EARLY DAYS
 Postcards from the Norfolk Broads.net 
   
Early Days & Art Cards

                                                                                                                                                           Postcard by Photochrom C. Ltd              
                                                                                                                            
This page was originally an indulgence from my [then] small collection of early postcards. Initially there were not many identifiable boats and some cards were “Oilettes” and other printed postcards reproduced from originals which had been hand painted in Oils or Watercolours. This was a time before colour photography was a cost effective possibility or even a reality! The so called Edwardian "Golden Era" of postcard popularity. The above is an early example of the photochromic process which involved overprinting an image produced from a monochrome photograph; the scene is probably Edwardian or early 1920's.

'Oilette’ was a trade mark of the Raphael Tuck company but most of the main publishers had their own Art Cards and trade marks. Many cards were attributed to ‘named’ artists and, it has to be said, there is a certain amount of variation in the quality of the marine draughtsmanship but not very many of the artists were specialists and, by and large, they usually produced very charming images. Many more of these postcards were produced than are in my small collection because images were produced from all over Britain, and abroad. I hope that visitors will share my pleasure in viewing the few that I have presented within this page.



                                                                                                                                         © Blakes Holiday Boating 1908

Above we have the cover of Harry Blake’s first ever “Yachting List” which was published in 1908 and reproduced in limited edition around 1995. The craft described within were all on hire from Ernest Collins; whose yard was just downstream of Wroxham Bridge on the Wroxham side and
had been the site of the original business set up in the late 19th Century by the Collins brothers' father Robert Collins.





The Collins' moorings and the site of the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company on the Hoveton bank below Wroxham Bridge. This postcard is produced from a painting by Frank Southgate that was one of those used as an illustration in the 1905 edition of William A. Dutt's book; The Norfolk Broads. Frank was most famous as a Ornithological Artist. He was born and lived in Hunstanton and, as far as I can tell, was not related to the brothers Edward and George Southgate who had their boat building and letting business at Stalham Yacht Station or indeed Richard (Dick) Southgate and his brother William who where amongst the earliest Boat Builders at Horning.

 

This is a quite well known picture and a personal favourite from the same location as above. Nevertheless it contains a mystery that I struggled with, for quite a while! Its a familiar view of Wroxham ’Bridge Reach’ from around 1904. The evidence for that is the fact that the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company is still trading (Fairy Queen and another of their Wherries can be seen moored alongside their sheds, below the Granary building) and John Loynes is still hiring out heavy Cutter Yachts at his premises, opposite. Initially I estimated a date of 1910 - 1920 for this scene. However now that I have discovered that this was originally a Valentine's R.P.C. I have been able to date it much more accurately. On the left of the picture we can see a smallish Wherry at the yard of Ernest Collins. That craft is ‘Victory’ which was originally built as a trader and Ernest converted her to a Pleasure Wherry. Her, large-windowed, main cabin superstructure which is significantly raised above the line of her original aft cabin is very distinctive. I had read somewhere that this conversion took place in 1910 and that (combined with the survival of the N.B.Y.Co.) led to my 1910 -1920 estimate. 1910 has now been easily disproved by the simple fact that 'Victory' appears in the original 1908 Blake's brochure! 

All well and good but, despite much searching, I had been hard put to positively identify the smart Pleasure Wherry in the foreground. Her bevelled panelling suggests the quality of build usually reserved for a privately commissioned craft and her named sailing tender is of similar high quality and turnout. In some cases (although, not necessarily a Broads practice) a tender carries the name of her parent craft but I have seen no record of a Wherry called Eva?

There is another fact that I had been able to locate about this craft but I was unsure whether it was a clue or a red herring? In the early years of the 19th Century a popular ‘silent’ film actor and his equally famous wife where filmed
, for Pathé News, holidaying on this Wherry at Salhouse Broad. That couple were Guy Newall, an Actor and Director, and his wife ‘Miss’ Ivy Duke who appeared in many of her husband’s films. We also know that the couple took a break from film-making in the mid-1920’s and that Guy Newall had a home somewhere on the Broads. Guy and Ivy divorced in 1929 and they both died in1937; although I do not believe their deaths were connected. This short film “Eve on the Broads” ‘version 2’ can be found at: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=19410

Upon reflection, I think that the Pathé film is more of a red herring and I am now of the firm opinion that this Wherry must be ‘Reindeer’ built by Ernest Collins. ‘Reindeer’ appears in the earliest Blakes’ list of 1908 but I do not have a precise build date. Ernest, and his father Robert, were both time-served Wherry Builders and it seems likely she was built in the late 19th Century. This purpose-built Pleasure Wherry was described thus in 1926: “Her accommodation plan is doubtless the best that can be produced for a Pleasure Wherry and she is one of the best fitted Wherries on the Broads” a statement that is evidently true; judging by the quality apparent in this picture. Her bevelled panelling can be seen to great effect in the film; particularly during the later scene where the ladies are cooking with primus stoves, in her well.




Here's Reindeer at those same moorings, on the Hoveton Bank, but looking from the opposite direction, this time, so that her name can be read.  Nearest the camera is (I believe) the 37' Lapwing and two other un-identified Pleasure Wherries and Yachts can be seen in the background.  All appear to be from Ernest Collins' fleet and I believe that this view dates from around 1920 or earlier. Finally, just for the postcard buffs, which includes me these days! Although this is an anonymous publication, comparison with other similar real photo-cards leads me to suspect that this one is from the Bell Series published in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. (Please see the last section of the Extras page for more of my Bell's collection)
 


                                                                                                                                                                                                          © www.judges.co.uk

Not far beyond the rear of the large site of Alfred Collins' Hoveton sheds seen in the previous view was Daisy Broad. This is near the entrance to the two dykes between Riverside Road, The Rhond and Marsh Road the locations of many famous Broadland firms such as Moores, Landamores, Smiths and NBYCo. to name but a few. With the 'Bee Hive' at the entrance, the sites of Brinkcraft; and the C & G Press yard were adjacent to Daisy Broad itself. Changed a little bit since this card was posted in 1935 hasn’t it?


James Valentine & Sons - The 'Brian Gerald' Collection 

During the 1930’s Valentine’s postcards were predominately Black & White ‘Real Photograph’ prints. These were reproduced, just like actual photographs, from a negative and photo-sensitive paper. The only difference being that they were printed within a frame that employed up to 28 negatives at one time and the large sheets of images were then passed through a guillotine to produce the individual postcards.

During the same era this company also employed several artists who would produce full [water] colour versions of the originals. This process usually meant that the artist’s version would appear in the year following that of the photographic image. One of the most prolific artists employed by the company was  Brian Gerald who painted hundreds of images from all around Britain. I had heard that ‘Brian Gerald’ was a pseudonym and that Brian & Gerald were the names of the artist’s two sons. A little further research suggests that this is in fact true and the artist was actually one Walter Henry Sweet (1889-1943) who studied at Exeter School of Art and became an associate of his mentor there, John Shapland, who was the Principal and a famous landscape artist in his own right.

After active service (in the 1st World War) Walter Sweet re-located to Dundee where he was employed by James Valentine & Sons, as an illustrator. There, he went on to produce very many water colour paintings, amongst which were the ones shown below.

I find this artist’s works most accomplished and pleasing to the eye. They are a striking enhancement of the photographs and that is why examples have been included in this collection. Indeed, he was very prolific and I am equally impressed with much of his other work, especially his Welsh and Scottish landscapes. So much so that I am even tempted to begin a general collection of Brian Gerald postcards! Perhaps, after all this time, I am finally getting the real postcard collector's bug? 

Here is the small collection of Norfolk images by “Brian Gerald” in my possession, with the original photographs for comparison. The  'real photographs' were all copyright registered by James Valentine & Sons in 1933, so the watercolours would probably be issued in 1934. 

 

This is a favourite (as, for me this image epitomises a sunny afternoon by the riverside) and the one which, with the discovery of the complimentary photographic image, helped alert me to the existence of this copy-making practice at Valentine’s. As was customary: the content of the photo-image has been tidied up a little with the omission of the cabin cruiser (enhancing the bridge’s arch as a secondary focal point) and the nearer deckchairs. Meanwhile a little artistic licence has been employed to enhance the sun light and add colour with the sun-dappled lawns and roses in bloom. In the photo it can be seen that the cabin cruiser is called 'Juneau' but I have no reference for this boat.

 
     
This second example exercises a little more artistic licence because a brown sailed yacht has been deemed an improvement on the cabin cruiser in the actual picture. I can accept this logic but I feel that people always enhance a scene so maybe I would have given the cruiser a more contrasting white hull to make it stand out better? The scene is of course Bure Court with the Beehive in the background. I am not sure but I imagine that Bure Court was still a private home at this time, c.1933. 

     
   
The yacht ‘Palace’ on Salhouse Broad from the Jack Powles series (see 'Extras' page). This blaze of fiery colour seems a major improvement on the black & white version which doesn’t really have sufficient contrast to do justice to a sunset scene.  

 
         
I like both these images, of ‘Goldfinch’ and the ferry boats, equally, and the 'Brian Gerald' version is a pretty faithful representation of the original. In fact the only subtle changes I have noticed are that the artist has added a Union Jack on the flag pole, a climbing rose over the doorway and a waving crew member aboard the wherry yacht.  These are a bit like those ‘spot the difference’ puzzles aren’t they?

     

I was very pleased to find a copy of this watercolour recently because I already had the ‘Real Photograph’ version in my collection. The latter interested me because it is clear from the photograph that the two very familiar thatched holiday-homes are pretty-much brand new. In fact, it would appear that some sort of event is taking place at the new developments because lots of people can be seen in tennis whites and appear to be posing towards the camera. Could it be an open day organised by the cinematic entrepreneur Mr. Abraham. L. Rhodes who developed the new properties on this land, above the ferry, (known as The Pyramids) and went on to commission the famous 'White Mill' cottage - see below. If so it is helpful to know that the photograph dates from 1933 and that might help indicate, fairly accurately, when these homes were built.

