (before the mast could be withdrawn) and that suggests that this is quite a big job to be undertaken in such a location; away from boatyard facilities. Hopefully, like many yachts she had a system of stacking a number of iron or lead plates to form the total counter weight? That would enable the men to remove the weights individually by hand. In any event, all this leads me to believe that the yacht’s mast (or even the tabernacle itself) must have been seriously damaged whilst under way, somewhere near to this location? I cannot bring to mind any other such incident that would require this drastic action. In the more likely event of a parted Forestay, Shroud or Halyard, or indeed any other breakage effecting the running rigging or the spars, repairs could be simply affected with the mast in the lowered position; in those circumstances its removal would not be necessary?

In any event it seems likely to me that the crew are stripping out and de-rigging the yacht’s mast whilst waiting for a replacement to be fetched from the boatyard at Wroxham. Maybe the guests have repaired to the comfort of one of the local hostelries to await the recommencement of their cruise - I probably would!

                                                                          
I recently found this card from the 1920’s and just had to add it to my Bell’s collection, what a cracker? Now, sometimes it can be almost impossible to identify working wherries from old photographs and even the wherry experts (one of whom I am most certainly not) are unable to name them all of the time. However we may be able to narrow this one down a bit because of the location? Despite the card’s title we know that this is actually the Staithe at ‘Catfield’ Dyke off Hickling Broad. The only Wherry owners, that I know of, who were based here (for very many years) were the Riches family.

John G. Riches was born in Catfield, the son of a Corn Merchant who had worked in his own father’s business; partly as a wherry man. As a young man John worked as a Drapers assistant at a large establishment in Norwich’s Market Place; possibly Coleman’s or Cundall & Son? Later he married a girl from the village, returned to Catfield, and joined the family business. Living, with his young family, near the staithe until the late 19th Century when they moved to Summer House Farm on Sharp Street; towards the western side of Catfield. John’s son William worked with his father and would probably, in turn, have taken over the family business by the time this picture was taken.

We cannot say for certain but since the Riches owned several wherries, over the years, and since their wherries showed a white mast head, it seems quite probable that this vessel is one of theirs. She looks to be on the small side which would have been necessary since the dyke was both narrow and shallow and because the famously tight Potter Heigham Bridge would need to be negotiated in order to reach these waters. Wherries which were required to navigate the upper reaches, and canals which extended beyond the Broads proper, were always built to a size that could negotiate those areas. Because of this most of the Riches’ wherries were only of 20 ton capacity and it seems to me that the most likely candidates here would be the ‘Violet’ or perhaps ‘Zulu’; there was also a larger wherry ‘Providence’ but since I have no information as to the dates that any of these craft were working it is not possible to pinpoint the most likely example?  As always, I would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be able to provide some more 
information.

                         

This is an interesting picture from the early 1900’s. At first glance you may take it to show two yachts one behind the other, which indeed it does! However take a careful look and you will see that the smaller sail actually belongs to the yacht nearest the camera and not the one further back. This tells us that this yacht is a Yawl, something rather unusual amongst Broads yachts, and which helps with her identification. This is ‘Luna’ a privately owned yacht built for Mr Horace Bolingbroke, who was Accountant to the Norfolk County Council. She was launched in 1902 and, as far as I know, is still sailing to this day; in the River Cruiser Class. I wonder, could that be the man himself on the fore deck and his wife Mabel at the tiller? It seems quite likely as the picture is contemporary with the couple’s ownership of the yacht.

I am not quite sure why ‘Luna’ was rigged as a Yawl? I have never sailed in such a yacht myself but I believe that this is a rig that was popular with single handed sailors; because the small mizzen sail helps to keep the yacht on course should it be necessary to leave the tiller unattended at any time. I don’t really understand how relevant that would be when sailing on the Broads where the confined waters require frequent changes of direction anyway. In addition it would be necessary to lower two masts at bridges? Twice the effort and would it be necessary to offset the mizzen slightly? It can be seen that the mizzen mast sits in a tabernacle, in the normal way, but I imagine the lowered mast must have protruded some way aft of the yacht; in the lowered position.  Perhaps Mr. Bolingbroke also planned some salt water cruising and thought the rig worthwhile on that basis?
  
