Working and life on the Norfolk Broads in the late 19th Century

My pal Malcolm Woods has just found a new online collection of Victorian photographer Peter Henry Emerson’s atmospheric shots depicting the Norfolk Broads.

They’re stunning – though I can’t help that despite the dreamy tranquility they do seem to depict a hard and narrow-looking sort of life. There would be work and the struggle of getting by all week and on Saturday, of course – and then on Sunday there would other duties for many, often listening to fiery sermons in the chapel.

When novelist LP Hartley wrote: ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there,’ he could so easily have been writing about these folks.

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