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Historical Odds & Ends


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Hi all .... back from my sabbatical! :naughty: (Actually ... it was called building walls, laying paving and freezing my bits off in a tent for the Goodwood Revival weekend!)

I have a few interesting old postcards and photos which I have yet to do anything with yet and thought some of them might be of interest. The first shows quite an historic event .... this was the fire which destroyed Britannia Pier at GY in December 1909. The original wooden pier was opened in 1858 but had it's length reduced by 50ft just a year later when a schooner collided with it (you know what these salty bottoms are like! :lol: ). It apparently suffered a second collision in 1868 which took away a bit more. In 1901 it was replaced with a new pier constructed out of steel and wood, and the 2500 seater grand pavillion was built. The pavillion was destroyed in the fire you see below. A new Brittania pier opened in 1910, but just four years later it suffered the same fate as its predecessor when it too burnt to the ground. The third pavillion managed to last through WW2, although the pier alledgedly had a hole blown in it during WW2 as a precaution against enemy planes landing! In 1954 the pier and its building were destroyed by yet another fire ... the current pier was opened in 1958.


Staying with Britannia Pier .... at the entrance to the pier which was destroyed in 1909 was a helter skelter which, as seen in the postcatd below dated 1906, charged 1d per mat. It will probably look vaguely familiar to most people on here ..... after the fire the remains of the helter skelter were moved to Potter Heigham, the middle section becoming a holiday cottage and the top an outside toilet. "Dutch Tutch" is now probably one of the most photgraphed buildings on the Broads!


Off to Norwich in 1912 .... this one is a complete mystery to me and I would love to know more about it! All I can tell you is that is labelled as being "The Flying Man". It looks as though the name of the aircraft may possibly be Firefly. I can't read what the notice poster says, but the writting on the plane tells us the "The public are requested not to touch". There also appears to be a name written under the wing? If anyone knows anything about this event or who the flying man was then please do tell!!



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Ahh good to have you back and you see, a bit of stirring things up certainly gets results... Im going to get onto doing a little research on the aeroplane - I have my suspicions that I know what it is but will double check when Im home at the weekend - I suspect it came from Martlesham and is a variation on another model... will have a good peep for you!!!!

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. it was called building walls, laying paving and freezing my bits off in a tent ...


Hope you managed some refreshment between all of that Carol!!!!

Fascinating pictures, many thanks for sharing with us. I always wondered what that helter skelter looked like originally when it was all in one piece!!

Coincidentally I used to live in a place called Hornsea on the Yorkshire coast which used to have its own pier. Some Victorian sailey also crashed into that apparently and reduced its length somewhat! :naughty:


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That looks like the aircraft ... I look forward to hearing more about it. It would have presumably caused quite a bit of excitement at the time?

Howard ... I might have had a couple of beers and a glass of wine or two at Goodwwod! cheers

Moving on a few years - I haven't really had the time to delve too deeply into the history of the area during WW1 but came across these postcards a while ago. They show the bomb damage caused by the Zeppelin raid on Great Yarmouth on the night of the 19th January 1915. I hadn't realised at the time that this was actually the first Zeppelin raid on Britain during WW1 - London's first attack didn't occur until May 1915. The Emperor apparently forbade attacks initially on London as he had concerns for the Royal family to whom he was related.

On the morning of the 19th January 1915 two zeppelins took off from their base in Germany and made their way, silently, across the sea to the east coast - the L3 headed towards Great Yarmouth whilst the L4 continued on to Kings Lynn. At around 8.25pm the first bomb was dropped on Yarmouth, the crew dropped several more as the airship made it's way across the town. Many buildings were damaged and two people lost their lives in the town that night. Over the next two years, the zeppelins became a familiar sight in the skies above the east coast and London - there were no warnings, no sirens, and no air raid shelters. Policeman blew their whistles to warn of an iminent attack and people were advised to stay indoors and hide underneath tables or in cellars. The following set of postcards show the aftermath of that first raid.









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Fascinating pictures Carol. I know that Hull suffered damage from Zeppelin raids as well, I wonder if they targeted Yarmouth and Kings Lynn because of their port status or if it was to avoid flying over land? I wonder if the Zeppelins were in range of gunfire, must have presented quite a target!


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Googling "Bleriot Firefly" has led me to the name B.C. Hucks (which I can now see is the name written underneath the wing!) who apparently toured the country giving aerial displays at this time ... more on him here: http://www.earlyaviators.com/ehucks2.htm

Many thanks for pointing me in the right direction by identifying the plane. I also found a clip of him on the British Pathe website: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=52150

Howard - from what I have read, I believe that the pilots of this first raid on Yarmouth were told to target miltary bases and industrial buildings. It also said that the zeppelins flew at quite a high altitude and were out of the reach of the aircraft of the day. As the war progressed, I believe that aircraft were developed that could successfully shoot down the enemy airships. ... I'm sure that someone with a lot more knowledge on the subject will be able to confirm or put me straight on this! As I said, I really haven't had the time to delve too deeply into it all so my knowledge is extremely limited.


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