The Brian Gerald version (above) is a very faithful reproduction of the original but it doesn’t really convey the obvious newness of the buildings and their thatches which had sparked my initial interest. It is nice though to be able to suggest an identification for the class of yacht with reasonable confidence. She is a ‘Treasure’ class from Alfred Collins’ yard at Wroxham. Another ‘Treasure’ class: ‘Bijou’ appears nearer the bottom of this page.

The 'White Mill Cottage' looking smart and new right down to the quay heading, in a Valentine's postcard. This card was published in 1937 which indicates that the cottage was probably completed no later than the summer of 1936.

                      

Another example of Brian Gerald’s art, copied from one of the Jack Powles’ yacht ‘Palace’ series, of 1933, which can be seen on the ‘EXTRAS’ page of this website. I am grateful to Carole Sage for initially providing the image of this art card in a collection of photographs she sent to me some time ago. In fact it was well before I commenced this Brian Gerald collection and I only re-discovered the image very recently. Here we see Palace getting under way from a mooring opposite the old Horning Drainage Mill which was replaced by the White Mill cottage (above) a few years later; around 1935.

   
   
I always like images of the Swan that show the various finishes to the façade as it developed over the years and can help to date the picture; this one was photographed in 1933/4. The only obvious change here is the omission of the rowing boat and the coloured reflections on the water. For once I am slightly disappointed by the proportions of the Tour Boat (William Littleboy's 'Broadland Belle' which was built at Alfred Collins yard c.1913) moored nearby. They are not quite right and that is unusual for this artist whose draughtsmanship is usually beyond reproach. 

  
    
Now this is better. The boats’ proportions are much improved again and I am impressed with the effort that has gone into the rigging of the moored yacht. Hey, everybody is a critic these days aren’t they? Actually, I find the artist’s version a very pleasing image particularly for its subtle colours and water painting technique. Or is that painting-water technique?

I am not entirely certain about the whereabouts of this view. Nevertheless, I do believe the mill in the background is High's Mill which would locate the bungalow on the north bank of the River Thurne, a little way above Potter Heigham.

 
                                  A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard                                                                                           © www.judges.co.uk

Is it just me or do you think that these two postcards are too similar to be coincidental? I know they are not quite the same or viewed from exactly the same angle but I am unconvinced that the Brian Gerald painting is not a copy of this photograph. The only question is: the publisher of the photograph is not James Valentine’s it is a 'Judge’s of Hastings' publication?

The view in question is High’s Mill on the River Thurne, above Potter Heigham, and the Judges postcard was published in 1925. Some time before the bungalow that appears in the previous pair of pictures was built.  This Valentine watercolour would have been published later, around 1934. So was this a cheeky copy of another company’s image or have I yet to find a corresponding Valentine photo-card? I will just have to keep my eyes open. 

          

Moorings well worth the effort to reach, always provided you can get through Potter Heigham bridge of course: The famous Pleasure Boat Inn at Hickling. The photograph was taken c.1933 and it is easy to see how people would be attracted to the much more cheerful colour version. The only clue as to the yacht’s identity would be her burgee - in the photograph. Ignoring the red pennant in the painting, I would say, most likely, one of Fred Press’s yachts, such as Reverie.      

  
     
This is a busy yet charming little scene and like the rest of this series it was photographed in 1933. In the photo scene, which has been tidied up a little by the artist, we can see two Wherries and what just might be some sort of travelling amusements set up by the bridge. This suggests that it was near the occasion of the Potter Heigham regatta which was a jolly affair between the wars?

On the left we can see Ernest Collins’ Wherry Yacht ‘Liberty’ looking as if her crew are preparing for passage above the bridge. Her skipper (complete with de rigueur braces and yachting cap) is evident in the photograph but not so much in the painting. ‘Liberty’ is readily identifiable because she was a little unusual, in that she had a carvel built hull which was double ended like a Trading or Pleasure Wherry but painted white to make her look more ‘Yachty’ and broaden her appeal to the customers of the day? Liberty would sleep ten guests and in 1933 she could be chartered from £16, off season to £23 in the high season.

The black hulled craft (centre of picture) is even more easily identified (her name plate can be read on the original photograph) but less is known of her history. She is ‘Lorna Doone’ who appears here as a motorised pleasure wherry and I have seen it stated that she was built as a trader and was at one time owned by the Colman family but I don’t believe she was ever ‘trading’ under that name and have no confirmed information about her other than Margaret Dye's article which mentions both these wherries being on hire from Tidecraft of Brundall in the 1950's; along with 'Ardea' a famous pleasure wherry built from teak and still afloat today.

     

I have found a few more “Brian Gerald” Art Colour cards recently and I am particularly impressed with the execution of this one! The photograph was registered in 1934 which suggests the colour card would have been created in 1935. That makes sense because George Applegate’s ‘Peggoty House’ looks quite derelict and we know it was demolished during the second world war. When I first set eyes on the card, for an instant, I took it to be another version of the card painted by the postcard collector’s favourite artist Alfred R. Quinton (A.R.Q.) and I didn’t even realise that I already had the original photograph in my collection. If you scroll down to the A.R.Q. set, below, you will see just how similar the two artist’s pictures are! Just one thing left to say: it’s a little controversial I know but I think that Brian Gerald’s version is by far the better of the two!!

       

I will have to assume that this Art card is by Brian Gerald but it is not actually endorsed as such. I don’t suppose the publishers were too concerned about collectors craving such detail some eighty years down the line; or even 100 years and more in some cases?  This photograph dates from 1933 and is a well known image that was used in 1930's Blakes brochures for an L.N.E.R. advert for ‘The Principal Stations For The Broads’. The Pleasure Wherry is very recognisable as ‘Bramble’ from the famous yard of Leo Robinson at Oulton Broad.

   
 
Here’s another uncredited Artist’s version of a Valentine’s 1933 ‘Real Photo’ postcard and this time I am less inclined to believe it was produced by Brian Gerald. It is more likely the work of a staff artist but it still fits with the series and there is more actual interest in the boats evident, now that I have acquired the photograph.

In the foreground we have the pleasure wherry ‘Darkie’ which was one of Fred Miller’s fleet at Oulton Broad. (also mentioned in the next scene)  Darkie was originally on hire, in sailing trim, from the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company at Wroxham. At that time she was known as ‘Endeavour’ and was sold at the dissolution of that company in 1920. Here she has been fitted with a powerful Buick engine and the removal of her mast has enabled the superstructure to be extended forward to create a more comfortable cabin for her crew. That would be a skipper to handle the boat and a steward to take care of the catering etc. who, in most wherries, would share a tiny cabin aft or under the foredeck. ‘Darkie’ carried nine guests; who would book her as a group. Fred Miller’s fleet also included the converted barge ‘Pauline’ which carried up to twelve guests, who could book in groups or as individuals, for pre-planned cruises. No self catering or navigational concerns for those lucky (idle) cruisers then!    

The cabin cruiser ahead sports a white ellipse, carrying her registration number, on the transom. This was a style icon favoured by Graham Bunn for his varnished Windboats fleet and until I acquired the photograph I had assumed that this would prove to be her origin. I was correct but there’s a bit more to it than that! The photograph shows the boat’s name to be ‘Corinthian’ which along with sister craft ‘Crusader’ had indeed been built by Graham Bunn as ‘Fair Wind’ & ‘Good Wind’. The two boats were sold to make room for a new class of six ‘Fair Winds’ which began to join the Bunn fleet from this same year, 1933. The re-named Corinthian and Crusader appeared in the J.W. Eastick  fleet at Acle Dyke Yacht Station but are not found listed there until 1939. Then, after the war, Corinthian appeared in the founding fleet of W.B. (Wally) Hoseason at Oulton Broad.


 
Here’s ‘Corinthian’ in a Soham Wherry Press type postcard which I think clearly illustrates her fine quality of line and construction. The two boats were still fairly new when they were sold off to make room for the new 'Fairwind' design but those boats were also sold on and replaced after the end of the second world war. I can only surmise that Graham Bunn liked to have the best quality and most up to date fleet available. Certainly he built many examples for private customers; most famously, I suppose, for George Formby?  I’m not exactly sure where this picture was taken. Ashtree Farm on Berney Marshes seems most likely?

  

In this case, I saw the artist’s version of this picture, of the River Yare at Thorpe St. Andrew, before I had seen the photograph and I thought that the cabin cruiser was a bit strange looking? But, as you can see, the reality is very like the artist’s impression! For me the transom is much lower than normal in a cruiser, and her stem is more curved than usual, particularly in the photograph. All this leads me to wonder if the boat is a conversion based on a yacht hull? I cannot identify this cruiser and if she were based at Jenner’s boatyard in the background that would explain why. Jenners were principal members of the Broadland Yachting Association in partnership with Jack Robinson at Oulton Broad. This Association was in existence from the early 1920’s up until the second world war and I have never even seen a hire-fleet brochure for that organisation’s members.

Come to think of it: In the 1930's Ernest Royall was employed by Jenners as they urgently needed to increase their fleet. For quickness he converted two yachts to cabin cruisers. They were 'Princess Margaret' and 'The Happy Days', I wonder.....?

That brings me to the other boat in the picture which is identifiable and is known to be a converted yacht! This is ‘Nutcracker’ the houseboat beloved of Phillipa [Pippa] Miller, Daughter of Fred Miller who had a major boat hire yard at Oulton Broad up until 1939 when the second war started! In the early 1930’s Pippa’s brother Martin bought an old yacht (‘Pelican’) and converted her into a houseboat for his sister. Wasn’t that nice of him? Pippa indulged in the [then] popular pastime of travelling to various locations by towing the houseboat around but this mooring is where she based herself whilst teaching Art at The Blythe School for Girls in Norwich. The lady in the photograph is not unlike Pippa in appearance and it is nice to speculate that it might indeed be the lady herself?



The penultimate pair in this series and until I found the photo-card at the recent Norwich Postcard Fair (2014) I had not even seen the photographic version; although I knew it must exist. That was definitely a eureka moment! Despite the huge numbers of old postcards of Oulton Broad the view point for this one is slightly unusual and I had great difficulty in finding any that replicated this photographer’s location. The picture was taken before the pontoons appeared at the Yacht Station and (as far as I can tell) from a point just beyond their eventual location. The view does incorporate the famous Wherry Hotel and the buildings centre left are the premises of Leo A. Robinson The cabin cruiser bears a striking resemblance to Alfred Collins' 'Golden Oriole' and also reminds me a little of ‘Belle’, which also appeared on a 1933 J. Valentine card of Oulton Broad, but there is insufficient detail to offer any confident identification. I do feel that this is another example where the bright and colourful art card lifts what was a fairly mundane photographic image.  

