Saturday 12 February 2011

Video reveals life on the Broads in 1930s

Video reveals life on the Broads in 1930s

Another wonderful find thanks to the tireless efforts of a devoted archivist, who has uncovered these delightful cine films of a family's holidays on the Norfolk Broads in the early 1930s.

Even this 3½-minute clip contains myriad delights, some sadly long since vanished but others seemingly unchanged from today, so what unseen attractions the whole 45 minutes must contain one can scarcely imagine. I suppose I'll have to buy the DVD to find out!

Then again, I have a rough idea as a lot of my family reside in Norfolk and we went on a tour of the Broads ourselves back in the mid-90s (note to self: must go back again soon!). So a lot of the places featured in this clip I am familiar with, places like Oulton Broad, Stokesby and Wroxham (the bridge at Wroxham, from 2:38 in the film, I have gone both over and under on more than one occasion!).

As I've said some of the things have long since vanished such as the row-boats laden with hay and the hand-cranked water pumps, not to mention the working drainage windmills. Yet on the other hand, as the article mentions, parts of the film contain footage that those of us who know the area would still recognise.

In fact, this has spurred me to dig out some old photographs that I took at the time of our Broads holiday and to which, using my [very] limited knowledge of Photoshop, I have attempted to approximate the same Thirties look. You can see them dotted about this post, and I hope you agree that some haven't turned out too badly and that they give a good idea of what I mean when I say that some aspects of the Broads have changed little in 80 years.

The Norfolk archivist, Mrs Carol Gingell, who came into possession of these films is to be commended for creating a valuable collection of local historic images and for taking such good care of this important footage by seeing that it is preserved on DVD for others to enjoy. It has certainly brought back happy family holiday memories for me, as well as enchanting me with excerpts of brilliant Thirties living and another generation's enjoyment of the same trip.


  1. Just joined your blog. Love the look and style and will definitely be back!

  2. I cleaned boats on the Broads one summer! My favourites were the ones with proper wooden interiors. My least favourites, needless to say, were any that had been taken out by stag parties.

    Norfolk people do have a string sense of their heritage - the rural life museum at Gressenhall is another nice place to visit.

  3. I love the Norfolk Broads -I too have made a note to self to return there soon! Thanks for sharing that footage :)


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