           
                     

You might say that this is a slightly bland photograph but there is just something about the lines of our boat that I find very attractive? This is an example of one of the anonymous cards in this series but I am confident that it is rightly included because the serial number and location sits neatly between two others that are clearly endorsed as The Bell Series, Leigh-on-Sea. The card is pre - first world war (c.1910) and shows two nicely turned out Edwardian gentlemen having a gentle cruise in their lug sailed half decker ‘Iceni’; near Barton Broad.

I have no proof but it seems to me most likely that ‘Iceni’ (named after the Ancient Britannic tribe associated with
East Anglia
) was on hire from the nearby firm of Southgate Brothers at Stalham; or Sutton Staithe. At this time boats like this could be hired for as little as 25 to 30 shillings a week (£1.25 to £1.50) and use of an overall awning for camping could be included; if so desired. The body language and positioning of our crew does not suggest to me that they are experienced sailors and I am reminded that it was very close to here that I had my very first experience (i.e. attempt at) of sailing. That was over fifty years ago and I was armed with no other instruction than that provided by reading about the Swallows and Amazons or the Coot Club. It was a slightly windier day than this appears and it wasn’t the most auspicious beginning but I did at least remain dry on that occasion! 

                       

This is the yard at Sutton Staithe where Richard Southgate started his boat building business, in the 19th Century, and where his sons George and Edward carried on after Richard’s death in 1913. The brothers also ran their Yacht Hire business from Stalham Staithe up until 1938 shortly after the younger brother, Edward, died and George would have been about 70 years old by then. This would have been the location where our Edwardian gentlemen sailing ‘Iceni’ (above) had probably chartered their boat; just as two half deckers are being prepared for visitors on this day in the 1920’s.

In the background can be seen a Wherry and a House boat, both pulled out. The house boat looks familiar from pictures, I have seen, of Stalham Staithe.  

                                                     

Here's a close-up because the Sign is not easily read on the full picture. That's almost certainly one of the brothers in the boat and although no name can be distinguished you can see that her lines are very similar to 'Iceni' in the previous postcard.

For a long time I have been intrigued by the question of whether or not the Southgate brothers were the same partners who set up the boatyard at Horning. That which was bought up by Herbert Woods’ 'Broadland Yachting Company' towards the end of World War II. That is to say, the boat sheds adjacent to the New Inn (that have survived the larger marina built near Swan corner by the Woods company) and which until fairly recently were the base of Mike Barnes’ Norfolk Broads Yachting Company. (Please see my photograph on the River Bure page)

I contacted Mike who provided the helpful information that those sheds were the replacement for Dick Southgate’s original premises in Horning which had burned down. This event had taken place at the very beginning of the war but was not as a result of the hostilities. Disastrously, several boats including YBOD number 1 ‘Fritillary’, which had been stored away for their safety, were destroyed in this fire.

Renewed researches revealed that Richard (Dick) Southgate was one of the earliest boat builders at Horning (certainly by 1891) and his younger brother William joined him some fifteen to twenty years later. Mike believes that there may be an extended family connection between Dick and William and the brothers from Sutton but I have been unable to prove any link, as yet. William Southgate died in 1942 and his older brother only survived him until the following year. I imagine that the premises were sold to Herbert Woods by Dick Southgate’s Widow some time after her bereavement.     




                         

                                                                                                                                                                         © Blakes Holiday Boating 1926

Here is a brilliant card from around 1900, easily my earliest by Bells of Leigh-on-Sea; judging by the index number alone. Unfortunately, this time I won’t be able to tell the reader the names of the boats with any real confidence. Clearly this is the river front of John Loynes’ main premises at Wroxham and there is the man himself (centre left) looking over the large cutter yacht moored alongside. I get the impression that it is quite early on the morning of hand-overs and bed linen, water bottles and luggage have been readied for the departure and changeover. It’s almost as if one of the departing yachtsmen has paused to take one last photograph before setting out for home? An occasion always tinged with sadness in my day.