There exists only one more pair of Valentine's, Broadland, postcards that match an art card with a real photo card but I am still short of the artist's version. That is a view which shows the Yacht ‘Florizel’ at Beccles. That photo seems quite common but the art version is proving much more illusive. I will keep searching!


E. W. Trick (1902-1991)  

Edward William Trick was born in Exeter in 1902 and like Walter Sweet (a.k.a. Brian Gerald ) he studied under John Shapland (R.A.) at Exeter School of Art.

Apparently Edward was profoundly deaf but this doesn’t seem to have been any impediment to his painting skills and he became a listed artist, specialising in Landscape and Architectural watercolours. Many of his works were also commissioned by James Valentine Ltd. and I believe that those shown here were all painted around 1950, or later. I will discuss the reasons for saying that in the case of each individual card.  

When I started this website I hadn’t seen very many watercolour cards and I included two Valentine’s ‘Art Colours’  accredited to ‘E. W. Trick’ alongside the Raphael Tuck cards. In all honesty, I didn’t really like his boats. So much so that I considered removing the cards. I think some of the boats are, frankly, just his own inventions! However, I didn’t get around to removing them and after the site had developed, as had my interest in the actual postcards, I also came to enjoy the work of this artist rather more. I still don’t think very much of his boats but if you forget about that for a moment, here we have another accomplished landscape artist who paints a most pleasant scene. I am sure his works were much appreciated by the souvenir buyers of the monochrome years and I particularly like the first two examples.    

Valentine & Sons’ archives are now in the possession of Dundee’s St. Andrews University Library and they have published details of the various [Valentine’s] index number systems; and which year of publication they relate to. However this primarily relates to the Black & White photographs in that archive. The index number system appears to work in the case of the Brian Gerald pictures (perhaps because they were copies of photographs) but I believe that these by Edward Trick were either painted or up-dated after the second world war and their index numbers are not helpful for dating purposes.

                                                                                                          A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

Horning Sailing Club and The Swan Hotel from near the site of Southgate’s Main Yard. Apart from the development of the Hotel the only real clue as to the vintage of this view is (perversely) a recognisable boat! Perhaps only one of two in this selection? This is the cabin cruiser in the left of centre of the view. She is clearly of the post WW2 generation of Graham Bunn - Windboats.


                                                                                                          A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

Horning Ferry Inn in the period 1946 -1954. This dating is apparent because the pub remains in the temporary state of repair undertaken by the war time landlord, Mr A. Stringer, after the infamous bombing raid of 1941; when 21 people lost their lives here. Mr Stringer had been a builder and what was left of the main building was hastily repaired and the pavilion moved over to abut it and create a temporary lounge bar. These arrangements had been completed within a few weeks of the Inn’s destruction and were not to be replaced with an entirely new build until some thirteen years later.

  
                                                                                                                                            A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

One of my original pair of E. W. Trick cards. I struggled to pinpoint the date of this image because I had assumed it was older than, in fact, proved to be the case. I do not believe that the bridge’s walk way was added until around 1960 (I am still trying to pinpoint a date for that) and the Granary is present but that was demolished in the early 1960’s. In any event, I think the card takes its place better in this selection than its previous position in the general collection?


                                                                                                         A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

A nice colourful scene at Potter Heigham Bridge showing the Applegate’s boatyard and the Bridge Hotel. It is clearly post-war as the Applegate ‘Peggotty’ house has disappeared. In the foreground is a Perfect or Leading Lady, type yacht, at the Broadshaven moorings. I have various comments about the other boats but I will ‘be nice’ and leave you to draw your own conclusions.


                                                                                                          A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

The second of my original pair of Trick’s cards and apart from the fact that I really don’t understand the rig of the white yacht my only comment is that the image reflects the fact that Thurne Mill was re-painted in its smart white livery in1950 supporting my estimate of the cards’ vintages. Previously the mill had fallen into neglect and was a sorry sight until the restoration begun by Mr. R. D. Morse in 1949.   


                                                                                                          A James Valentine & Sons, Dundee, Postcard

We end on a nice image of the Bridge Hotel from upstream of the famous Potter Heigham Bridge. I like this one because scenes like this [better] demonstrate the artist’s talent for landscape painting and, for once, I am not going to leave myself open to accusations of nit-picking!

Now we can go on to visit another very accomplished artist of the period.

 
Alfred Robert Quinton was a well known illustrator and career artist who was working around the turn of the last century. He famously illustrated works such as ‘The Historic Thames’ by the acclaimed Hilaire Belloc (c.1907) and he painted watercolour scenes from throughout Britain many of which were used in the postcard industry. In particular he is associated with the long established family firm of Joseph Salmon at Sevenoaks, a relationship which commenced with the production of a calendar for 1914, featuring his paintings, and continued until his death in 1934. By that time he had produced over 4000 images for Salmon which were used not only in postcards but many books including a series of regional recipe books which are still in-print today. Quinton's speciality appeared to be picturesque country scenes featuring quaint cottages and gardens and he had earlier produced works, albeit to a lesser extent, for other postcard publishers such as Raphael Tuck & Sons.  

Here is a small selection of Norfolk Broads paintings by A.R. Quinton, which I have enjoyed collecting for their clean and bright images. The initial group were all postcards but I have recently been able to add two more views which are taken from a Letter-Card. Most of the views were probably produced in the 1920’s but some may be a little earlier?

In this artist’s case I believed that the paintings were originals but we are now informed that they were  drawn out using the projection of monochrome photographic negatives; which would enable the artist to trace out the lines of the scene. Though (unlike the Brian Gerald examples) I have seen no similar copies of any photographic cards. However, I do suspect that some movable elements of the scenes (such as certain boats) have been invented to add interest or balance. Clearly these scenes must have been created between about 1913 and 1934 and the postcard images appear in the chronological order suggested by their index numbers. The first five images are from an earlier group than the latter. Most contain few hints to assist in their dating but it is known that Bure Court was built in the 1920’s and the appearance of the Swan Hotel is contemporary with around 1930. As with those of Brian Gerald, I enjoy these works very much and have only one slight but consistent disappointment that sadly I feel must be mentioned. To be fair it has to be remembered that the postcard artists are not marine specialists and, in general, Quinton’s boats are very well executed, its just that they sometimes seem out of perspective or proportion; to my critical boat lover’s eye. In some instances there may well be good reason for this?


                                                                                                       Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

This first scene shows a Wherry passing by Horning Ferry and the old mill can be seen in the background; quite correctly since the new White Mill cottage wasn’t built until a year or two after the artist’s death. It is my feeling that a wherry in this position would look rather larger than this example. It even looks small  when compared with the ferry pontoon but it may be that this is a deliberate decision to avoid the wherry overwhelming the view whose subject is primarily the Inn?


                                                                                                         Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

Wroxham Bridge with the two ‘Mills’, John Loynes’ boat sheds and a pleasure wherry alongside what is probably the Norfolk Broads Yachting Co. This time it’s the near rowing boat and crew that looks too small, particularly in comparison with the nearby yacht and its proportions, for me, play havoc with the perspectives in the centre of the scene. Perhaps the two rowing boats were added later to place some people within the view; which could command a slightly higher commission?

P.S. I wonder if the punt in the foreground could be the craft used as a ferry between the Collins’ yards just here?

                                                                                                        Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

Salhouse Broad and evidently an early view, judging from the lack of trees between the broad and the River Bure beyond. In the days when trading wherries were still regularly employed it was normal practice for their crews to remove any saplings from the riverside in order to prevent a windbreak developing.


                                                                                                         Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

Ormesby Broad probably from the now defunct 'Sportsman's Arms' jetty  where rowing boats could be hired by trippers from Gt. Yarmouth and the anglers who were attracted by the excellent fishing on the ‘Trinity’ Broads of Ormesby, Rollesby and Filby Broad, all of which were formed from the ancient bays of the inland estuary of the River Bure; which were settled by the invading Norsemen around the beginning of the last millennium. As with all, this is a really pleasing scene but I would question the presence of the cabin yacht? These broads have never been accessible to or suitable for river craft. Possibly a bit of artistic licence then?  


                                                                                                            Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A view familiar through its popularity with artists and photographers: St. Peter’s church at Belaugh from a little upstream of the village staithe. Like a few others, Alfred Quinton captures the sleepy summer’s day tranquillity of the scene admirably.

 
                                                                                                          Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A lovely bright image of Potter Heigham Bridge with George Applegate’s famous little “Peggotty House” which was the base for his small-boat hire business at this spot. Again, despite being beautifully sketched in, the rowing boat appears just too small for its location in the picture. Just compare it with the foreground quay heading? This postcard is the only one in the group that was posted and that was on the 31st July 1931 which, I think, supports my feeling that the latter of this group were produced in the 1920’s.


                                                                                                                    Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

This is a really nice view of the Bridge Hotel from the Potter Heigham bank, upstream of the bridge, which reminds me of that other summery scene [by Brian Gerald] at Wroxham. This time the rowers look much more to scale and I like everything about this picture even the rather unlikely looking old car? Well I said unlikely, because of the three windows, but five minutes on Google revealed two models from the 1920’s that looked exactly like this! A coach built Austin 20 which had a fold down hood, just over the rear seat, and the Crossley 14hp Saloon of 1923; I gave up after that, what do I know?   


                                                                                                           Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A lovely colourful image of Bure Court from its days as a private house. I’m sure that these postcards would have looked very impressive, compared with monochrome photographs, and consequently have been very good sellers in their heyday. I hate to nit-pick again but maybe the racy looking yacht has been miniaturised to avoid distracting the eye from the very picturesque building? Certainly: drawing the boat to scale, for the view, would require the inclusion of much more detail.


