Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Who saved what?

Carrying on from the previous two threads about the change in the inland waterways from a commercial to a leisure use. Other people could certainly lay claim albeit in a loose way to helping to save the canals from complete closure.

Boating has always been done along the coastline of the UK. However, the public's real interest in inland boating holidays was nurtured quite early on the Norfolk Rivers and Broads. The Broads have been a boating holiday destination since the late 19th century. In 1878 small yachts were already available to hire from John Loynes. What was needed at that time was someone to come along and bring this leisure activity to the masses.

Harry Blake (Blakes holidays) published the first Blakes Holiday Boating Brochure in 1908. The first catalogue of Yachts and Wherries for Hire listed 43 sailing yachts from over a dozen boat yards. The range of boats expanded to include powered cruisers in the 1930s. In 1945 Harry Blake retired at the age of 65 and the agency was sold to the boat owners.
Around this time Hoseason set up the rival Broadland Owners Association at Oulton Broad which helped further expand the ever growing interest in the holiday boating industry. People of a certain age will remember the adverts in the newspapers and on TV for Hoseason's holidays afloat.
This also ties in with holiday boating in the lake district.  The children's novels "Coot Club" and "The Big Six" (1930's) by Arthur Ransome (who was noted for his childrens books set in lake district) are both set on the Norfolk Broads.

Inland Hire cruisers Ltd at  Rowton Bridge was established in 1935 by David Wain, one of the pioneers of canal hire cruising in this country, and was one of the earliest hire boat companies operating on the canal system. This preceedes Rolt and his cruise on Cressy by several years.


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