As I have said before: the problem with identifying early boats, such as these, when it comes to John Loynes’ fleet, is that many of the yachts were never illustrated in the Blakes’ holiday brochures and several of the larger cutters were grouped together, as a class. Despite this they were not identical and had differing lines, because their designs were improved upon over time. Just to make it more challenging I have found at least one example where two different boats have been named as one and the same in different years: i.e. ‘Victoria’- which might well be the larger white yacht in this picture? This anomaly may have come about because, in my experience, brochure photographs might be updated fairly often but it was rather less common to update the descriptions year on year.

Several of the larger (Loynes) yachts had white enamelled hulls and at least two had a varnished mahogany finish but this is not mentioned in the brochure descriptions. In any case Harry Blake’s brochures did not appear until 1908 and, as far as I can tell, John Loynes did not become a member of Blake’s ‘Broads Yacht Owners Association’ until after the 1st World War. I am aware that he produced his own boat catalogues, early on, but unfortunately I have only ever seen one in the Museum of the Broads and that was more of a flyer or pamphlet. In any case this photograph pre-dates both of the aforementioned events.

The little yacht in the foreground should be relatively easy but I only have written descriptions of Loynes’ smaller yachts for evidence. Based on those descriptions I think that she may well be the 3 Ton, Cutter ‘Plover’ a very simply furnished little yacht for two people. I am intrigued by the double curvature of her hull form which brings her planking to a point beneath her counter almost like a double ended hull; at least on the waterline? This styling is reminiscent of similar lines in at least one of the much larger cutter yachts; which may be seen in the previous Loynes view (# 116744 above) showing the yard from the Granary Staithe; across the river. Unlike her larger sisters ‘Plover’ survived in the Loynes fleet up until the outbreak of World War II but, like many others, never reappeared in hire after that war. 
 
            

I became a little more intrigued by the small [following] group of Bell’s postcards after the acquisition of this card. The most recent example to join my collection of Norfolk cards by this publisher. The scenes date from the late 1920’s, and in as far as one can be sure the cabin cruiser in the centre of this picture is ‘Emperor’ from the fleet of Herbert Banham at Horning. Herbert was one of a handful of early pioneers who began building and hiring out self drive motor cruisers. Although initially guests would still have the option of a skipper to handle the boat.

The other craft, nearer the camera, is of a style principally attributable to Leo Robinson at Oulton Broad and Herbert Hipperson of Beccles. Interestingly, Ella, the sender of this postcard has given her address as “Rest-A-Whyle” which was a cruiser from the fleet of Herbert Hipperson. Comparison with the several classes of this style suggests that this could well be the boat of that name; I have been able to rule out most of the others. How fortunate would Ella have been to find a postcard that shows the very boat she was cruising on? However, she doesn’t mention that in her note, only that the party had spent two nights at Ranworth.

In any event, it was the large dinghy, with the coiled rope fenders on her transom, that piqued my curiosity.  It won’t show up very well on the web-site but the name on her transom is ‘Enchantress’ and she is the sailing tender to that famous craft. ‘Enchantress’ was a large (60’) very stylish and luxurious launch that was on hire from Leo Robinson at Oulton Broad. She could accommodate ten guests and carried a crew of two. A Skipper to take care of all aspects of the boat handling and an Attendant who was responsible for the catering. My first reaction was to look for ‘Enchantress’ in the background of the scene but apart from the unidentified broads yacht all that is in clear view are a wherry yacht, most probably from Ernest Collins, and a large yacht of the cutter type; possibly ‘Iverna’ also from the Collins fleet.

                                         
So I referred to my other three cards, in this sequence, which all look in the opposite direction and appear more likely to have been photographed from a floating viewpoint….

I had not noticed before but ‘Enchantress’ appears in all three scenes albeit in the far distance. Can you identify her in this view? I will point her out on the next card shown. Meanwhile, we can see a large and very smart cruiser nearest to the camera. As far as I can be certain, I believe her to be ‘Grey Dawn’ a 47’ Cruiser with 7 or 8 berths for guest’s. ‘Grey Dawn’ would be quite new in this picture and on hire from Charlie and George (C. & G.) Press at Hoveton. At the time of this picture she could be hired for around £20 per week, in the high season, including the services of a ‘man’ to handle the boat.