                                                                                                           Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

A very nicely composed view of Ludham Staithe and Womack Water with almost no sign of today’s developments. I hate to criticise again, but I still don’t like the black yacht at the focal point which just seems too high in the water and disproportionate for my eye. Alfred Quinton didn't get waterlines wrong like this and I have no criticisms of his boat draughtsmanship as such. It even makes me suspect that this boat could have been a later addition, a practice which was known to have taken place at this publisher's studios; most often for the purpose of bringing older views up to date.

The original image would not be molested (that would be unforgivable) but a copy could be placed under a glass slide and any amendments over-painted (by a studio artist?) onto the glass surface to create the basis for a new printing plate. Actually, the very fact that this yacht is painted in black (which is usually anathema to watercolourists because it will cover anything opaquely) is the reason that its image jumps out so offensively to the eye and why its very presence lends strength to my suspicions? I think that is a real shame because it leads to misgivings about elements within nearly all of these cards.


                                                                                                                Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

This is the only example of Alfred Quinton’s work, I have seen, which shows a view from the Southern Broads. In this case Oulton Broad looking towards the main broad from opposite Everitt Park; possibly from the Wherry Hotel lawns or Leo Robinson’s Yacht Station? Like a few of Quinton's pictures this one gives the impression that the scene has been painted from a slightly higher viewpoint, and we appear to be looking down on the nearby boats?  In the distance can be seen Topsail, Gaff Yachts which appear in various views of this location suggesting they were popular with the racers here; as were Lateener rigs, similar to that of the yacht to the left.

                 
                                                                                                            Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

So here’s another example from the Southern Broads that I had not seen until quite recently. This is Thorpe reach on the River Yare near Norwich and perhaps I should clarify that for me North and South Broadland are as reached by the waterways. So anywhere above Yarmouth via the River Bure is Northern and above Yarmouth via the River Yare or Waveney is Southern.

I think this is a particularly nice view of a most pleasant location and I particularly enjoy the lines of the clinker built dinghy (which is probably the ferry to Hart's boatyard) being expertly propelled by the boatman’s art of sculling over the stern. Not an accomplishment I ever really mastered myself!  


                                                                                    Copyright J. Salmon Ltd., Sevenoaks, Kent ©

And finally a lovely view of the Swan Hotel which compares very well with the Brian Gerald version. For once I have no negative comments about the boats in this image, worth mentioning. Thank goodness as I do love these very bright cards, and I can finish my comments on this group with that positive reiteration.

Henry J. Sylvester Stannard R.B.A. (1870-1951)   

The artist usually referred to, simply, as Sylvester Stannard was a very accomplished and famous landscape artist who came from Flitwick in Bedfordshire and studied at the National Art Training School in South Kensington, which later became the Royal Academy School. There he achieved his art teacher’s ‘Diploma’ at the tender age of sixteen and, ten years later in 1896, he was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists.

Like his contemporaries [on these pages] he was most famous for his landscape paintings and he received the patronage of the Royal family for whom he made many paintings, particularly of the Sandringham Estate. Sylvester-Stannard’s sister, Theresa, was equally famous and specialised in painting beautiful gardens.

This artist’s work was sometimes used by Joseph Salmon & Sons but I have not seen any postcards [by him] from that company. The following examples are all published by the Photochrom Company of Tunbridge Wells. They cannot be accurately dated (or even sequenced given the lack of serial numbers) as is often the case with ‘Art’ cards. However, at least two are clearly post World War 2. In view of the fact that the artist died in January 1951 the time that these were painted can be fairly narrowed down to within a few years.

  
                                                                                                            Postcards by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

The view from Potter Heigham Bridge looking downstream with George Applegate Junior’s boatyard in the foreground.  Recently I was pleased to find another photograph from the post war Photochrom publications that has also been used to create a colour card from the brush of Sylvester Stannard and I am hoping that this is a clue to the existence of others? There was a slight query with this one because I had found the painting evocative of the 1920’s; despite the fact that others were clearly later. However the photograph carries the index V2500 which indicates a post world war two publication; V is for Victory!

The photograph confirms the correct vintage with the inclusion of a cabin cruiser that did not appear until after the war. Although the Photochroms from this period were not of particularly high quality or definition and tend to fade into a sepia like appearance (I have done a little bit of photoshop fiddling on this one!) I believe that the cruiser, in full view, on the Repps bank can be distinguished as a ‘Jackaleen’ class from Sabberton Bros. of Wroxham; or at the least, she is a post war design. In the painting she looked more like a ‘Light’ cruiser to me, a class which were pre-war.

Again, in the painting, the boat midstream looked to me like a trading wherry, albeit with a white sail which would not be correct? In the photograph it can be seen that this is a Broads yacht and she looks likely to be one of Percy Hunter’s largest ‘Luna’ class. The Wherry Yacht, moored on the right must be either ‘Olive’ or ‘White Moth’ from Ernest Collins’ at Wroxham since this does seem to be post WW2.   

       
                                                                                                                    Postcards by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

The A.D. Truman cruiser ‘Challenger’ moored at Horning Staithe. This card was initially the only example I had seen that replicated a photograph but that was helpful because it proved the identity of the boat. Although, to be fair, she is quite recognisable in the painting, even though her proportions have been much reduced; perhaps to bring the pub closer? I understand the omission of the rowing boat in the foreground but I think it’s a shame that the little boy and the dog have been left out.

Since this boat was first on hire in 1947 and the artist passed away, after a long illness in January 1951 we can be fairly sure that the picture was painted [and photographed] between 1947 and 1950.

Feeling rather guilty about some of my previous comments about other artist’s boats, I am currently attempting the reproduction of a J. Salmon card with a very similar view and which includes a mother and child in virtually the same position. It is not only their presence that makes that picture a “Delight” for me?
 


December 2013: So here it is: my version of the Salmon Post card that appears on the River Bure page. As you can see it is a first attempt and needs improvement but I thought I had better put my money where my mouth is; so to speak and show my work. In finishing off, I had clearly painted out the perspective from the lines of the pub's first floor. I've done what I could to repair that but because the painting is a pure water colour (no solid hues so all the white is clean paper) I can't really rectify the lapse satisfactorily! I've also tidied away some of the less important details and substituted my version of 'Luna' for the yacht that was in the background; sailing towards the camera. Those bits were intentional of course. Nevertheless, I just know I will be having another crack at this one!

 
                                                                                                                       Postcards by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells                         
                                       
I am afraid this one has beaten me! Could it be by the Horse Shoes? Or maybe near the premises of Graham Bunn or Ernest Collins and, if so, when? It looks 1920’s again, to me, but it’s hard to say; nice picture though! 

 
                                                                          Postcards by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

This is easier because it’s the Horning Ferry Inn just after the war! The old Inn has gone and we’re still awaiting the new building. Motor boats are passing so the Broads are open again and petrol rationing must have been relaxed. So: 1947 to 1950 again, no doubt? (please also see the article above re: E. W. Trick)


                                                                     Postcards by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

This card was the first ‘Stannard’ I put on the web-site and I remain convinced (albeit now with obvious reservations) that it dates from the 1920’s. The beautifully drawn cruiser ‘Speed of Light’ was first on hire in 1926 and here she absolutely displays her original profile. Prior to the advent of ‘Broadshaven’ (in the early 1930’s) hirers had the option to embark or disembark here at the John Loynes’ jetty in Wroxham. Both of these considerations lead me to believe that the picture is from the 1920’s but it could actually have been painted any time between 1926 and 1950; excluding the war years of course.


                                                                                                 Postcards by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

The view from the other side of Wroxham Bridge and again I would say that this image is post war. The two tour boats are both of the larger broad beamed type built from the 1930’s on and this leads me to suggest that they might be ‘Marchioness’ and ‘Marina’ (the former was originally part of the William Littleboy fleet but both were built by Jack Powles & Co.) two sister craft which later often embarked passengers from this quay at the old Ambrose Thrower premises. Before the war these two tour boats were presented with varnished hulls but were later refurbished with white painted hulls. By that time, of course, they were part of Charles Hannaford’s “Broads Tours” Company fleet; which was formed after the purchase of George Smith & Sons’ tour boat operation around 1936. The moorings here had belonged to Ambrose Thrower who went out of business following the war and Mr Hannaford’s Broads Tours Company gained access to these premises along with the Granary staithe which had been used by William Littleboy for embarking passengers although his fleet had been based in the dyke beside John Loynes premises.

Nevertheless, we will have to take my identification with a generous pinch of salt because I find most of these tour boats rather difficult to identify from a good photograph let alone an artistically licenced impression!

George Parsons Norman (1840 - 1914)    

George P. Norman was one of the earliest artists to participate in the postcard production of Norfolk, mostly for Jarrolds of Norwich for whom he produced over one hundred images including their ‘Wild Flower' series. Some of the images here were also used to illustrated the 'Broadland' series of books. These comprised two editions of 'Broadland' and two others entitled 'Norwich' and 'Poppyland', which were also published by Jarrolds. To a lesser extent he also produced images for Raphael Tuck and a few others. However, George was primarily a landscape artist and he produced many oil paintings of local Norfolk and Suffolk scenes. Usually he signed his work simply as Parsons Norman or G. Parsons Norman; as in the style of the later artist discussed above.

George was born in Southwark, London in 1840 or 1841. He married Eleanor Clark in 1865 and they moved to Lowestoft with their young son and daughter in 1881, settling initially in Burton Street, not too far from the Harbour. I believe that Parsons might have been his mother’s (or paternal grandmother’s) maiden name, because it was given simply as his middle name at first, but latterly his wife and children all adopted the name Parsons Norman. As I have mentioned, George and Eleanor had two children and their daughter Pattie (1865 - 1945) also became a Listed Artist and High School Teacher; probably at Norwich where the family later resided (in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe) when she was a young woman. It is intriguing to speculate that she might have been an associate of Pippa Miller but at some point Pattie moved to Berkshire so that cannot be confirmed. Here are a few examples of George’s work:

                         
                                                                                             Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

This is probably the oldest ‘postally used’ card in my collection (I do have older images but they are examples that have been re-issued in later editions) and I think it interesting from the perspective of a postcard collector. This view of Wroxham Bridge and heavy, John Loynes style, yachts was posted in 1902 and it is of the “undivided back” type which was superseded by new Post Office rules in that same year. From 1894 (when the post office started to permit others to publish them) to1902, postcards did not have their back divided into two halves for address and message in the format that we still recognise today. Only the address could be written on the back and a brief message was allowed on the picture side. These rules had to be complied with in order to qualify for the special cheap postcard rate; which was one half-penny until 1918.

