Jump to content

The Waveney Chalet Park, New Cut.


Recommended Posts

This chalet park was built and owned by the Robinson family back in the boom days of the Broads in the mid 60's. After my family's Broadland beginnings at Haddiscoe village from around 1959 to 1965, my Dad's contract as electrician to a local estate agent ended, when the property we were living in which came with th job, was sold to a private buyer, and his work took him to Galwynd in mid Wales, on a 12 bedroomed delapidated stone mansion, which was part of an estate previously owned by Geest, King and Nettlefold, the Nut and Bolt people. Thats another story for another day, and one that the fishermen would love, but back to the Broads and by this time as a family we had become passionate lovers of Broadland, and had many local friends, one of whom soon was making arrangements for us to stay in the first to be completed of these 10 chalets. They were all arranged around a central lawned area in a V shape configeration, and were built along the lines of a Cuckoo clock shape, and a mixture of wood and precast concrete construction. All had Brightly coloured front doors, very similar to what the council house styles were in many cities. They opened into a lounge with a bed settee which was vinyl covered and VERY uncomfortable to sleep on! There was a small kitchenette to one side which was very basic, but did have a small fridge. A twin Bedroom which my Gran and her sister shared, and a double room for Mum and Dad completed the scene. :)

At most you could expect to get foodwise in a pub back then was a Hot Pie or Cornish Pasty from an on-Bar heated glass display cabinet, which probably caused more Tummy upsets than a few, and which was then probably blamed on a drop of badly kept beer! :twisted:

Some pubs also had a Cold display cabinet, normally without any refrigeration, from which they sold Pork pies, Cheese and Onion or Ham and Tomato filled baps. A new fad that was starting to take off, and the beginnings of Pub Grub as we know it today, were the 'Basket' meals and Cheese Toasties. The age of electical catering equipment improvements ment that many landlords were investing in a large Deep freezer, an 'Electroway' fryer and a fast-cook infra-red grilling machine. The basket meal choice was very limited, A deep fried Chicken quarter and Chips, or something really new at the time, Deep fried Breaded Scampi and Chips, served with a wedge of lemon smuggled from behind the Bar!

As the name suggests, these were served in a woven Wicker basket, lined with a serviette, which was replaced after each use ready for the next customer. Often the toasties were just wrapped in a serviette, and were pre-prepared and frozen, just taking a quick wizz through the machine by the Bar maid before serving. Cheese, Cheese and Tomato, or Cheese and Onion were the varieties normally on offer.

The Robinson family were no exception to this and had enthusiastically installed all the necessary equipment to supply their new Chalet customers with these delicacies, and offered what must have been one of the first Broadland fast food delivery services straight to the door of your Chalet!

They also ran an onsite shop in their reception area which was ajoining their living accomodation, with a Milkshake bar and Icecream parlour, selling about 10 flavours of each, again very unusual for this era. :clap

Part two to be continued later!... The Building of the Yacht Basin, and the hire boats of Johnson's Yacht Station.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Sorry Brian that the continuation of this thread has taken so long, I forgot about it :oops: I will get part 2 posted up over the weekend, Ive just been busy with family stuff and my dear old dad that wants a Ball-Barrow for Christmas and an Oil drum to make a garden incinerator, trouble is neither can be found to buy anywhere! :)

Spent most of last weekend hunting the house out for my laptop power cable, which my 4 yr old grandson had 'borrowed' out of my bag and had taken home with him to try and get his 12v car to work :norty: kids dont you just love em! :lol: :-D

Julz :wave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Robinsons continued to enjoy success with their chalet business through the turn of the 70's and out of season often accomodated and catered for workers who were involved in repairing the Haddiscoe 'flyover' bridge, which was still suffering from subsidence and sinking causing the road surfaces to crack badly. From chatting to the engineers who were working on the bridge, and the realisation that during these Broadland 'Boom' years moorings in the area for both private and hire craft were a potential money spinner and in short supply, they decided to seek planning permission and set about creating a Yacht basin and marina on their land between the chalets and the River Waveney.

Continued below

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By 1970, they had managed to get the necessary permisions and start digging out the basin working under the guidance of the engineers and had reached the point where they were ready to break through into the main river by creating a small dyke. It had all been very expensive work, and tough going at some points due to the flint layer they had hit in the strata, which unearthed many unusual and facinating shapes of flint bolders, which i was happy to collect as a child, and disapointed that Dad refused to take my entire collection back home due to their sheer weight in his cars boot! :pirate

Due to funds running low, the final 'breach' into the river had to be delayed, and the area remained an abandoned building site for quite some time.

