Rescue Wooden Boats celebrates its second birthday

Norfolk’s Rescue Wooden Boats has just celebrated its second birthday and published the latest edition of its newsletter – and there is lots of news to share.

The first phase of the visitor centre just beyond the High Sands Campsite office at Greenway Stiffkey (NR23 1QP) is now open at weekends from 10:30am to 4:30pm for the summer. On display are films, photos and artefacts, and the restoration work going on in the workshop on the lifeboat and Dunkirk veteran Lucy Lavers. George Hewitt and Ben Riches have been fitting a new centreboard, and David Hewitt is working her canopy.

Rescue Wooden Boat’s online collection has now reached 80 short films and sets of photographs that provide an insight into the lives of the people who crewed the boats and used them to make livings through them using them.

Built by Billy May in 1974, the Norfolk crab boat Pegasus has been in Scotland for about 15 years in the hands of Bernard Thain.

During this time she has earned her keep supplying their restaurant and farm shop with seafood, but Bernard and family have decided to give Pegasus to the Rescue folks, and she arrived home in July.

See the Rescue Wooden Boats newsletter here.

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Now and Then 1979 – lifeboatman and local fisherman Shrimp Davies talks about life and work at Cromer

Now and Then film Shrimp Davies

The East Anglian Film Archive has some cracking stuff. Here’s a 1979 film in which local fisherman and legendary lifeboatman Shrimp Davies talks about life and work around the beaches of Cromer in Norfolk, and finishes up with some singing and stepdancing in a favourite pub. We’ve seen the last bit before, but the rest is new and it’s all interesting.

Here’s how the archive describes the short film:

‘Shots of the streets of Cromer, guided by Henry ‘Shrimp’ Davies. He shows Cromer town centre, Bob Davies’ Crab Shop, and the bust of lifeboatman Henry Blogg. He walks down to the beach to the crab boats which gives clear views of Cromer and its major buildings, including the Church and the Pier. A stills sequence, compares various scenes of Cromer in the 1970s with how they appeared in 1890. There seems to have been very little change. An interesting feature from this sequence are the bathing machines sitting on the beach. Crab boats are winched onto a trailer and then pulled up the beach by tractor and the crabs unloaded. There are shots of children playing on the beach and of a Punch and Judy man setting up. Concludes with shots of the interior of the Bath Hotel. Fisherman are singing and step-dancing to the accompaniment of Percy Brown on the accordion.’

I’d call that accordion a melodeon, but it’s still a great thing…

Btw, I love this photo of Blogg.

While we’re looking at the EAFA’s material, there’s a fabulous piece of 1902 footage showing herring drifters returning to port and Scottish fisher lassies on the Great Yarmouth’s quays, and a 1930s piece showing bad weather at Clacton in Essex – including a paddle steamer leaving Clacton Pier, probably in order to take holiday makers home to London despite the storm.