To postcard collectors the Edwardian period is known as the ‘Golden Age’ when collecting postcards and keeping them in albums was a very popular pastime; sometimes it is even referred to as a craze! Judging from the sender’s message that was the intended purpose of this card: “I think these will make a nice page in your book but I could not get any very pretty ones of Sheringham”  the writer complained when the card was posted from Sheringham to a Miss Dorothy Coleman of Wimbledon in October 1902.

                                                
                                                                  Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

This card is from the same ‘un-divided back’ series as the one above. This copy has not been posted and would be in mint condition were it not for the top left hand corner where the mark from an album sticker can be seen. It is my experience that cards from this period were mostly posted and it is uncommon for me to find one in such well preserved condition. Used cards are not a problem because the messages usually just add to the cards’ charm and do not affect their value. Later it seemed much more common for people to buy cards and keep them as souvenirs without posting them and the vast majority of cards on this site were un-used.  

In this view from Gt. Yarmouth’s Cobholm district we can see a trading wherry which is either just arriving or maybe getting ready to set off? Anyway, there are plenty of painted Wherries in this series, and I am more interested in the Paddle Steamer in the back ground. This is one of the Steam Tugs which plied their trade in Great Yarmouth during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Their primary function was to meet the sailing Trawlers and trading ‘Brigs’ off Yarmouth and tow them up to the town quays (and vice-versa) but they also performed salvage rescues and even undertook the occasional pleasure trip or ferry service during the summer season. This one displays the livery of the Gt. Yarmouth Steam Tug Company and the skipper can be clearly seen on the bridge which, as usual, was completely open to the elements. Tough men to be out in all weathers, in those days eh?



                         

If you looked at the card above and didn't believe it looked that tough, check out this image! A Raphael Tuck 'Aquarette' (water-colour) from 1904, which I think better demonstrates the true talent of George Parsons Norman. Later these tugs had canvas 'dodgers' or a box coaming fitted on their bridges but the design still only provided protection to around waist height. Of course the weather in this scene is such that the location is not obvious. My guess would be Gt. Yarmouth but it might just as well be Lowestoft? This card is one of a set of six similar views painted by Parsons Norman. I have also found several more published, slightly later, by Jarrold's that have a similar Stormy Seas of the East Coat theme. Here's one of those - I do like them.

                      
                                                                                                                          Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

The following six, similar, cards are a slightly later group which I will call the Waveney Series, for obvious reasons. They are all post 1902 editions but since George had left Lowestoft for Norwich by then, it may be that the original paintings were a little earlier. Unfortunately the Wherry Hotel is the only visual clue that helps us with dating the series.

                       
                                                                                               Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

I think this is a lovely picture showing a party aboard a Pleasure Wherry on Oulton Broad near Nicholas Everitt Park. This card was posted in 1915 but the image must be somewhat earlier, since the artist died before that date. The card does have a divided back so must be a post 1902 edition but even if the painting predates that it can’t have been very much earlier. The Wherry Hotel (in the background) was built in the late1890’s and opened towards 1900. I don’t have a precise date but I have found reference to the hotel, established as we know it, in 1903. Until 1896 there had been another establishment just here, known as the Wherry Inn; where the wherries would pause after passing through Mutford Lock. The Inn was demolished to make way for the Hotel and I don’t know if there is any connection but this was at pretty much the same time as the present Swan Hotel was being built at Horning.   

One can only speculate as to the identity of the Pleasure Wherry: I only know of two firms that had craft like this for hire, at Oulton Broad, and this Wherry’s red pennant appears similar to that of the nearby Robinson Yacht Station but they didn’t have a wherry (Bramble) until after the Great War. Fred Miller had the ‘British Queen’ but his pennant was green. If the red pennant is to be believed it seems more likely that this was one of Ernest Collins’ wherries visiting from Wroxham or even ‘Zoe’ which was available for charter from Beccles around this time?

I thought about this and, having checked, I find that all of the cards painted by George P. Norman in my possession, and that depict wherries, show them with red pennants. So I think we can safely discount that feature as a valid aid to identification?

                        
                                                                                                                               Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

Judging from their titles, apparently this postcard makes a pair with the one above? This is “Oulton Broad looking West” and the former was “Oulton Broad looking East” This one strikes me as a bit of a studio production painting, depicting a nice sunset, rather than an actual scene from life. The wherries are close hauled and so are the yachts, despite the fact that they are heading in opposite directions! Although I assume the vintage of the cards to be the same this latter example was not posted until some thirteen years later in 1928.

                                                 
                                                                     Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

A recently discovered pre.1902 example “Wherries on Oulton Broad” which is rather similar to the above. Could it be the missing link which proves that the cards of the Waveney set were produced from earlier  images, such as this, maybe lending creditability to my impression that stock images were used?

Despite being an earlier edition this card wasn't posted until 1904; to a Miss A. Bodymead at Earlham Hall .

                     
                                                                                               Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd
 
Well, whatever her identity, here’s another similar Pleasure Wherry making her way upstream to Somerleyton Swing Bridge which carries the Norwich to Lowestoft Railway. The bridge has opened for the yacht in the distance so lets hope our Wherry gets there before the next train is due? Perhaps there was an Eel Sett just here as the houseboat, typical of the sort suggests? In any event, I was particularly interested in buying this card for my collection; not only because of my recent interest in the artist but also because I don’t remember ever having seen another postcard, of any sort, that pictures this location? * Unpopular spot then? I don't know, probably just off the beaten track but even G. Christopher Davies in his 1887 'Handbook to the Rivers and Broads of Norfolk & Suffolk' said: "This bridge is the worst on the rivers to pass when wind and tide are against you .... and I am always glad to be well clear of its piles and projections, through which the tide swirls so swiftly"  although he was rather more enthused about the fishing there!

* Of course you can guess that as soon as I said that I found one! It is an anonymously published 'real photograph' card, showing the same view with a generic Broads yacht in the middle foreground. I would say it dates from just after the last war.

                     
                                                                                                   Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

Another in the Waveney set: This time we are looking downstream at St. Olaves bridge, which carried the road from Bury St. Edmunds to Yarmouth over the River Waveney. The road still crosses via this bridge but there has been rather more development since Edwardian times. Again, we have a Pleasure Wherry and an eel fisherman’s houseboat and I still have the slight sense that these works were produced from stock scenes rather than from life but I don’t think that really matters. What we have here are charming and colourful images, from some of the earliest of Jarrold’s post card publications, produced by a famous artist who died almost exactly one hundred years ago; as I write. 

                      
                                                                                                 Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

I particularly liked this view of the River Waveney  near Oulton Dyke and the famous Church of ‘St Mary the Virgin’ at Burgh St. Peter. I don’t know if the stepped tower of this church is unique, in this country, but it is most certainly unusual. The original base to the tower is believed to be medieval but the four upper tiers were added in the 1790’s. The tower is said to be similar in appearance to an Iraqi Ziggurat Temple and I don't suppose there are too many of them in Norfolk?

As I have suggested: at times, George’s wherries look to me a bit like stock drawings that are just dropped into the view to add  interest but this is a much better study. She has the proper sheer-line of a wherry and the rigging is more carefully drawn with correct halliards and the sail tightly laced to the gaff; just as it should be. There's even a nice red pennant to finish her off... lovely. 

                     

Here's the final postcard in this Waveney set of six. This one shows a pleasure wherry party at Beccles with St Michael's bell tower in the background and includes the red pennants and another wherry with a scandalised sail; which are both common features of this series. The main subject is unusual in  that the wherry has a black sail like a trader. However, this is quite early and it may be that it represents an example of the trading wherries which were temporarily converted to accommodate passengers during the short holiday period of the era? 

                
These are my three (postcard) examples from the Jarrolds ‘Wildflowers’ series (of which there were twelve featured in Jarrold's "Broadland" Volume1) They are “The Thistle” at Potter Heigham, “The Hemlock & Tansy” at Coltishall Lock, an embossed card that is textured to look like an oil painting and “The Bulrush” at Acle Wey Bridge; all very nice but probably not absorbing enough to make the website these days; were it not for my interest in the artist?  
                                                                                                        
William Edward Mayes 1861-1952

In this series we have seen a lovely selection of Art postcards from some quite illustrious landscape painters but although I felt a little under-qualified to be criticising the work of such accomplished artists I could not let my disappointment in some of the rather variable boat illustrations go unspoken. Nevertheless, I am unrepentant because, after all, this website is first and foremost about the boats; not so much about the postcards.  

Now we come to the real thing, albeit not strictly postcards: W. E. Mayes was not initially a career artist. He was the son of a Gt. Yarmouth Master Mariner (John Maurice Mayes) and a very successful engineer. William was a long-time manager at the Yarmouth Iron Works & Foundry Co. and I feel sure that this work must have honed for him a very good technical eye. William retired in 1920 and went on to extend his career as a prolific artist specialising mainly in water colour views of his local Norfolk and in particular the Broads. He was a founder member of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Art Society and is believed to have exhibited at the Royal Academy although he is not listed as having been elected to the dizzy heights of the Academicians.

It wasn't their first association but Blakes Ltd. used a painting by William Mayes to grace the cover of their special edition ‘Silver Anniversary Issue’ of Holidays Afloat in 1932. They must have been pleased with his work because they also used several of his paintings to illustrate their brochure the following year. This man William painted Yachts and Wherries most lovingly and here is my small selection of his works, starting with the cover of Holidays Afloat 1932. I think these are a real treat for any boat lover.


                                                                                                                                © Blakes Holiday Boating 1932

A large Yacht passes by as a Pleasure Wherry pauses, with her sail scandalised, near the Wroxham Church of St Mary the Virgin; on the upper reaches of the River Bure. In those days churches were always popular places of interest for visitors and many of the very early guide books would include glowing descriptions of the local places of worship. Even today, St Helen’s at Ranworth is always a must and I myself have also enjoyed St Catherine’s at Ludham and the twin churches (St. Mary’s and St. Lawrence’s) of South Walsham. Not to mention a few temples of St. Bullard and St. Adnam, as well, of course!


