Tag Archives: RIVER

SHIPS AND BOATS

Unloading at Baltic Wharf on the river Wensum about 1980.

BLAKENEY CREEK in the 1950s

The Thames barge  MARTIN LUTHER in her final resting place  a mud berth at BLACKSHORE on the river Blyth at Southwold, circa 1959.

The river Waveney on the Norfolk border in 1958.

THE STEAMER YARMOUTH on the River Deben in the early 1970s. Before then she had spent her working life on the Broads. She was scrapped after a time as a float café in London docks.

 

Cromer craboats, 1970.

Cromer crab boats, 1970.

This is a model of an early lifeboat. The beach yawl BITTERN was used for rescues and salvage work off Southwold in the nineteenth century.

REEDHAM FERRY ON THE RIVER YARE

REEDHAM FERRY ON THE RIVER YARE

HMS Campbell

HMS Campbell. This destroyer was being fitted out as  WW1 ended. Mothballed in the interwar years, she was based at Harwich during WW2; she was scrapped in 1946.

Me and my father on the Resolute in Norwich

Me and my father on the S. S. Resolute in Norwich. 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. But for how longer till rust gets its way?

Loading scrap metal at Wensum Wharf Norwich, c 1978

The Cantwm loading scrap metal at Wensum Wharf Norwich, c 1978. All such shipping has now vanished from the Wensum.

The steam tug Cypress tied up beside a lighter on Baltic Wharf; cica 1964.

The steam tug Cypress tied up beside a lighter on Baltic Wharf; circa 1964. Coal and wood were still delivered to Norwich by dumb barge. All the barges were also named after trees.

SEA GULL II outside the Hotel Norwich

SEA GULL II outside the Hotel Norwich. This half-sized Thames Barge spent her working life delivering explosives to a munitions factory. She is now undergoing long-term restoration.

A Dutch coaster in the Short-Sea Port of Kings Lynn, Alexandra Dock on the Great Ouse.

Dutch coaster Breezand in the Short-Sea Port of Kings Lynn’s  Alexandra Dock, on the Great Ouse. Some ships still use the dock, but they are increasingly getting too large to enter it.

Trawler leaving Great Yarmouth Harbour behind the paddle tug United Service

Trawler leaving Great Yarmouth Harbour behind the paddle tug United Service. (Painting by J. C. W. Mason from a photograph).

Blakeney harbour

Boats in Blakeney harbour, pictured in about 1970; all the boats are made of wood. (A far cry from today, when they will all be plastic.)

Thomas Lound was the skipper of the Yarmouth smack Cambria in the 1870s.

My step great-grandfather, Thomas Lound, was the skipper of the Yarmouth smack Cambria in the 1870s. (This vessel is not to be confused with the Thames Barge of the same name.) His vessel, similar to one in the picture, sailed to Iceland and the Baltic under his command.

The tug Gensteam on the Yare

The tug Gensteam on the Yare.

The arrival of the London paddle steamer at Yarmouth

The arrival of the London paddle steamer at Yarmouth before WW1.

 

Sarnia

Mail Boat Sarnia; the currency shows the date of the stamp is after 1971.

M.V. Marco Polo in Norwegian Fjord, 2011.

M.V. Marco Polo on a cruise in the Norwegian Fjords, 2011.

SONORITY aground at Whitlingham, 16 March 1970. The police launch is alongside.

SONORITY aground at Whitlingham, 16 March 1970. The police launch is alongside.

A Dutch coaster on the way up to Norwich on the Yare

Dutch coaster TUGRO on the way up to Norwich on the river Yare.

 A yacht passing a dredger, on the river Yare c1970

A yacht passing a dredger, on the river Yare in 1970

CAMBRIA off King Street

Thames Barge CAMBRIA, King Street, Norwich, in 1971, shortly after she retired from commercial service under her skipper Bob Roberts. 

THE QUEEN OF THE BROADS on the River Yare at Yarmouth

THE QUEEN OF THE BROADS on the river Yare at Yarmouth.

Canoe RED SQUIRREL on the WENSUM

My sister Tiggie and canoe RED SQUIRREL on the WENSUM, upstream of the New Mills.

Band of the 2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regt on HMS NORFOLK, 1930.,

HMS NORFOLK and the Band of the 2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, 1930, five years before ‘Royal’ was added to the Regiment’s title.

