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THE STEAMER YARMOUTH
In the early 1970s there were still steamers from Victorian times in regular use on the Norfolk Broads. Not rusty and decrepit machines either, but smartly turned out, painted and polished. All the company’s (Pleasure Steamers Ltd) vessels were double-ended for manoeuvrability. You can also see (if you look carefully) a bow rudder. At least one of the ships, the Yarmouth, (built 1895) was still steaming in April 1973, although by then she was at Woodbridge in Suffolk. I have learned recently that the steamer was subsequently moved to St Katherine’s Dock in London where she was used as floating tea shop. Sadly she was later scrapped.
THE QUEEN OF THE BROADS
This steamer was built at Cobholm Island, Great Yarmouth in 1889 and had a long career. She was 74 feet long and of 13 foot beam. The Queen of the Broads made daily trips between Yarmouth and Wroxham, holding up to 180 passengers. She continued to operate up to 1976 when she was de-commissioned and later broken up. Photographed in 1971 at Great Yarmouth where she was in steam. She is moored just upstream of the Haven Bridge at Great Yarmouth.
THE PRINCESS MARGARET
Taking a rather smaller steamer, the next picture shows the Princes Margaret on the river Wensum along Riverside Road. She was real steamer at the time of the picture; subsequently she was powered by a petrol engine and now by a diesel. As you can tell from my use of the present tense she is still in existence, although like many historic local artifacts no longer in East Anglia. She is now based on the Thames and her name has reverted to the name she had when built in around 1903, the Archangel. There is an article on this boat. This boat began its Broads tours from Elm Hill, which accounts for its passing the boats in the Norwich Yacht Station. The owner of the Princess Margaret was Cedric Lovewell, who ran Southern River Steamers for 25 years. True steamers have become increasingly rare on the Norfolk Broads, and at the moment I can’t think of any.
THE REGAL LADY
The steamer I remember best was Regal Lady, as she was based at Foundry Bridge in Norwich. About 1978 I went on trip aboard her as far as Bramerton. She is still sailing, nowadays based once again at Scarborough. She is a pretty double ended boat, but much younger than the other two vessels mentioned here, the Yarmouth and Queen of the Broads, having been built in 1930. Also she was converted to diesel power in 1954. She has had an eventful life, dividing her time between the Norfolk Broads and Scarborough. She was built as the Oulton Belle by Fellows of Great Yarmouth and was used on the Broads until the war, when she was requisitioned by the War Ministry (as the MoD was then called). She participated in the evacuation of Dunkirk, and spent time as a tender on the Clyde. After the war she returned to Norfolk. She was sold to Scarborough in the mid 50s where her name was changed to Regal Lady. She returned to be berthed on the river Yare ar Norwich from 1970 until 1984. After some years out of service she returned once more to the sea at Scarborough.
S. S. RESOLUTE
This picture was taken in the early seventies when a group of enthusiasts were trying to save another Broadland steamer, the Resolute. She used to leave from Great Yarmouth and travelled the Southern Rivers; because her funnel could not negotiate the bridges on the River Bure.
The funds never materialised for the planned restoration, but the vessel was not broken up. She was towed towards London but got no further than Pin Mill, where she remains in a very dilapidated state as a houseboat.
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