                                                                                                                                    © Blakes Holiday Boating 1933

A pair of beautiful yachts pass each other just a little downstream of the previous view. This time it’s just below Wroxham Church and the nearest craft is sporting her Gaff Topsail; these are usually a weapon of the racing classes rather than hire craft. Nearer to the reeds are two anglers with their boat anchored to stakes driven into the riverbed. Perhaps a sight more familiar in the winter months when the pike fishermen have the Broads pretty much to themselves?
 

                                                                                                               © Blakes Holiday Boating 1933

A scene absolutely contemporary with the 1930’s. I can’t be sure of the precise location, maybe looking downstream as the bungalows start to give way to the countryside between Repps and Thurne? I really like the way that William could draw a Pleasure Wherry, don’t you? Here again we have one of the larger, attended, yachts that were still popular in the period and a cabin cruiser, also very typical of the time.
 


                                                                                                                    © Blakes Holiday Boating 1933

This time we have travelled south of Yarmouth to St. Olaves and I think this is just upstream of the road bridge over the River Waveney?  There’s something quite unique about the sheer-line and freeboard of a wherry and how they appear to sit in the water and I think William Mayes absolutely nails that! Not to mention how he captures the cut of her boom-less sail, which allows the foot to curve like this when off the wind. That is for me another unique and most elegant feature of these craft!


                                                                                                                       © Blakes Holiday Boating 1933

Last in this series shows Oulton Broad and two magnificent counter sterned yachts, the epitome of elegant gentleman’s racing or cruising in the 1920’s and 1930’s and possibly a standard sketch for Mr Mayes; who was known, on occasion, to paint the same location several times but with different river traffic. The cabin cruiser is clearly from the nearby yard of Leo Robinson and probably of the ‘Golden Eagle’ class. I am not entirely convinced by the scale of this boat but it is well drawn and to say any more really would be nit -picking!

Lastly an Art Card from an un-confirmed artist and a few examples from S. J. Batchelder 

                                                                                                                                               Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells 

I bought this card, not because it was obviously quite rare or because it fitted into my collection [especially] and certainly not because I instantly recognised the view. It was just because ‘I really liked it’ as a painting, and nobody else seemed bothered to bid on it. You know, on that well known internet auction site! Nevertheless, as always, the images that I don’t quite understand are the ones that demand the most attention, so I have been puzzling over this picture for quite a few days, well up to now, that is!

The picture dates from around the beginning of the 20th Century and I know Gt. Yarmouth was a thriving fishing port in those days but the card only really provided me with a ‘Red’ Herring which eventually proved even more significant than I first thought!

There is no artist’s signature but the back is marked “Charles Pettitt” 159 King Street, Gt. Yarmouth. Now, there was a listed artist named Charles Pettitt (1831-1885) who was known, particularly for his views of the Lake District. His son Joseph also became a landscape and marine artist and lived latterly in Essex. Charles Pettitt spelled in this particular way is a quite rare name and naturally, I expected that Charles, or perhaps his son, was the artist responsible for this little watercolour but apparently I was mistaken!

This Charles Pettit was a picture framer and art dealer who was born in Bedfordshire, the son of a Market Gardener, and moved to Norfolk after marrying a young lady from Swanton Morley near Dereham. The couple lived very near Yarmouth Art College until 1907 when they moved into the apartments above their newly built shop premises in King Street. This fact and the postal rate advertised on the card suggest that it must have been published between 1907 and 1918 but I think the picture was painted a little earlier.



Here’s the bustling scene of King Street, as it was, around the time that Charles Pettitt opened his stationer’s shop in 1909. How times have changed eh?


Tangentially, it is also interesting to consider whether or not the couple's third son, Victor, was the founder of the famous Pettitt's of Reedham Ltd. which doesn't sound all that unlikely given his grandfather's occupation?

So who was the artist? Well the truth is I don’t know, for sure, I have no evidence that this Charles Pettitt was an artist, himself? If I had to guess I might suggest that the most obvious candidate would be Stephen John Batchelder (1849 -1932) who moved from his birthplace in Lancashire to Norwich [his father’s home town] when he was an infant. Later he trained to be a photographer and made his name making  pictures of Broadland. He also went on to study art at Gt. Yarmouth College and became a full time artist from around 1882, again and famously specialising in views of the Norfolk Broads. Latterly the Batchelder family lived at Garrison Road near the North Quay, not very far from the premises of Charles Pettitt and only a few hundred metres from what I believe is the viewpoint of this picture! I have been unable to prove that Batchelder was the artist but he must certainly have had contact with Charles Pettitt and the picture is similar enough in style to his earlier paintings of Gt. Yarmouth  to represent him as a distinct possibility.

A recently acquired ‘Photochrom’ postcard which is signed by S.J. Batchelder has lead to my realisation that the above postcard was, in fact, also published by The Photochrom Co. Ltd. Which leads me to believe that Charles Pettitt would simply be the retailer or an agent of that company. It was common practice for postcard publishers to provide a ‘Series’ of cards for retailers linked to the holiday trade.

This then proves a further link between S.J. Batchelder and the publisher of the card but (unfortunately) not that he was actually the artist in this case.

I feel rather more confident about the scene itself. It is entitled “Breydon Water, Yarmouth” and I will explain my thoughts on the view as follows:

It looks to me like a lovely tranquil evening with the sun beginning to set over the water and the building in the foreground. That building is clearly a boat yard and has the legend “Boats To Let” hand painted on the fence. Several craft, some of which are rowing boats, can be identified drawn up on the hard along with a pair of fishing ‘Smack’ types in the water. I particularly like the white sailed Pleasure Wherry with her ‘Bonnet’ laced on.

I believe this yard was located on the north bank of the River Yare just below its confluence with the River Bure. We are looking across the river to Southtown, Yarmouth and on the skyline (left of centre) we can see Southtown High Mill, later known as Press’s Mill which was the tallest mill ever built in England. This mill was located south of the Haven Bridge (which is just out of sight here) and its site was in Gatacre Road. Southtown mill was demolished towards the end of 1904, another clue that the picture was painted prior to the card’s publication date.

(Addendum May 2014: I have recently discovered a photograph by the well known Broadland Photographer; Peter Henry Emerson. It is entitled "Bound for the North River" and bears a striking resemblance to the view above. This is a less well known and rare example of Emerson's work and it was published in 1890 in his limited edition book "Wild Life on a Tidal Water". I do not think that the artist's version is a copy of the photograph (which has a narrower aspect) but it is interesting to see another view showing the long forgotten boat yard (complete with 'Boats to Let' sign) and the tower mill in the background.)  

A little nearer can be seen another tall tower mill in Southtown which I believe is the Green Cap Mill and Granaries. I had wondered if the Oast Houses might be Lacon’s Brewery but that is in the main town to the north of the river. Of course, it is perfectly possible that these granaries supplied the brewery, which itself, dates back to the 18th century but I think this was primarily a flour mill. Green top Mill was severely damaged by fire in 1905.

Most of the Yarmouth ship yards including the Cobholm Boat Yard (which older Broads visitors will remember) were situated on the Southtown bank but early maps confirm that the site I have identified was indeed occupied by a ship yard in the nineteenth century.


                                                                                                    "Autochrom" Colour Photo Postcard - Pictorial Stationery Co. Ltd. "Peacock Brand"

Now, you’ve got to love this one? Here's the Yarmouth steamer quay  around 1903. This picture more accurately locates the windmills shown in the painting’s view from further upstream. Here’s the Haven Bridge and Southtown Tower Mill in nearby Gatacre Road. In the foreground is one of the ships of Belle Steamers Ltd. This company ran services from Woolwich, in London, to the east coast resorts of Clacton on Sea, Southwold, Walton on the Naze, Lowestoft and Yarmouth, among others. The steamers were named after the towns that they serviced: Yarmouth Belle, Clacton Belle, Southwold Belle and so on but they might be used on any of the routes as was required. In Yarmouth they were often referred to as the London Boat(s) and all the steamers were of similar appearance. That is why  I can’t be certain which particular steamer this is because improvements were made to the ships’ superstructures from time to time and that altered their individual looks a little. My best guess is that she is in fact the ‘London Belle’ which was in service from 1893 to 1929, although the Belle Steamers company itself was taken over in 1915; soon after the advent of World War One. 

In researching this article I am very grateful to the hosts of  http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk  which is a most comprehensive archive and proved very helpful in identifying the two mills in this picture.


                                                                                                                                      Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

Another contemporary Photochrom art card from their ‘Celesque Series’: Two Trading Wherries making their way from Breydon Water towards Gt. Yarmouth. Again this one is unsigned but I have recently acquired another copy which is credited to Stephen Batchelder and was post marked 12.15 AM 30th August 1913. It is this image that I think is most similar in style to the first item and was, I am sure, painted earlier, maybe ten years earlier, than the postal date.


                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                   Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

Now: we have a few more postcards that we know, for sure, are by Stephen John Betchelder and were also published by the Photochrom company around the same time. The first picture is a rather nice early view of the Horning Ferry Inn, which I will say was published around 1910. In fact, for several “Cartological” reasons we can be reasonably confident that it was published somewhere between 1909 and 1914. The glass like reflective appearance of the water reminds me of some of the works of the artist’s associate at the Gt. Yarmouth and Gorleston Art Society: William E. Mayes. (see above article)  


                                                                                                                                                        Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. Tunbridge Wells

This is a lovely and evocative view entitled ‘Evening’s Gentle Close’ at Horning Old Hall. Which is near the north bank just above Ant Mouth on the River Bure and was a favourite mooring for Arthur Ransome and his wife Evgenia. The picture is typical of the series with Batchelder’s signature reeds and water lilies in the foreground. This particular card is also from the Photochrom ‘Celesque’ Series and was posted to an address in Frankfurt, Germany in 1911.



