Monday, 25 July 2011

A close shave on the Yare

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
I’D OFTEN wondered what happened to smaller craft when huge great coasters came up the Yare in the old days. Did steam give way to sail? No chance, if this cracking photo from Bryan Read’s collection is anything to go by. I think this one was taken at Postwick, So are they the Frostbites sailing club in action and, more importantly, how on earth did these young sailors survive in one piece? 

Saturday, 23 July 2011

When coasters came up to Norwich

WHAT would today’s residents of the riverside apartments make of a vessel like this mooring outside their fourth floor window? It’s RJ Read’s in the background on the River Wensum in Norwich. And the photo is one of a number kindly loaned to me by Bryan Read. Bryan tells me this shot probably dates back to the late 1960s and was a very rare example of a Norwegian ship docking in the city. P9190155
It certainly feels like a bygone era compared to today’s gentrification of the area. (see right).Yes, Carrow, Novi Sad and the Lady Julian are all swing bridges of various kinds, but no, they don’t have to open very often and no, you never see anything remotely cargo-ish charting these waters any more. (Even if they could get under the Postwick Viaduct, further down river.) But this photo and many more will certainly find a good home in my" “Riverside Norwich” book.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Costessey: Hill Road in the 1940s

Hill Road, Costessey 1940s

I LEARNT a bit more about Costessey’s “shantytown” on Friday – from three gentlemen who are old enough to remember the ramshackle collection of prefabs that sprung up on the old Jerningham estate after the First World War. This photo (leant to me by one of the three, Roy Howard) actually shows one of the more developed streets. Elsewhere, in areas like Ashtree Road and Grove Avenue people were living in converted railway carriages; such was the shortage of more suitable housing. “It was a poor area,” confirmed Roy, “and in the early years it had a bad reputation too. You could buy a plot of land for £50 and move out here, so people did. The roads were just tracks and you’d have to get your water from a water pump. But gradually over the years the shacks disappeared and the houses and bungalows went up instead.” Indeed these days you have to be 65+ to remember a time when New Costessey was anything other than a respectable Norwich suburb.