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Boat History Question


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I'm popping this post in the lounge and not in the history area as, although its a history question and its does pertain to boats, its not a Norfolk boating history question.

I've been resting up over the past few months...plenty of fresh air and all that rubbish...members that know me well may be shocked to discover that I stopped smoking last New Year's Eve! As a consequence I've been out and about more often...practising the walking.

One of my favourite haunts is by the river Trent where I enjoy looking for the signs and remnants of the once vibrant port, shipyards, docks, industry and architecture demolished and eradicated between the 1960s and the present. The local council and its planning department have done more damage than the Luftwaffe ever managed. My local heritage association has quite a large repository of photographs of the area in its heyday which I find both fascinating and useful. But...obviously the images are not in colour. The very old photographs that feature a skyline of masts from schooners, keels and sloops I know the colours, but the more modern images from the 1950s onwards I'm stumped as to the colours of the various vessels.

Below are two images of Watson's shipyard. The first taken in the 1920s and the second in the late 1950s. The buildings are still there and still in use although the slipway has now gone and the buildings no longer used to build ships and boats. In the foreground of the second image is a vessel. What type of vessel is it and what colour would it have been?

Watsons Shipyard.jpg

Watsons Shipyard From Bowling Green Road.jpg

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The port of Norwich has undergone a similar transformation. As indeed has its outlying areas. Thorpe St Andrew, Postwick, Salhouse, Rackheath. 

The architect's vision of the future with thier picturesque graphics of a future utopia bare little or no resemblance to actuality.

The waterside of Norwich once herald as one of the most exciting areas in Western Europe for development.  Equal to the waterside at Cape Town, well perhaps a little ambitious, however, what did we get? Messrs Bodgit and Scarper I'm afraid.

I fear the future will be a reflection of the present.

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It is a real shame that the waterside area of Norwich has been wasted. What have we got, a Morrisons and an out of town shopping area situated in the heart of the city that should have been used for tourism and to attract people from all over Europe.

A marina in the style of those seen in many parts of Europe, or dare I say it even Ipswich, with bars restaurants and entertainment, would have been a real asset for the city and the east of England, but the best we can offer is the shabby yacht station. Such a wasted opportunity.

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The East Norwich Regeneration currently being worked on by the City Council could include a Marina & a Mooring Basin though all in fairly early stages though much of the site along the riverside are old Colman factories which have to be retained however it now seems accepted that the City must not turn its back on the river any more.


The redevelopment of the former long abandoned Eastern Electricity building further up stream has attracted some strong objections.


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Colours: Maybe something that would once have been tar or pitch, interspersed with liberal streaks of rust. 

Norwich redevelopment: It seems that everything these days is subservient to the great god Housing, so I wouldn't be holding my breath with regard to fancy moorings. 

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If it is approved there will be fancy moorings, but not for  the majority, just the so called elite. There might be a small number of moorings for the rest so that the planning approval can get through, but that will be about all.

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1 hour ago, Heron said:

If it is approved there will be fancy moorings, but not for  the majority, just the so called elite. There might be a small number of moorings for the rest so that the planning approval can get through, but that will be about all.

I wish I could share your optimisem Heron. History tells it will not.


There will be nothing for the boating visitor, nothing for the boat owner, nothing for those folk  of Norwich who wish to sit in a boutique restaurant or public house with grass, with tree's with an ambience of well-being. A place of refuge, an escape from the mundane. 

A place where people relax and enjoy.

The Wensum in the centre of Norwich deserves more than the exploitation of builders and speculative companies and organisations,and so do we!


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