                                                                                              Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

This card, showing two Trading Wherries, can also be dated to a given period, by publisher’s information i.e. it is from Photochrom’s  ‘Exclusive Celesque Series’ and carries the publisher’s logo in a banner image. These two facts mean that the card would have been published between the wars: after 1920 but [probably] before the artist’s death in 1932.

There are no landmarks and so the location is anybody’s guess really! Possibly the River Bure, given that there appears to be water beyond the far river bank. Salhouse Broad maybe? There were very few trees in those days! The River Waveney used to have lots of water lilies at one time but it could just as easily be somewhere on the River Yare which probably carried the bulk of the Wherry traffic?

Addendum: I have recently seen another edition of this card which is entitled 'Near Coldham Hall' and so I gather it is downstream from there on the River Yare; near the Strumpshaw & Surlingham  Marshes.



                                                                                                   Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

This picture, again by S.J. Batchelder, shows the River Thurne at Ludham Dyke Reach just down-stream from the entrance to Womack Water; with Cold Harbour and Womack Mills in the background. I am not sure what the nearby structure was but Cold Harbour Mill no longer survives and was in fact derelict by 1935. Womack Mill has also been a ruin for many years but I believe that traces of the structure do still survive. In any event, I particularly like the way the artist has captured the cut of the yacht’s sail and its reflections on the water.  



This example of a very similar, but rather closer, view also shows Cold Harbour Drainage Mill. Womack and Horsefen Mills can also be seen, as can St Nicholas’ Church at Potter Heigham. I have included this Art Card here for its very attractive quality and for comparison but the artist was not especially known for paintings of the Norfolk Broads so this might well be the only example of his postcards that I ever find?

This is the work of Alfred Heaton Cooper (1863 - 1929) who was, much more, famous for his paintings of the Lake District and whom established a business there that survives to this day; nowadays in Grasmere village. Heaton Cooper provided twenty illustrations (half of which were of the Broads) for W.G. Clarke’s guide book to “Norfolk & Suffolk” published in 1921 by A. & C. Black Ltd. of London, who also published the postcard, and a later (1926) edition of the book which just contained the water colours. This latter information is very helpful for dating the above image reasonably accurately. A. & C. Black still exists as part of the Bloomsbury group.



                                                                                                              Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

Lastly another S.J. Batchelder signed picture, this time it shows two yachts racing on Barton Broad. I would say they are near Pleasure Hill and Limekiln Dyke judging by the location of the drainage mill which was on the eastern shore of the Broad. I have been unable to put a name to this mill (which was near Wood Farm) despite the fact that it appears in various early illustrations. For example the one below which was painted by Frank Southgate and appeared in William A. Dutt’s famous book “The Norfolk Broads” - the 1905 illustrated edition.

                       

Some of those images were published as postcards (anonymously) but they seem quite rare and this copy is from the book. I would not say that this sketch was one of the best examples of Frank Southgate’s work (you might have seen a better one near the top of this page?) but the atmospheric watery image still jumps off the page at me and I think it clearly demonstrates just what a quality artist he was. 
                                                                               
Raphael Tuck (1821- 1900) & Sons  

It is believed probable that nearly all postcard collectors will own, at least a few, cards published by this most prolific company and there are many who specialise in collecting Tuck products; both here and abroad. In fact it was to Tuck ‘Oilette’ postcards that I first looked in my search for old views of the Broads. A search that ultimately lead to the creation of this website and my eventual graduation into the ranks of bona fi'de postcard collectors?

Raphael and his wife were a Jewish couple from Germany who came to London in the mid-nineteenth century and set up their company producing Art-reproduction prints and Greetings Cards. They were pioneers in the production of Religious themed Christmas cards and went on to produce a vast range of paper based products. These included Christmas and other Greetings Cards, Calendars, Books & Annuals, Dress-up Dolls and Jigsaws. The firm received the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in 1883 and this association was long to continue with future monarchs.

With the participation of three of the couple’s sons the firm prospered and established branches in Paris, Berlin, New York and Montreal. Under the leadership of Adolph Tuck the firm became heavily involved in the production of postcards and were influential in the relaxation of Post Office rules relating to the early restrictions on acceptable formats; such as the address only on the back.

Tuck products were initially printed in Germany but, of course, that was no longer practical with the advent of the first world war. The now famous “Oilette” series commenced in 1903, there was also a watercolour series designated “Aquarette” and Glossy monochrome photo-prints were produced under the trade name “Silverette” but the Oilettes were very much the most numerous art cards. There were many other trademarks and ‘Series’ used by Tuck but unfortunately they were too numerous and diverse to be described in a potted history such as this.

The firm continued to thrive and was probably one of (if not) the most prolific international manufacturers of postcards in the history of the product. Unfortunately, Tuck’s Headquarters were destroyed by enemy bombing, in 1940, and all the company’s archives were lost. The last descendant of Raphael, to be running the company, retired in 1959 and the company was merged with two others to become the British Printing Corporation.

Since starting this website my tastes regarding Tuck postcards have changed and I have begun to collect a few sets relating to the Norfolk Broads simply because I enjoy them rather than because of my usual historical interests. Tuck cards were often sold in envelopes containing a set of six. Usually they would show different scenes but all six would carry the same series number and there may or may not be a common thread running through the group. For example: ‘On the Bure’ or Views of a particular area such as Wroxham or Horning. There are also some charming animated scenes of the resorts of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft etc. Sometimes artists are credited for their work, or have signed it, unfortunately though, more often than not, a set has not been produced by just one artist and no credit is given. I have found a few examples from Lillian Stannard, Bartram Hiles (The Armless Artist) and George Parsons Norman but most are anonymous. It is also apparent that a good many of these Oilettes were created by copying early photographic works by the likes of John Payne Jennings. Several originals can be found in his famous book “Sun Pictures of the Norfolk Broads” from 1891 and were also produced as postcards for the Great Eastern Railway Company; for whom he had produced photographs for use in their holiday advertising posters.

Here are a few of the cards in my collection. They are a selection of personal favourites rather than complete sets or examples of the above artists’ works. The boats tend to be representative rather than accurate depictions of any actual craft but I do feel that these Oilettes are truly ‘works of art’ in miniature and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        From 1907 Series X. (set 7611)

A charming pastoral scene at Coltishall Lock. The ladies are chatting by the boathouse whilst our young gentleman, in his Sunday best, pauses to feed the ducks and perhaps the nearby chickens; before tea time. He’ll catch it if he gets grass stains on his best pants though!

                  
                                                                                                         Also from Raphael Tuck 1907 Series X. (St 7611)

An elegantly dressed Edwardian gentleman assists his lady to disembark from their skiff; hopefully without getting her feet wet or spoiling her ankle length dress? The couple are enjoying the afternoon at Coltishall and the Maltings with the ‘Rising Sun’ can be seen in the background. This is the card that I needed to complete my (7611) set from 1907 and it has been suggested that the artist, in this case, was Edith Berkeley but that has not been confirmed. Three of the cards in my possession (from this set) are of the gloss finish type similar to the ‘Silverette’ photo prints. It is a nice touch but can shrink slightly, over time, causing the card to take on a small curvature; fortunately that has only happened with one of mine and I am hopeful that I will replace it before very long.  

                     
                                                                                                                 Also 1907 Series X.  (set 7611)

A Red Sailed Pleasure Wherry drifts down the Bure on a very calm day and I think this is also near Coltishall. Just downstream, with the houses near the Anchor Inn in the background. The ladies are enjoying the view from the usual bench seat, on the fore deck, and there appears to be some smoke coming from the well, aft. Let’s hope it’s just the Mate brewing some tea in the snug little cabin that he shares with the Skipper?

                 

                                                                                                            From 1907 Series IX. (set 7595)

From the previous series of cards but exactly the same location as the scene above. This time we have a Wherry Yacht but it still has a red sail and that doesn’t seem quite right to me. Perhaps the colour is conjectural on the part of the artist who was probably copying a Black & White photograph? Yachts and Pleasure Wherries usually sported a nice white sail or even a black one if they were of the breed that were Trading Wherries for ten months of the year? Despite all that, there is something to be said for coloured sails as the glare from a white sail can be quite uncomfortable on a sunny day.

              
                                                                                                                        Also 1907 Series IX. (set 7595)

A little further downstream we come to Belaugh and this is a view which was very popular with artists and photographers throughout the twentieth century; albeit most are shown from the northern (village side) of the river, a little further upstream. I have various later examples of similar postcards but I particularly like this 'Oilette' version and as copies of this card do not seem to be abundant I had to search for some time to find an example in good enough condition to upload onto the web-site.

                                                  
                                                                                             Also 1907 Series IX. (set 7595)                               

This is [I think] the scarcest card in this, my favourite, set of six. Maybe that’s just because it is such a nice animated scene that collectors have snapped them all up? In any event I have only just managed to find myself a copy and complete the set. The title of this picture is fairly self evident but the location could be pretty much anywhere on the Broads? Having only ever seen small internet images of this card I had the impression that the pair of sailors, enjoying their picnic lunch, were young boys but  apparently one is smoking a pipe and the other sports a moustache! Thinking about it though: I couldn’t have grown a moustache then but I did start to smoke a pipe when I was a baby faced teenager of 17 or 18. I must have been quite young looking because I was once accosted in the street by a Liverpool Dock Worker who advised me to take care that I did not fall off the end of it! Come to think of it “Liverpool Dock Worker” that shows how long it is since I was a teenager! Time to change the subject…..?


                  
                                                                                                            Also 1907 Series IX. (set 7595)

The old drainage mill near Horning Ferry. This is the mill that was replaced by the White Mill Cottage, around 1935, and it seems to me that the old mill was pictured by artists and photographers almost as much as its successor? Again we have a well dressed gentleman, complete with Norfolk jacket, enjoying a little fishing by the riverside. I must say he is travelling very light compared with modern day anglers and their trailer loads of paraphernalia? I know, I am one and I do have rather a bad back!  Perhaps there is a tradition here, on the Broads, for visitors who might just buy the bare essentials for wetting a line; whilst on holiday?  Again we have a wherry with a red sail and it seems the artist had a little left over to paint in the Ferry Inn?