 

The eastern boom tower at Norwich

Coaster JAN KLUVER brings a cargo of wood to Norwich. She is about to pass under Carrow Bridge.

Aldeburgh lifeboat, 1958.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR THE STORY OF EAST ANGLIA

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THE RIVER YARE

The tug Gensteam on the Yare

The tug Gensteam on the Yare

It is now over a hundred years since all the rivers of the Norfolk and Suffolk broads were commercial waterways, carrying cargoes of agricultural produce down the rivers Ant, Bure, Waveney and Yare to the mills and maltings that lined their banks. The floods of 1912 closed the upper Bure navigation from Coltishall to Aylsham, and by the Second World War the upper Waveney above Geldeston lock to Bungay and the river Ant above Dilham had also closed to commercial traffic.

As the commercial side of river use faded, tourism had already begun to take its place. Wroxham was already a centre of the leisure boating business in the late nineteenth century and the shop Roys of Wroxham owes its success to this trade. Before departing on a cruise on the Broads, the wealthy visitors stocked up with groceries from Roys. The tourist market grew and grew until today it has completely taken over all the boats on the Broads and the river systems of Norfolk. The rivers Bure, Thurne and Ant to the north are particularly popular with tourists. The river Yare is less so.

  A yacht passing a dredger, c1970


A yacht passing a dredger, c 1970

In having a commercial use the Yare held out the longest, with the regular passage of trading vessels up to Norwich. Coming through Great Yarmouth from the ports of Europe and as far away as South America this shipping gave an international feel to the Norwich riverside. There is still a small amount of commercial traffic on the river Yare, although not as far upstream as formerly. A barge taking some large machinery upriver to Cantley sugarbeet factory was reported in the Easter Daily Press as recently as December 2013.

The traffic on the other rivers was never international and had already vanished by the end of the first half of the 20th century. Virtually no powered vessels took the place of the sailing wherries on these minor waterways. The water mills took their grain from motor lorries now that these were available instead of by boat. By 1940 most of the mills were no longer water powered and even when powered by oil engine they soon succumbed to the changing patterns of trade. They were converted to residences or were left to fall derelict. Saxlingham mill on the river Tas is just about the only watermill still milling. It produces animal feed although not by water power any more. In Norfolk there is one mill left grinding grain by water power, at Letheringsett on the river Glaven, and this is more of a tourist attraction than a genuine commercial enterprise.

By the end of the 20th century the last commercial river, the Yare, had become almost entirely the preserve of leisure craft. The the 19th century probably saw the greatest use made of the Broadland rivers with over a hundred wherries registered at Yarmouth. The wherry was then at the pinnacle of its development. Although the waterways had been the main conduit of trade for centuries the sheer volume of cargoes had increased exponentially with the Industrial Revolution. In the previous century the keel was still the commonest broadland craft, but being dependent on a square sail it was not as adept at sailing the winding rivers as the wherry was with its single fore-and-aft rigged sail. This sail meant it could go closer to the wind than a keel. Even so it needed its quant, a type of punt pole, to push the vessel along at times when the wind was dead against travel, or had dropped completely.

A Dutch coaster on the way up to Norwich on the Yare

A Dutch coaster TUGRO on the way up to Norwich on the Yare

In the early years of the 19th century steam vessels began to take passengers on the river Yare from Norwich to Yarmouth, greatly speeding up the communications along this important route. By the 1840s the railway had come to Norfolk with first line being constructed along the Yare valley from Great Yarmouth to Norwich. The railways soon took much of the freight and almost all of the passenger traffic from the river.

Although the tonnage carried by steamers and later by diesel freighters along the river Yare was probably highest in the 20th  century, as a proportion of total freight carried to Norwich the significance of river traffic was small. Coal was probably the cargo most reliant on river transport and colliers from Tyneside were a common sight. The closure of the gas works and later the electricity generating station removed the need for colliers to use the river Yare.  Grain, softwood from Scandinavia and fruit juice for Colman’s from Argentina came into the port of Norwich, and scrap metal left by ship up until the late 1970s, but the increasing size of freighters was making it impossible to use the smaller ports. Kings Lynn, and particularly Felixstowe, remain East Anglia’s principal ports. A new deep water harbour has been built at the mouth of the River Yare in the hope of attracting the larger vessels now in use to Yarmouth, but the poor road links make this an unattractive port. Yarmouth remains a port for vessels serving the North Sea energy installations.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE