Thursday, 21 January 2010
Wherryman's Way Ferries: RIP
YESTERDAY'S post on Reedham Ferry got me thinking about the other ferries that have fallen by the wayside. I make it 12 in total for the area covered by the Wherryman's Way. To my knowledge all but three were passenger ferries. Only Reedham, Surlingham Ferry House and Buckenham Ferry carried vehicles - they were called "Horse Ferries" in the old days. During research for the book I came across references up and down the Yare and the Wensum. This might not be a complete list, but it's a start.
Wensum (downstream of Foundry Bridge)
C Wright's Boatbuilders, near St Ann's Wharf, Norwich
Ferry Boat Inn, Norwich
Near Alan Road, Norwich
Whitlingham to Thorpe St Andrew
Woods End to Postwick
The Ferry House, Surlingham to Postwick (pictured)
Coldham Hall, Surlingham to Brundall
Buckenham Ferry (Carleton St Peter to Buckenham)
Langley to Cantley
Langley Round House to Cantley Sugar Factory
Upper Ferry, Yarmouth Southtown to South Quay
Lower Ferry, Yarmouth Gorleston to South Denes Road
Now only Reedham Ferry survives. It was already "The Last of the Norfolk Horse Ferries" when James Wentworth Day wrote a piece for Country Life magazine in September 1949. There were no engines then, everything had to be done by hand:
"Arthur Benns. although past his seventieth birthday, thinks nothing of cranking twenty or thirty tons of dead weight across the river, sometimes with the tide running strongly and an easterly wind off the marshes cutting like a razor."
A tough life, no doubt.