Along the Norfolk coast, other holiday parks were also being planned and developed around the Caister, California cliffs and Hemsby areas, and these were mostly owned by large entertainment groups such as Ladbrooks, Guiness and Rank, which had the buying power and advertising network to build cheap and reach the mass market of holiday makers with bargain opening gimmicks and prices. This situation was not good news for the smaller family owned hire firms such as the Robinsons.

continued below

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Along with many other smaller holiday parks, and following suit from the Johnsons yacht station yard who often provided dayboats to visitors to the Chalet park, with booking numbers down in the face of the new compation, the St. Olaves Chalet Park was handed over to Hoseasons to promote to a wider market, rather than relying on reputation, small adds in magazines and word of mouth that had bought in a good stream of bookings before, and by now, most of the bridge contractors who had patronised the site out of season, had gone home. The next couple of seasons the Chalets continued to thrive and make a living for the family, but the Yacht basin remained unfinished and the project somewhat abandoned, as profits simply did not meet expected targets. Around this time the birth of the cheap package holidays abroad were also drawing customers away from the idea of a British holiday in general, although holidays afloat still apeared popular and quite in vogue, with many famous personalities being spotted out enjoying the rivers.

The rivers therefore remained busy, and after watching a boat being built in the workshops at Johnsons, and after many dayboat hires from them exploring the Waveney, New cut and Yare,to celebrate my Dad's promotion at work into management, we hired our first cruiser as it was launched that year.

I will try and edit a pic and hire details from the brochure in later, sadly all Dads own Broadland pics are still on slides.

continued below

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im sorry its not very clear, and many thanks to Dan Horner who originally found it for me last year, after i had searched for it for many years, one day I hope to be able to post up some pics of me as a youngster standing on her bows during her maiden voyage around 1968. cheerscheerscheers

My Dads loft is a treasure trove of old Broadland slides, I just have to find a way to tame the dragon (aka the Wicked Stepmother) who blows fire at the mere mention of me wanting to spend an afternoon up there!

Sadly pics of my real mum, and reminders of my Dad's past before he met her seem to bring out the worst in her :twisted::twisted::twisted:

Ok more tonight folks :-D

The haddiscoe village and its pubs, the chalet park story, up to today, and the 1973 miner's strikes effects on Broadland tourism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brilliant post Juiz,

I first came to the Broads in 1958 and we stayed in Dutch Tutch (Potter Hiegham Riverside property) a converted Great Yarmouth Helter Skelter which was brought from the seafront after the war i think. (And its still there at potter looking no differebt than when i stayed there in 58) Looking forward to the next session.


:-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aww, sorry Palmtree, was it you who sent the pic to me last year? it must be me getting forgetfull in my old age lols! :oops::oops::oops::lol::lol::lol:

Glad that you are enjoying the story Red Rover, I can just about remember the 'Dutch Tutch' from my childhood, and was rather confused as to why someone had thought it better to use it as a home rather than a fairground ride, which to a child of my tender years back then was a much more attractive option! :dance

Around the same time, I can also remember an old neighbour of ours who worked for a pre-cast concrete company as a crane driver taking part in the building of the Oasis tower in Gt Yarmouth, and bringing us back free tickets for an express elevator lift to the top of the tower, where my mum was scared stiff because a strong wind was howling up there and causing quite a bit of structural movement, she couldnt wait to get back down, although the views were quite far reaching and stunning. :)

Poor Reg the neighbour got a bit of an ear bashing next time she spotted him, mum was convinced he had sent us up there before the building was complete and safe. The same guy also worked on the construction of the Wroxham precinct and Hotel complex, again inviting Dad to a tradesmans evening there with free beer and cornish pasties! :dance

Julz :santawave:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well a bit about this little mentioned Broadland village first, from around 1964. Haddiscoe is a name most people familiar with the Broads have heared mentioned before because of its connections with the New Cut, but very few have probably ever taken the hike away from the river and up into the village to sample the pubs and shops there. Back in the mid 60's, the two main pubs were the Crown Inn, run by a landlord named Jack Baxter, who was a typical friendly Norfick charicter, and allowed my Dad to use the pub's coach house to garage his car, which he also shared with loads of Coypu trapping gear and several breeding pairs of Swallows, who regularly left their calling card on the roof of my Dad's Black Wolseley 4/44, which was his pride and Joy! :naughty:

The Crown still remains today, and has been recently refurbished into a 'Sports Pub' and appears to be owned as part of a chain, judging by their logos and Menus.

Across the road was the other local pub, The Three Tunnes, which was situated with his gable end to the road. This pub was rather run down and in need of some major repairs, and in the later 60's was sold off to be demolished to make way for the building of some new homes, mainly bungalows,which remain today.

The main employers in the area were the Gravel Pit which was down the lane of the same name, which produced some fine quality flint gravel and pebbles of all sizes, and the Birds-eye pea plantation and processing plant, which was down the lane at the side of the 'Crown Inn, and is now a rather disussed farm compared to the vast activity it enjoyed in its heyday, with many wagon loads of peas and the unwanted shells exiting the site every day. The Bird scaring machines they used on site were rather like a 12-bore going off, and caused quite a few complaints at the time from the neighbours who had to endure the noise of them from dawn till dusk! :norty:

Sadly the old village shop which was once run by a Mrs Catchpole, who my Mum claimed had a very apt name due to her quite inflated prices, had long since closed down, and the building has now been converted into appartments. The old school which most village children attended still remains at Toft Monks, and attracts children from surrounding villages who mostly arrive via the school bus service.

more later..

Julz :santawave:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1973/74 was not a happy season for the small family businesses on the Broads, families were feeling the pinch in their pockets financially due to the Miners strike that had caused the three day working week. The coal fired generators were unable to get enough fuel to provide the necesary power to operate tools and machinery, bread became short due to the time the ovens could be operated, some foods were rationed including sugar, milk and butter, as the farmers struggled to milk the cows without power, and panick buying set in. Hospitals relied on the generators of icecream vans to provide emergency power, and all non urgent admissions and operations were cancelled. Shops with electrically operated tills were reduced to cranking them by hand where possible, or retorting to a pen and paper and cash box, Victorian style. Many homes were left without heat, and only candles and torches for light in the evenings, as power cuts nationwide were rife as the powerstations ran out of coal, and the birth rate the following year took a dramatic increase!

With reductions in income, and household debts such as morgauge and rent to be caught up on which were caused by it being much reduced during the strike, and with fears of a repeate situation later in the year, holidays were far to the back of most families minds. Quite a few small businesses nationwide had found the crisis too much, and had closed down with many jobs lost, and unemployment levels were running high.

Along the Norfolk coast, rows of gleaming new brick built Chalets were standing, and their owners had installed all modern convieniences, fitted kitchens and carpets, showers over the baths, and coloured bathroom suites, all things we take for granted today, but considered luxuries back then.

The site facitities were pretty impressive for the day also, they offered on site family Cafeterias, the fore runners to the fast food joints we have today, que up with your tray canteen style food sold cheaply compared to the equivalent in a local restaurant or riverside cafe, and often geared with gimmicks of a free toy or lolly for the kids when the whole family dined. They also included in the price of a weeks holiday a pass to gain entry to the onsite swimming pool and entertainment centre, all run along the lines of the 'Butlins' and 'Haven' parks of today, with some famous Stars of the era appearing in the onsite nightclub Caberet. Some even offered a Baby and Child listening service, with an illuminated 'crying baby' sign displayed beside the stage with the chalet number chalked up underneath, as to alert the parents to the fact they needed to return back and attend to their youngster.

Today that sort of situation would see the parents landed in court under the child protection acts!

Given the competitive price tag the big corprative owners were able to sell these holidays for, against the prices having to be charged by the smaller parks to cover their expenses, and the by now quite outdated look in comparison of the 'Cuckoo Clock' shape of the St. Olaves chalets, and their rather basic facilities, in what was afterall a gloryfied shed, bookings for this season were very low indeed.

At the end of this financial year, and with the now added expenses to pay for appearing in the Hoseasons brochure, and the Chalets starting to need some structural repairs and refurbishment to keep them in line with the competition in the hoilday market, plus a drop in takings from the shop and restaurant caused by the reduced custom off the river, with many boat hire cancellations having been recieved by the hire yards due to the situation, the Robinsons found themselves in financial ruin.

The yacht basin was standing as a muddy dug out hole filled with rainwater and only frequented by the local wildlife, and the tired looking chalets needed several thousands of pounds worth of upgrade work doing to bring them in line with the compatition. There was no choice left by to sell up and cut their losses, sadly from owning and running a thriving Business, the family moved into rented accommodation in Norwich, and after a couple of Christmas cards, Dad lost contact with them.

I will always remember Mrs Robinson for being such an hard working woman, we arrived for one holiday to find her handling 'turn around' day for the chalets all on her own, and scrubbing their doorsteps on her hands and knees just a fortnight after giving birth to her youngest son, Andrew James.

My Mum, being a childrens nurse, and loving babies, but unable to have anymore children after me due to the 'Rhesus factor', for which treatment is now available, took pity on her, and as a family we looked after Andrew for a few hours each day during the week so as she could get some rest. I have very fond memories of Pram pushing along the track at the side of the New cut, feeling very proud of being trusted with such a new born baby at around 12 years old!

The following year we returned to find he had grown into a happy little toddler, and was known by his second name of Jamesey, I often wonder where he is know and how life turned out for him in the end.

contd later.

contd ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.