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The Broads - then & now

Guest plesbit

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Let's get the ball rolling on this one.

The idea here is to try to take some old photographs of Broadland areas, visit the locations in 2008 and 2009, and try to re-create those pictures as closely as possible so we can see how things have changed, or in some cases not, over time.

So let me start by appealing to everyone who has some classic Broads shots to post them to this thread. I now Barry has posted some on his "Where am I?" threads and Clive has posted many on the general picture threads but unfortunately they are all scattered about and mixed in amongst modern day shots - hence this thread. For people like Clive, Barry and others who have posted old shots elsewhere it would be helpful if you could re-post those that you would like to see re-created to this thread.

This thread is open to anyone and everyone with old shots, even shots from 10 years ago will be old enough so don't be afraid to post. Just please follow these guidelines:

1. Only post shots from 1998 or before.

2. Give as much detail as possible about the location (and direction) of the shot. It doesn't matter how good it is, we cannot re-create it if we don't know where it was taken!

3. Please give the year of the shot if known or an approximate time frame if not.

I really hope this works because I'd love to print off a load of these old shots and set off in the car when the weather is right to see about doing a modern day version. Obviously, anyone is free to do the same at their leisure and the modern shots can then be posted in this thread as well along side the old ones for comparison.

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Simon ( Plesbit ) as requested some pictures from the 50s/60s scanned from slides so not that good, in fact the origionals are not that good.

Woodpecker was launched at Wayford Marine, which eventually became Windboats I think. I love the wooden greased ways across the grass to the river.

Swan craft I don't know it now, changed a little from the 60s I would imagine.

Irstead church taken from Shoals Cottage back garden, not changed at all, just the trees bigger I would guess.

The two black and whites just facinating Mike Barnes has the one of White Moth and is doing some research on it, she has a boom in the photo which did have for a while, also she does not have all port holes, but evidently they were put in when she was rebuilt by Colin Facey in the 80s. She was in hire longer than any other wherry, right up into the 60s.

The Ferry Inn Freehouse in 1938 before the Germans bombed it, with the ferry in it's dock and my mother stood outside looking at the water.






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So what have we here.

Womack not really changed except the explosion of private boats has reduced moorings on the staithe and the un quay headed bank where picture is taken from.

Thurne dyke has changed probably less than anywhere else, apart from the shop going and the large green Lacons sign at the mouth of the dyke.

In contrast the stretch of river in Horning has changed completely Banhams gone Percivals gone Southgates main yard gone only Southgates Lower Street yard (NBYC) remains :(

Shoals Cottage changed very little from the front different colour I believe, I must go and look.

Another of the Ferry in 1938, with a stunning 3 litre Bently in the car park and one of Leo Robinsons' Eagles and Jack Powles Wendy moored on front.






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Thanks Jonny

Simon I have literally hundreds of photos of the Broads from 1928 through to the present day, although the seventies are not represented. If you are going to go out and about by car camera in hand do let me know and we can meet, secondly I guess some kind of directional plan would be needed, so if you could let me know where you are going I could bring the origional photo with me for reference. The only problem I can forsee is that many were taken from a boat, I don't have one and I believe you are also boatless at present.

What say you.

Some to be going on with. cheers




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I am definitely up for that Barry. Anyone else wishing to join in is also welcome to do so - I did have brief discussions with Mark about doing some shooting together (as we live in adjacent villages) but I think he's fairly busy just now and has not yet responded to the photography walk threads either.

The plan had been to print off these shots and take copies with me on any such trip - hence why I wanted to collect them all together in one place first off, then I could just rattle through this thread printing stuff off. I hope no-one at work is planning to use hte photocopier once I get started with these! :)

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Hi Simon

It's a fun project to undertake .... I've done the same thing myself for Broadland Memories as it is fascinating to see just how much Broadland has changed over the years ... or hasn't in some cases!

I do the same thing, print off lots of old pictures to take out with me and try to recapture the same scene as it is now. It's not quite as straightforward as it seems at first though as it can sometimes be very difficult to get the right angles .... especially when old buildings have gone or, in the case of the Bridge Inn at Acle, appear to have moved!! That one still has me puzzled as it now seems to be much further back from the river - I can only assume that part of the river was re-claimed when they built the current road bridge. The other awkward aspect is trying to work out exactly what lens (focal length) was used on the original too as, obviously, that too can make a big difference to how the scene appears.