            

So there she is: ‘Enchantress’. Alright - I know it’s not the best shot of her but if you didn’t spot her in the first view this will help. I’ve got a better one below! This is a lovely sharp example of the Bell Company’s products and perhaps of more interest here are the two cruisers in the middle left of the picture. It is clear they are also from the fleet of Herbert Banham at Horning but which class? I believe that the nearest boat is ‘ILIKU’ (that only works in upper case) a one-off cruiser which was rather similar to the ‘Ailsa Craig’ class of three thirty footers, but larger at 35ft. The adjacent cruiser looks similar, as far as you can see. In fact she is also a Banham cruiser but this is ‘Sultan’ (her name can be read on the original) a 33’6” craft which could accommodate up to seven guests. The principal difference between her and her neighbour is that ‘Sultan’ had a raised foredeck covering a cabin which contained the galley and a single bunk; making her similar in appearance to ‘Emperor’ above. To me, boats like this represent a stage in the evolution from Launch style cruisers to the later Centre Cockpit type which were soon to replace these boats.  Well at least for the next thirty years, or so, until the ‘Caribbean’ and ‘Bermuda’ classes heralded the return of the single level, forward drive, designs we are so familiar with today. Own up! Who said Tupperware??  

                 
    
Here’s a close up of ‘Enchantress’ at Stalham in the 1920’s. I have long been intrigued by this picture in so far as the young skipper looks very much like Jack Robinson, Leo’s younger brother. The puzzle is mainly in dating the picture. Leo Robinson inherited the family business from his father, William, and initially the two brothers operated virtually as partners but eventually there was a rift in this partnership which culminated in Jack setting up on his own; some time in the mid-192o’s. I have a guide to Broads Yachting published by Jack in 1921 (containing an advert for Leo Robinson) and a very similar volume, by Leo, from 1925 which implies the separation had taken place by then. That being the case, if I am correct that this is Jack Robinson, the above photograph must be no later than that?

       
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Blake's Boating 1939
                                                                                                                                                                                 
It would be interesting to speculate that the existence of this Stalham picture (one of two I have in sequence) and the subsequent group from Ranworth suggests that the photographer was actually a guest onboard ‘Enchantress’ but there is quite a large gap between the index numbers so perhaps not, in the latter case? In the absence of any archive records it seems unlikely that a provincial publisher would produce hundreds of thousands of real photo-cards. At the same time, it is known that changes were made to Bell’s reference number system, so one might speculate that the Stalham index indicates 1[9]24 and the Ranworth cards are 1[9]27? That would work out rather well for many of the cards in my collection but would not apply for earlier index numbers containing only five digits.

* For more discussion regarding the controversy that had earlier surrounded the identity of 'Enchantress' please see the section on Spashett postcards above.


                                                                  

On the face of it this simple little card (showing a Wherry rigged yacht on Wroxham Broad) could be mistaken for an early Raphael Tuck or a Photochrom Co. product but it was actually produced for the Bell Photo Co. of Westcliff-on-Sea. That makes it unique in my collection because the only examples of that company's cards that I have ever seen are of the 'Real Photographic' type, in Black & White. Maybe that is because I always have an eye open for examples of Bell's real photos and would not necessarily take the same notice of a card like this?

So what we have here is an un-numbered card endorsed "Bell's Series Westcliff-on-Sea" and more significantly "Printed in Germany" which is an indication that the card is Edwardian. Prior to the 1st World War many printed cards were produced abroad for British Companies because of their more advanced colour printing techniques; such as the Photocromic system. All of that came to an end with the declaration of war in 1914 and the resulting Anti-German feelings at home. After that cards often carried messages like "All British Production" or similar. Unusually for this era the card is unposted and in remarkably good condition, I hope you liked it too?

