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Freshfields Holidays 1983


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Freshfields was a marketing arm of Butlins, who were also owned by Rank at the time and the boating holidays in France, on the Thames and at Richardsons, came under them.  In France we were also called Beaver Fleet, which related to the newer yard in St Olaves and not the original one at Somerleyton.  By coincidence, it was Crown Cruisers, who ran the old yard in Somerleyton, who later bought the Beaver Fleet in France.

So most of the senior management of the Freshfields operation were actually ex Butlins Red-coats.

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Do people really pay that money for old brochures, well you learn something new everyday. I noticed on the front cover of the new horizon brochure they mention riverside caravans, where these on the Thames??. Did rank actually make any money out of the boating fleets, I know they invested heavily at Stalham then to sold it back to Clive dad,but by then I think it's fair to say the new fleet was in a bit of a mess. I'd didn't quite realise just how big richardsons were back in the day. 

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From my experience, Rank were very good at investing money in capital -new boats - but no good at all at maintaining them!  They were making large profits in France, but that was because they had bought the fleet secondhand and since spent next to nothing on running costs.

I suspect that the Thames was not profitable owing to the extortionate cost of riverside property.  This has since killed off almost all the old yards including Bates, and Andrews, the famous builders of slipper stern launches.  The Broads, by then, was in drastic recession and big investors such as Rank expect to see at least 13% return on capital.  Everything revolves around the shareholders.  If they don't get enough return, they just sell up.

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I have loads of these brochures at home, I must be worth a fortune ha ha. This was the last year Rank were in charge, as Richardsons bought the yard back shortly after, not sure what happened with Bushnell's although Richardsons appeared to move some more of the Stalham boats to the Thames for a short period before moving them back possibly because they were still in Hoseasons at the time and the Stalham yard was a mess at this stage with various boat graveyard's 8 year old boats with scattered interiors and doors left open,a sad sight before the restoration began. I also note this was the last brochure with a number of woodies still on hire. By 1984 they were down to 4 Broads ventures. 

I can't see the mention of caravan's although Freshfields used to market caravan parks. New Horizon as Richardsons was rebranded operated out of Benson Riverside park as one of three thames yards acquired after Bushnell's ceased, they had some caravan's and possibly still do although they maybe lodges now

Neil

 

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The caravans were mentioned on the new horizon brochure above the advert for the freshfields brochure. I guessed it was the Thames. I remember all  the boats sitting about at Stalham, quite a sorry site tbf. 

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Thanks all for contributing information. I have happy memories of Richardson's (or New Horizon as they were branded then) Thames fleet in the 1990s. I hired from Benson twice and also stayed at the touring caravan site there. The Richardson's Thames fleet gave the Thames affordability and choice it lacks nowadays sadly. They finished hiring on the Thames in 2002 and it's never been the same. Happily a small choice remains and Kris Cruisers are the pick of the bunch in my view so I'm booked with them for next year.

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There were loads of Fresh Fields beach balls at stalham when we got the yard back in 1984, i wonder if any survived??

I have a Flag somewhere.. 

 

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I have been with Kris Cruisers, Caversham boat services Le Boat and Oxfordshire narrowboats on the Thames. As you say Kris Cruisers are the best just a shame they don't have a base nearer Oxford as well. Just leaves Anglo Welsh, Cotswold boat hire and Bygone boating to try! May give Bygone boating a try as being based in Benson at the old Richardsons base I can do the Lechlade end which is very similar to the Broads with a touch of the Cotswolds thrown in. They have an interesting fleet including Broads boats, a Johnson's Anglia could be a possibility for next year.Also believe they have a Bourne 35 and a 1960s Herbert Woods Silver Light set to join the fleet in the next year or two along with existing Freeman and Bates boats.

Kris Cruisers ofcourse is predominantly Broads related too with a mixture of Haines, Greenway and Moore's built craft some of which have returned to the Broads in recent years including an Alpha 32 acquired by Clive, a Diamond 43 and an ex Fineway Bounty 37

Neil

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On 16/08/2021 at 23:15, Broads01 said:

Thanks all for contributing information. I have happy memories of Richardson's (or New Horizon as they were branded then) Thames fleet in the 1990s. I hired from Benson twice and also stayed at the touring caravan site there. The Richardson's Thames fleet gave the Thames affordability and choice it lacks nowadays sadly. They finished hiring on the Thames in 2002 and it's never been the same. Happily a small choice remains and Kris Cruisers are the pick of the bunch in my view so I'm booked with them for next year.

I've only hired a cruiser once on the Thames and absolutely loved it, we hired from New horizon at Thames Diton. If memory serves me right the office was at the end of a row of houses and the carpark was some way away. They had a guy that followed you to the carpark in a car to return you the yard. The boats were all moored to a floating pontoon. It's was a August bankholiday weekend and incredibly busy. I did find hanging around waiting to transit the locks a bit of a bind, but that just me. The scenery was far far better then the broads IMHO. Would definitely do it again, kris cruisers have some really nice boats now and would be my first choice. Id love to explore much further upstream to Benson etc. One day maybe 

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Scratch that idea lol, just had a look on le boats web site, they are clearly marketing there boats at overseas visitors ( they must be ) damage wavier £203 per boat,ouch. Some of the add ons are laughable in my opion, upper deck cushion pack of 2 £12, why ? Final boat clean down £120 PER BOAT !!! Apparently this option allows you to enjoy your final evening afloat. Just bag your rubbish and go ( do ppl really fall for this ) etc etc. Le boat are definitely not for me lol....

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50 minutes ago, andyg said:

Le boat are definitely not for me lol....

I think Le Boat are not for most people. Shame, as they could have a very good business.

Kris' fleet is good, and although the choice of carpets / upholstery is odd the Caversham boats always look well cared for.

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Some pics from our 1995 Thames holiday, first week in October.

The boat was Maid of Chertsey from Richardson's at Wallingford.

It was a very leisurely week up to the head of navigation just above Lechlade and back.

I think it was 20 locks each way, so a total of 40 locks in the week.

It was very quiet - we only shared a lock with another boat on one occasion each way and only had to wait for one boat to leave a lock a handful of times.

Wild mooring at Clifton HampdenWild mooring at Clifton Hampden
 

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