Welcome to “Postcards from the Norfolk Broads”. This website is intended to take you on a tour of the Broads, illustrated by old and very old postcards from my own, ever growing, collection. Broadland is a very-very special place and you don't have to be a native or to live there to fall in love with the area. You just need to visit and many do so year after year.
Originally my own lifelong fascination with the Broads and particularly its hire boat fleets lead to my collecting postcards where these craft were individually identifiable, just for fun. Slowly but continuously this developed into my record of the Boat Builders and their creations in the years up to the early 1970’s when these specialised craft were still being hand built, in wood, by local craftsmen.
To help me in this pastime I have called upon my own memories and observations, my small collection of old holiday brochures and Broads library and, of course, the internet. My research also lead to a greater interest in the period beyond my own recollections and the production of the ‘Early Days’ and ‘Extras’ pages. Latterly my interest in the postcards themselves has also blossomed, particularly the early artist's cards, and I am now developing the, more in depth, boatyard history articles for another project. Previous visitors may notice that in 2014 some of these latter articles have been moved off the site. That is in preparation for another project, and the emphasis on those pages is now a little bit more 'postcard collector' orientated, as my interests, in that respect, have developed.
(For Links to new items please see the foot of this page. N.B. It is sometimes necessary to scroll down a little after the new page has fully loaded)
Naturally I have made every effort to ensure that my facts are correct and if I cannot be certain I try to make that clear within my text. I am always delighted to hear from any visitor who can assist me, who disagrees with any of my “facts” or just wants to discuss the content. Your e-mails are always answered and input is always acknowledged on the site.
Likewise, pinpointing the vintage of photographs can be difficult. It gets easier with practice but one can rarely be precise, even when the publisher's index system is understood. Postal dating can provide a clue but some postcards remained in print, in retailer’s shops or even in people’s homes for many years; before being used. At the very least a postmark will reveal the latest date that a photograph may have been taken but it is the date of the photograph or view that I am most interested in correctly identifying.
As I have stated, the narrative initially takes the form of a cruise along the Broadland rivers and the pages entitled with the River's names show predominately post war coloured postcards. The 'Early Days' and 'Extras' pages contain earlier examples from the Inter-war Period and even earlier.
Now that the initial development of the site is completed new articles are added, on a fairly regular basis and flagged on this page; but this is subject to the availability of suitable material and time. Of course, the fact that the text is not initially a completed work may, at times, seem to interfere with the continuity of the piece. I will try to avoid this by linking-in the new topics as best I can.
In a similar way: The discussions are lead by the content of the postcards themselves; which does mean that you will find instances where they appear in sections other than their actual locations. For example: Truman & Hunter Yachts on the River Ant or Herbert Woods and Banham’s on the Lower Bure page. This is the result of the initial format and I hope visitors who are familiar with the Broads will forgive these apparent discrepancies?
Also: Occasionally, reference is made to current circumstances that may have changed since the date of writing. Since this is, first and foremost, a retrospective discussion, I probably won't attempt to keep all such comments strictly up to date. e.g. a recent instance: the Mike Barnes' Norfolk Broads Yachting Co. fleet now based at Martham Boats?
The Broads are a national asset and as such can be the subject of political issues and differing opinions regarding usage and development. Other than my rather obvious fondness for the days when the rhond was lined with boat yards (around 90 in the early 1960s) I have made a point of avoiding comment on any such issues. This web-site is intended to be a purely nostalgic tour of the Broads and my only objectives are to share my enjoyment of the images and to maintain historical accuracy.
Naturally there are issues of copyright to be considered when using postcards for illustration and this also applies to the scans I have included; from the holiday firms' catalogues, to help better describe the boats encountered by the photographers.
I have contacted all the publishers concerned (where that was possible) for their permission to do this and am delighted to say that they have all responded in a most positive, friendly and interested manner. A list of these publishers (with thumbnail histories) and of individual contributors can be found on the 'Acknowledgements' page.
Some postcards were published by companies that have, long since, ceased trading and consequently it has not been possible "by reasonable inquiry" to ascertain the identity of the author or copyright holder. However, in many cases, it may be reasonable to assume that copyright has expired, or that the author has died 50 years, or more, before inclusion.
Wherever possible, I have acknowledged these original companies and in the event that any person or organisation can assert ownership of an image's copyright, and has objections to its inclusion, I would hope that they will contact me; if only to seek the image's removal. I will of course comply with any such legitimate request.
Finally, where others, who are directly involved in the business, have written about the history of their own or their family's boatyards. I have respectfully endeavoured to avoid any repetition of their work but have included references or links to help visitors find out more about those firms.