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Jack Fellows And The Missing Boatyard!


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No it's not the name of a new Chris Crowther book! but I am currently reading "Dead in the water" by Chris and something in the book has prompted a question which I wonder if the Broadland historians might have the answer to? In most of his books Chris is fairly vague about where the plot is actually set and uses artistic license when it comes to the setting for the drama.

This latest book is slightly different in so far as it is a lot closer to the real Broadland scene that we all know and love. Towards the start Andy, sorry Jack Fellows :default_norty: is returning the launch to its usual patrol area after its Winter refit at the dockyard. Jack is travelling downriver and goes past a pub called The Red Lion, which I deduce is The Reedcutter, formerly The Cantley Red House. He then passes the Cantley sugar factory and then moors alongside a boat at the Hardley windmill mooring and even describes the floating pontoon mooring. Apart from the name of the pub Chris has used no artistic license with any of the places or geography of The Yare. When he leaves the mooring he carries on downriver for a while and then enters a dyke, then passes a village staithe and then goes to a boat yard that used to be a hire boat yard?

Now to my mind that would be Hardley dyke? Now this is one of the very few stretches of water that I have never navigated due to the dyke being narrow and as far as I'm aware there is no public mooring and nothing down there other than the private moorings along the dyke. I know that Langley dyke has a BA 24hr mooring, but this is in the wrong place in the context of the location given in the book. I note from Google maps that there is a staithe road in Hardley, so one assumes that there was once a public staithe at Hardley Dyke? or is there still a public staithe. What has really piqued my interest is whether Chris is using artistic license? or was there ever a hire yard at the end of Hardley Dyke?

Based upon Chris's other books I would have said it is a fictional yard, but most if not all the other landmarks he mentions in this book are there, which got me wondering about the boat yard. He also mentions The Woods end pub, ok I know it is now The Waters Edge. He also mentions The Ferry Inn and the chain ferry and then further down river Reedham itself.

I am still reading the book, and there may be others who have yet to read the book, so please no discussion of the actual plot, or ending, but would appreciate it if the historians could answer whether there is, or ever was a staithe at Hardley, and whether there was ever a boat yard?

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Please please please, DON'T say any more about the plot etc, as we have the book, but have yet to read it. We have all the Chris Crowther collection, with the exception of Blade Strike, and that's because it's not Broads related, and it doesn't even feature Jack Fellows.

I've read very few books in my 60 years, 2 about Nigel Mansell, Swallows and Amaxons Forever, and the Chris Crowther Collection. Just goes to show I must have limited interests?.

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30 minutes ago, Ray said:

I've never come across these books before, first one ordered for reading onboard!

You should have saved time and postage and ordered the lot :default_beerchug: I guarantee you'll order the others anyway at some point.

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50 minutes ago, keifsmate said:

Took a bit of digging to find it, but here is Hardley Staithe as it used to be. I am afraid I don't have a date for the photo

 

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Thanks keifsmate, I knew someone on the forum would have the answers. Interesting photo. Any idea when the hire yard stopped hiring?

I've moored at Langley before and cycled to Hardley, but that was some time ago and don't remember seeing anything that suggested there was ever much there.

Unusually Chris had too many correct places in this book, for there not to be some elements of truth in there being a staithe and boat yard hence my questions.

I've almost finished the book now so you can start a discussion on the plot if you want :default_icon_twisted: Best not though :default_beerchug:

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5 minutes ago, EastCoastIPA said:

You should have saved time and postage and ordered the lot :default_beerchug: I guarantee you'll order the others anyway at some point.

They are all available in Norfolk Marine, Wroxham (sorry Hoveton!). I have seen them in Latham’s PH too. I bought my last one in Norfolk Marine, as I was paying for it Chris Crowther appeared and autographed it for me. A special copy that!

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Just now, vanessan said:

They are all available in Norfolk Marine, Wroxham (sorry Hoveton!). I have seen them in Latham’s PH too. I bought my last one in Norfolk Marine, as I was paying for it Chris Crowther appeared and autographed it for me. A special copy that!

Chris actually lives in Hoveton. His property is on the banks of the main river Hoveton side. I won't say where to protect his privacy. When ordering on the website there used to be a section where you could ask him to sign and dedicate the book. Haven't checked if it's still there now.

There are six books in the Jack Fellows series. As Neil mentioned there is also Bladestrike a book about a helicopter pilot. That appears to have disappeared from the website so is perhaps out of print. I think it was his first book. No surprise really as he spent 42 years flying various aeroplanes and helicopters. He also skippered passenger boats on The Norfolk Broads for 5 years.  

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2 hours ago, EastCoastIPA said:

Thanks keifsmate, I knew someone on the forum would have the answers. Interesting photo. Any idea when the hire yard stopped hiring?

I've moored at Langley before and cycled to Hardley, but that was some time ago and don't remember seeing anything that suggested there was ever much there.

I knew of the boatyard, but not if it hired out. There was apparently a pub among the houses! When the place was demolished/fell down, I do not know and Google doesn't help! Nothing remains now apart from an old Nissen Hut and a concrete pad which we think was associated with the boat yard.

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2 hours ago, EastCoastIPA said:

When ordering on the website there used to be a section where you could ask him to sign and dedicate the book. Haven't checked if it's still there now.

I think there must be because a friend of mine ordered hers from the website and they came signed. 

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1 minute ago, Kron said:

Do they have to be read in a particular order?

Yes, from the start to the finish :default_rofl:

No seriously they are all self contained stories based around a few core characters. I might be tempted to read Waterproof first as that introduces the characters being the first in the series, but Chris is pretty good at setting out who they are in each book without making it repetitive, so any order would be fine.

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