I tend to take lots of photos of the scene, from slightly different angles and with different focal lengths, usually allowing for being able to crop in on my photo to get as near as match as possible to the original. I still then get home and find that I haven't got it quite right!!

It is also surprising that I already had modern day versions of some of the old photos by accident .... or maybe not, as I guess a photogenic scene will always be that, and there are probably hundreds of identical shots in everyones photo albums! The most fascinating comparisons on my site are of a "Then, then, then & Now" where I found I had four photos of the view looking downstream from Wroxham Bridge which span 100 years. The first c1900 is at the very birth of the hire industry, it then moves on 30 years when the boom had just begun and the boatyards were springing up along the banks, thirdly on to the heyday of the 1960s and then the scene today. I think it's probably one of the areas of Broadland which has seen the most changes over the years.

You can find my efforts on the link below ..... hope that it's OK to post this on here?


As I said, it's a really interesting thing to do and I look forward to seeing them!


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You can find my efforts on the link below ..... hope that it's OK to post this on here?


As I said, it's a really interesting thing to do and I look forward to seeing them!


Welcome to the Site Carol, theres no problem at all with posting links to your site, I hope its also in the Broadland Links area. ;)

As its a fantastic site, dedicated to The Norfolk Broads :) everyone should know about it :):clap

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OK here we go in no particular order Horning through the years, in reverse order last picture first.

Firstly looking towards the mill holiday home on the bend before the Ferry Inn. Notice the complete lack of buildings. The photographer was almost certainly standing on the end of the piece of land that Chumley & Hawkes houseboats were moored on, see next photo.

Twenty years later 1958 these are the house boats I refered to before, so the previous photo was taken from roughly where the fisherman is standing but looking to YOUR right.

Spud bashing 1938 style, on the roof of Mermaid the house boat, some things don't change much do they. This is loking towards Horning village, in fact probably taken from the same spot as the first one but facing the other way. The second dyke behind him is the one that nowdays has the fellow who makes covers and the boat sales at its end.

This next one is agaoin standing in more or less the same place but looking up river towards the village, the cruiser moored on the far bank is pretty well opposite the house called Langton and where they are or have been building that new house.

finally or firstly whichever you prefer this from 1963 shows Aviemore in the dyke in question, now that has changed and in my opinion quite definitely for the worse, progress ? :shocked






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Hi Carol,

Good to hear from you. I admit I'd completely forgotten about your site - so thanks for the nudge. Brian's right, of course, it should go in the links area too.

I don't have time to go through all of your site just now but I'll certainly have a much better look over the next few days. I'm disappointed that my idea wasn't original though - I thought it was! ;) Still, very interesting to hear from someone who has already done it and I really hadn't thought about how difficult it might be to match the focal length and point of origin. I assumed it would just be a case of find the right angle, zoom to approximately the same and push the button but I guess the way the image is displayed in the lens will adjust as you run through the focal range of a lens, even if you counter the overall frame by moving your feet to compensate.

Sounds like it will be quite a challenge!

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Hey Simon .... I don't think that it was an original idea when I came up with it either so don't be too disappointed! ;)

I also thought that it would be a straightforward task of pointing and shooting when I started .... I was wrong!! As Barry has mentioned, trying to recapture those taken from a boat on the water is extremely difficult indeed, but it is a good challenge...... even if you do get strange looks as you cruise past the same building for the 20th time with your camera, just trying to get that perspective just right!

P.S. You don't need to wade through the whole site ... the link above will take you straight to the Then & Now section of the archive. I've only managed to capture about 20 comparison shots so far and have been working on the project all year!


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The three arched bridge in your picture was believed to have been built c1830 - it was replaced by the single span concrete bridge you can see in the postcard on the link below (third one down) in 1931. The current bridge replaced that one in 1997 after it was found to be subsiding due to the increase in heavy traffic. Whether the ghost that used to dangle from the old stone bridge got transferred with the subsequent rebuilds is unclear!!



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Thought you might find this interesting!

If you find yourself on the bridge that spans the river Bure in the village of Acle on the 7th of April, it is said that you will discover a pool of blood, which would not have been there the night before.

This pool of blood has two possible contenders for its origin, both of whom met their end on the bridge.

