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.

Victorian photographer Peter Henry Emerson’s images of The Norfolk Broads

Emerson 2

Emerson 1 Emerson 3

This is a small sample of a larger collection of delicious photos of East Anglia taken by Victorian-era American photographer Peter Henry Emerson published this week on the 70.8% weblog.

The activities shown are catching eels and harvesting the famous Norfolk reed for use in making thatched roofs for houses and other buildings – and one shows one of the Broads’ wherries making its way along a dyke.

There are lots more to see at 70.8% so do go over to have a look!

My thanks to 70.8% weblogger Thomas Armstrong for pointing this one out via the 70.8% Facebook group.

PS – A Ward has written in to recommend Emerson’s book, which is available from Amazon. See the comment below. Needless to say, my copy is on order…