                    
                                                                                                                            From 1907 Series V. (set 7172)

Another view of Horning Mill, which was often 'so called' although there was another. The much larger, Horning Post Mill at Mill Loke, north of the Staithe, which was used for grinding flour until around1879.

This postcard is a direct copy of a J. Payne Jennings photograph from 1890 albeit the sunset has been added by the artist; who is not known. Creating sunsets was a very common practice in art cards (and even a few photographic ones) but it is a little bit cheeky, here, where the view is looking to the north east!
   
        
                                 From 1907 Series V. (set 7172)                                                     From 1907 Series IX. (set 7595)

I was intrigued by these two pictures of Horning. They were issued in the same year (1907) but the image on the left is a copy of an earlier photograph (probably by G. Christopher Davies or J. Payne Jennings ) and shows the staithe as it was in the late nineteenth century. The earlier ‘Swan Inn’ is the white washed building, centre left, and the old granary also survives. The view on our right shows a more familiar Horning staithe with the new ‘Swan Hotel’, that opened around 1898, but the cottages where the village green was created in the late1920’s remain.

                
                                                                                                                From 1907 Series V. (set 7172)

Last one for now. We couldn’t finish without a view of Wroxham could we? This appears to be the view looking downstream towards Ernest Collins’ boathouses although I am unsure about the pilings opposite? The sailing dinghy looks rather under canvassed but that may have been to make her more suitable for inexperienced sailors. I particularly like the attire of the seated gentleman who would look quite at home at the Henley regatta. They knew how to dress up in those days didn’t they. What ever did happen to those promenading Dandies, maybe it’s time we revived the blazer and the straw boater? 
   

        
And back to some more photo-cards for now


                                                                                                                                     Postcard by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

This is a very well known picture of Wroxham bridge which appears in several publications but I think it fits well with my collection too?

The original monochrome photograph is thought to date from around the last decade of the 19th century but this copy is a colour print by The Photochrom Company of London; so may have been published a little later; most likely before the first world war though. Their process involved overprinting the colours with a set of plates to create the effect of a colour photograph and this system was used to create many well known images of the Broads. Here is the original copy for comparison:

                                
                                                                                                    Souvenir Photograph by ‘Photochrom Ltd. London & Tunbridge Wells

On the far (Wroxham) bank we can see the premises of John Loynes, whose development is very much in the early stages and opposite are two trading wherries
at the yard of Herbert Press; who ran his wherry-building yard here until 1899 when the business was acquired by the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company.

Our principle interest though is the yacht in the foreground: she is thought to be “The Swan” built for G. Christopher Davies in 1876. That being the same year that his novel about three boys who build their own sailing boat for adventuring on the broads was published. That novel was “ The Swan and Her Crew” and was famously followed, in 1882, by “The Handbook to the Rivers and Broads of Norfolk and Suffolk” and others. The former having been said to have played a part in inspiring Arthur Ransome to write his famous “Swallows and Amazons” novels for children; two of which take place on the Norfolk Broads.




The Swan Hotel at Horning in the very early days; this building was completed in 1897 and is shown here, probably around the first or second decade of the 20th Century. As you can see the old Maltings are still present on what was to become the village green. A pleasure wherry is passing by and, although she could not be identified with any confidence, it is just possible that she is a Collins craft; based on the little burgee detail that is discernible on the original.

What fascinates me about this though is the very smart double-ended Yacht moored by the Hotel. If you have visited the ‘Extras’ page of this website you may have seen the motor sailor “Belle” (moored at Oulton Broad Yacht station) which so intrigued me. The style of the craft in the background here reminds me very much of “Belle” but this is clearly a much larger example of the type and she appears to be Ketch rigged?

 It seems to me that a craft like this has been built for leisurely cruising, not crossing oceans, but would not be very handy on the narrow broadland rivers. Pictures of these craft are exceedingly rare but I have discovered that they are of a type built by Brooke Marine of Lowestoft. In the 1920's Alfred Collins had for hire the 47ft. Yacht 'Radiant' which was very much in this style and carried a Gaff Sloop rig. By 1930 she had her sails removed and was for hire as a motor cruiser named 'Grey Fox'


                                                                                        © Blakes Holiday Boating 1926


                                                                                                 Reproduced with permission from Jarrold & Sons Ltd

Swan Corner at Horning again and, this time, most probably in the early 1920's. We can see that the Malthouses remain at this time; I believe they were demolished in the late 1920's. However, we can only guess at the occasion that justifies the bunting on the Wherry Yacht and the Union Flags and Ensigns ashore; Empire Day perhaps? At first, I had considered the Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary in 1935 or the Coronation of George VI in 1937. However since recently acquiring some more cards from the series and confirming the image's appearance in a 1927 Jarrold's publication. I can now be sure that this is an earlier view. 

In the foreground we can see a White Boat (Yare & Bure O.D.) and, with the advantage of seeing the original, it is just possible to make out the name boards of Banham’s Yacht Station on the right. The launch seen ahead of the yacht is the famous 'Broadland Belle' built by Alfred Collins & Co. before the 1st World War.

However, my principal interest here is the Wherry Yacht. On the original postcard she can be seen to be of clinker construction which leads me to believe that she is “White Heather” which was launched by Ernest Collins in 1902 and withdrawn, from the hirefleet, around 1934. Ernest had built her using the hull from a salvaged Yawl; possibly one of those that gave boat trips from the beaches of Yarmouth or Cromer etc. 





                                                                                                                     © Blakes Holiday Boating 1908

 

A recently discovered image from the pre-war Clifton Series, it is a hand coloured monochrome. I find this picture of the Wherry Yacht, gliding along, so elegantly atmospheric that it might almost have come from the Edwardian period, However, developments, along the Horning bank, show that it was photographed in the later 1930’s. The famous White Mill cottage built on the site of an older mill as part of the (A.L. Rhodes’) ‘Pyramids’ is just discernible on the original copy which is unfortunately of fairly low definition.

The beautiful auxiliary yacht is ‘Golden Hinde’ on charter from John Loynes & Sons at Wroxham.  Golden Hinde was actually built in the early 1920’s and could accommodate up to ten guests at a cost of £26.5.0d in the High Season of 1926 including two attendants who would, as usual, sleep in the fore-peak. Auxiliary Fuel and a Piano were extra. By 1939 the rampant inflation of the period had increased the charter cost to £26.10.0d. An extra 25p in today’s terms! Those were the days eh? This seems to have been the standard amount charged by all the firms for Wherry charter, at the time, be they Wherry Yachts or Pleasure Wherries.


                                                                                                                           © Blakes Holiday Boating 1939

 

                                                                                       



                                                                                                                         Brian M Kermode © 1989

The above is a 30cm by 40cm watercolour, painted by the writer in 1989; after a photograph from an earlier Norfolk County Sailing Base advertising flyer. When I painted this I had never seen any examples of the postcards on this ‘Early Days’ page but with hindsight it is not dissimilar in style to some of them, particularly the Raphael Tucks.

I include this picture because I have commented on the draughtsmanship of others (usually in a very complementary way - well maybe until more recently!) and its inclusion is intended to demonstrate that I am no marine artist myself but that (as they say) I know what I like! In my defence: the original idea was for an impression of a yacht at sunset but because of the scale I had to include more detail. I think that this is an issue that faced the postcard artists as well and may well account for some of their boats appearing to be  too small?  I have always intended to do a more technical version but apart from a couple of aborted attempts I just can’t seem to get around to it. Maybe in another twenty years ……oh?

Since this picture was included I have added another of my efforts in the [above] Sylvester Stannard article. Two in twenty four years eh? I'll bet these old guys would do that in as many days!





A lightly hand-tinted monochrome postcard, taken from the moorings at Malthouse Broad, and posted in1965. However I believe it must have been photographed at least thirty years earlier; and prior to the Second World War. 

This is one of those rare cards where a boat’s name is clearly visible. The three young men, in the foreground, are enjoying their holiday on ‘Bijou’ one of the ‘Treasure’ class of una-rigged gaff yachts from Alfred Collins / Jack Powles & Co at Wroxham. Apart from my following comments: Bijou is pictured here with the pennant of Alfred Collins on her transom. That would indicate that the postcard must have been photographed between 1926 and 1935.

This class was designed for simplicity and advertised as ideal for the sailing beginner. The hard chine construction is simpler and less costly than the more common carvel planking and may even indicate that a marine plywood hull was employed.

We know that, during the war, many craft were used as floating barrage to prevent enemy seaplanes landing on the open waters of the Broads and many were unsound after being abandoned in this way for the duration. This class of yacht is one of those that appear in “Holidays Afloat” brochures up to 1939 but do not seem to have survived the war; because they never reappear in later catalogues.

The identity of the larger yacht, in the background, and being double quanted may only be guessed at but she could very well be a Dragonfly or Westward; also, latterly, from Jack Powles’ or perhaps a Valkyrie from Ernest Collins’






  

Another Intriguing card, posted in August 1909. However I believe that this picture is by J. Payne-Jennings (Sun Pictures of the Norfolk Broads -1891) so it was probably photographed around 20 years earlier.

We know that, in this era, it was not unusual for boat yard staff to collect and transport their customers from the railway station. Could this message be confirmation of such an arrangement from Southgate’s; or maybe for a journeyman worker who was arriving to provide some skilled service?
                                                                                               




This last view [for now] shows a Pleasure Wherry in Oulton Dyke. She flies a burgee similar to that of the Norfolk Broads Yachting Company which (at this time) had bases at Wroxham, Potter Heigham and, not too far away, at Brundall. Several pleasure wherries were built at Wroxham, for this company, from around 1900. Notably, Dragon, Endeavour, Freedom and Fairy Queen.

The card was posted in the Edwardian heydays of 1905. Clearly it was a day of very light airs since the wherry has laced on her ‘bonnet’ (the cleaner looking part at the foot of her sail) to increase her sail area and some of the elegant ladies (complete with parasols) have been permitted to enjoy their cruise in one of the dinghies. For some inexplicable reason, I find that this amuses me. Perhaps they are pouting or are they engaged in some salacious gossip that requires suitable discretion?  Most likely just short of space on the fore deck but this would not be considered sensible behaviour these days.






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