WMT Archive Afternoon

On Saturday 18th November 2017

historic wherry picture

a Wherry Maud Trust Archive Afternoon
was held at Acle Church Hall.

Approximately 33 members and non members attended and during the afternoon had the opportunity to listen to presentations given by Geoff Doggett, Thelma Waller, Linda Pargeter and Martin Carruthers. The presentations were accompanied by slide shows.

Geoff’s talk touched on many aspects of early transport in the Waveney Valley and suggested further topics to investigate regarding water transport. His slides of photographs from the Hobrough collection in the Bridewell Museum were particularly interesting. J.S. Hobrough, the river contractor, had a fleet of wherries and owned Maud between 1919 and 1940. The Hobrough collection comprises a unique collection of photographs detailing the projects that the firm undertook using largely manual labour and machinery that looks primitive to our modern eyes.

Linda spoke about the art of the Rev David Poole, a royal portrait artist, who had collaborated with his friend Ted Ellis, the well known local naturalist, and had produced beautifully illustrated books on the Broads area. Sketches of groups of wherries were shown and Thelma read a Ted Ellis poem about the last days of the trading wherries. The poem was actually dedicated by Ted Ellis to J.S. Hobrough.

After tea, coffee and delicious cakes baked by members, there were two further talks.

Linda gave an outline of what is known about skippers of Maud and appealed for help in tracing descendants of some of them. She showed photographs of a few and gave a list of names that need further investigation.

The final talk was given by Martin, the Wherry Maud Trust volunteer archivist. He has been cataloguing and scanning documents, postcards, photos and diaries. He showed a selection of picture postcards mostly showing wherries, and then drew members’ attention to the social history of the messages on the back of the cards. One postcard, dated 1909, tells us that on 25 Oct 1909 King Edward VII visited Norwich, accompanied by his Secretary of State for War, Lord Haldane.  Martin did some research and found that the purpose of the visit was to lay a foundation stone for an extension of the Norfolk and Norwich hospital. But why was he accompanied by the Secretary of State for War? One question always leads to another.