The first was a brute of a man, who according to legend was both a swindler and a murderer, the other, a man who killed the first for reasons of revenge.

John Burge was a corn chandler who lived hereabouts in times past, a corn chandler was a person who dealt in corn and meal. Burge lived with his wife and children in a house close to the bridge in Acle.

He was known as a man who cheated his customers, beat his wife and starved his children. So it will come as no surprise that he eventually went to far and killed his long suffering wife. He was brought to trial in Norwich for her murder but was acquitted, as he had bribed the local doctor to say that his wife had died of a heart attack.

Though I have never heard of a heart attack causing sever bruising and contusions to the body. Discolorations as would have been made by a length of pipe, like the one hidden behind the cabinet in Joshia Burges kitchen. But whatever the state of the body Joshia Burge was declared innocent of the murder of his wife and released. But the story does not end there. Joshia wife had a brother who hearing that Burge had been acquitted decided to meet out justice for his poor dead sister himself.

On the 7th of April he lay in wait for Burge on the bridge at Acle. Burge who had been in Great Yarmouth on business did not get back to the village until late in the evening. As Burge walked across the bridge the brother of his dead wife leapt up and wrestled him to the ground. He then took out a huge butchers knife from his pocket and cut Burges throat from ear to ear.

Burges blood gushed out spraying the brother and the stonework of the bridge, before finally coming to rest in a pool around Burges dead body. Realising that the police would probably suspect him of the deed the brother decided to make his way to Great Yarmouth and take ship, leaving England's shores. Unfortunately after the body was discovered the police accused another man for Burge's murder. This man had been cheated by Burge in a business deal and had threatened to get even. This poor unfortunate was tried, convicted and sentenced to hang for Burges murder.

Some years later the brother returned to England and pretended surprise upon hearing of his brother-in-laws death. As the anniversary of Joshia Burges death approached the brother had an irrisasistable urge to visit the bridge in Acle where he had done the dastardly deed. So it was that he found himself on the bridge on the very night where years earlier he had sliced through the sinews of Burges throat. As he peered over the side of the bridge into the murky waters below a shadowy figure materialized out of nowhere, a figure made more of mist and marsh fog than flesh and bones which crept towards him.

The next morning the townsfolk found the brothers body dangling over the side of the bridge with a rope around what remained of his neck which had been severed as if by a large butchers knife. Some say the shadowy spectre was that of Joshia Burge others that it belonged to the innocent man who had been hung for Burges murder. Either way on the anniversary of the original murder a pool of blood appears on the bridge and some even report seeing a shadowy figure. Though whose blood it is, Joshia Burge or the murdered wifes dead brother who can say.

So if you find yourself on the bridge on or around the 7th of April have a care where you tread. And for those of you passing underneath the bridge on your way to the Broads, the drip drip drip you hear may not contain rainwater. The bridge can be found just outside Acle town centre on the Acle to Caister road, though it is not the original bridge, but a replacement, which however does not appear to deter the haunting.

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how did they demolish the old one and build the new one keeping river and road trafic flowing.

Errr ..... pass!

We had a good look round in May whilst watching the 3RR as I was still puzzling about the fact that the pub main building is now much further back from the river's edge. Set quite a way back from the curent quay heading in the lawn, we discovered the remains of what appears to be the old one .... complete with a couple of mooring rings still in place.


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Hi Carol

loving the site all the pics of the wooden boats warms your heart stunning :trophy:trophy

Hi Barry

love the pics

you must have had a fantastic time when you was younger people would have loved to have been born then ( ME )

Jonny :wave:wave

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The Swan Hotel over the time it has stood looking up the Bure has really changed very little although all around it has changed dramatically.

The first picture is taken probably from the staithe rather than the Swan moorings. The large thatched building was Southgates Main Yard and stood where the (new) houses with moorings now stand. The HSC is just out of shot to the right. Please forgive my small older brother, he has not changed at all in the intervening years, still playing the fool, bless ;)

The only difference between the next four photos I think is the white building to the left more or less where the NBN awards were held is missing in the 80s picture. I always remember the Swan as rather a dour place and it has taken many years to shake that feeling.

Stupid boy I have just remembered that in the 60s they altered the ground floor frontage to what it is in the 80s photo, of course it has again changed with the latest revamp. Interesting cheers






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