                                                
So here we have some clarification of the above colour postcard in my most recent acquisition. This is the original ‘real photograph’ version and its serial number confirms to me that the picture dates from the first decade of the twentieth century. With the advantage of a photograph we can more easily tell that this is a heavily carvel built Wherry Yacht with a counter stern and correct Wherry rigging. We can even see that she has her ‘Bonnet’ laced to the foot of the sail to increase her sail area; a common practice aboard trading wherries in light airs.

With the aid of this clarification I have found other pictures of this boat within my collection and my archive but no positive identification. Thanks to pictorial evidence I can say with some confidence that she is from the fleet of John Loynes at Wroxham but unfortunately that is where my archive becomes a little sketchy. At the risk of repeating myself: John Loynes didn’t join the Blakes organisation until after the First World War and only produced lightly illustrated leaflet type lists prior to that. Few of these have survived although I believe the Museum of the Broads has a copy. My earliest information is from 1926 and that contains details of the only Loynes Wherry Yacht that I know of; that yacht was the ‘Golden Hinde’. The only proven pictures I have of Golden Hinde show her with a white painted hull whereas the earlier pictures show this vessel with a dark varnished hull. That wouldn’t rule out a makeover but I believe this craft is of heavier more workman like construction with wider side decks; similar to the large Cutter Yachts of Loynes’ early fleet. A good picture showing her with two Cutters can be found in Robert Malster’s 2003 edition of ‘The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads’ page 155; I have a very similar view in my collection but it does not show this boat nearly so well.  And so, in conclusion, I can’t suggest that this is Golden Hinde, which in any case was described as new in the 1926 brochure, and it may be sometime or never that I discover her true identity?

Since writing the above remarks I have discovered another view, from the early 20th Century which does show the the boat in question, lying astern of the white cutter 'Victoria' at John Loynes quay. I have shared a crop (to better display the yacht) of this card below. The card was posted in 1909. 

                     
                                                                                                                  H.C. Wharton & Co Series, Kilburn, London

                 

This early 1920’s scene shows a yacht at her mooring, which appears to be a short way into Fleet Dyke, a hundred yards or so from the River Bure. Another yacht is passing by on the main river, and it looks like a bit of a calm day for sailing.

As soon as I saw this nicely animated card I was impressed by the lines of the nearby yacht. What a classic shape? To me she looks a powerful craft too; with what I shall call a semi-counter stern. What I mean by that is: her ‘length on deck’ aft is distinctly longer than her waterline but her stern is still squared off with a nicely varnished transom. If there is a proper name for this style I am not aware of what it might be but you can see what I am trying to describe in the brochure details below.

The young men have been enjoying a swim, something that was common practice on the Broads in those days of cleaner water and hotter summers. The skipper is just visible on the fore deck and the rhond has been visited by a good many ducks of a domestic variety. Perhaps they have wandered here from one of the local farms, maybe even Horning Hall? They may have been too fat to fly but I’m sure they could paddle along for quite a distance.

The yacht is easily identified as ‘Carissima’ which was available for hire from Herbert Banham at Horning. Herbert had an established boatyard at Cambridge and it seems to me most likely that it was shortly after the Ist World War when he came to Horning to expand his business. It was here that he quickly became a pioneer in the development of motor cruisers and established a substantial fleet on the Broads. I am uncertain whether or not ‘Carissima’ was one of the first yachts built at his new business or if she had been inherited with the premises he acquired at the time? Either way she remained in the Banham fleet until the dark clouds of War gathered once more in 1939. I am also unsure what fate befell ‘Carissima’ after 1939? Herbert did not maintain his association with Blake’s Ltd. after the war, depriving us of fleet records in the form of their brochures. The only other information I have is a Banham’s flyer from 1955 with the fleet list for that year. That does not include this yacht although other pre-war boats had survived; notably her smaller contemporary ‘Amorita’. Herbert died in1953 although his wife, Cora, continued as Managing Director until around 1960 when the firm was sold to their neighbour H.T. Percival.
                      

                                                                                                                © Blakes Holiday Boating 1926

                                                                                                    

                                                                                                      To be continued:


briankermode@postcardsfromthenorfolkbroads.net
                                                                                                                

                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

 










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