Friday 1 March 2013

Loddon: Aston before villas


IT’S only the Nissen huts on the right of the picture that help me place this scene. Everything else about Loddon Staithe is totally unrecognisable 50 years on. Both boats and buildings belonged to the company which was known as Princess Cruisers and Aston Boats. scan0020

This is 1961 as the hire boat boom was gathering pace across the Broads. And it’s one of a number of great photos lent to me by Terry Howes, whose father Ron was yard foreman in the 1950s and 1960s. Before escapes to a Spanish villa became commonplace, a two-week holiday on the Broads was a big adventure. I’d love to know how many people the industry employed in Loddon in those years. Boats are still being hired from Loddon of course. But it’s much of a niche market these days.

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