An exploration of the maritime tradition of East Anglia.
Agriculture; Industrial / Sponsored Film; Portrait of a Place
Scenes of the ports at Ipswich, Yarmouth and Kings Lynn, showing the Customs House. The first theme of the film is fishing. A sequence shows a crab boat at Sea Palling and a shot of 'Peggotey's Hut' illustrates the commentator's point, taken from Daniel Defoe, that the people of the area depended on wrecks for building material. At Kings Lynn the film shows the fisher fleet landing mussels, most of which will be exported to France. There are street scenes of contemporary Kings Lynn and the commentary offers a brief history of the Port. This is followed by a long sequence taken from Never And Always about the Davies family, their fishing business and their connections with the Cromer lifeboat. (Norfolk, 1977, Never And Always.)
Cromer is shown as an example of a port that operated from the beach without a jetty. There are shots back to the town from the sea, showing the pier and the Church. Stills show coal boats pulling up on the beach and modern film shows the tracks in the cobbled hill, where the coal carts were pulled up to the warehouse. The crab boats are filmed at work at sea and then return to the shore where they are hauled from the water. The crabs are washed and dressed and a fisherman mends a crab pot. Richard Davies and his wife talk about their life, fishing and running a wet fish shop. Richard Davies also talks about his other involvement with the sea; as coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat. He is the fourth generation of his family to cox the lifeboat. (Henry Blogg was a step-brother to the Davies's.) There is film of the lifeboat out on exercise.
There are shots of the Lowestoft fish market and auction and then Archive footage of 'fleeting' taken from Deep Sea Fisheries. (North Sea, 1925, Deep Sea Fisheries.) This shows a fleet of trawlers working in the Dogger Bank area, the shots being filmed from a moving boat. The sequences show the men hauling in the catch by steam winch. Several scenes show the extremely hazardous operation of transferring the catch to a carrier boat by rowing boat. Maritime East Anglia. The second theme is that of boat building. There are scenes from a shipyard at Lowestoft (East Anglia, c. 1952, East Anglia.) and then shots from Brooks Marine and the launch of HMAV 'Ardennes' by HRH Princess Alice. (Lowestoft, 1976, The Royal Launch.)
The next sequence shows traditional shipbuilding methods in use at the Nottage Institute at Wivenhoe. This scene shows a woman boat builder. The commentary explains that there have been a number of women boat builders, including one at Yarmouth at the beginning of the 19th Century. The next theme of the film is that of maritime safety and there is a sequence showing the pilot service at Harwich. (Harwich, Essex, 1977, The Pilot Service.) Roland Jacques, a pilot, describes the process of bringing a large passenger ferry into Parkeston Quay. The film shows him on the bridge and the ferry docking. There are contemporary shots of Harwich. These show the Redoubt fort, built as part of Britain's sea defences. This was undergoing restoration by the Harwich Society.
Lord Nelson is East Anglia's local hero. A short sequence devoted to his memory, shows Burnham Thorpe, his birthplace, and Les Winter, the landlord, inside the Lord Nelson public house. There are shots of the jetty at Great Yarmouth and interior shots of the Maritime Museum showing some of the exhibits that relate to Nelson. The sequence ends with a shot of the Nelson Memorial over the port. This links with the next feature, the Port of Yarmouth. Contemporary shots show how the mainstay of the port is for supply ships to the oil and gas industries and then the film highlights Yarmouth's past glory, the herring industry, showing scenes from the 1930s shot aboard a Yarmouth boat that was moored at North Shields. (North Shields, Northumberland, 1930s, Drifting.) The drifters are shown alongside the jetty in the crowded harbour. The boat is unloaded and repairs are carried out on deck. It leaves the harbour and heads for the fishing ground. The men work on board. The log-line is set. Once at the fishing grounds the crew cast the nets. A diagram shows how these settle in the sea. There are about 1 1/2 miles of net. From 8.30pm, the crew can relax and sleep. A tattooed crewman sleeps in his bunk. At 1am, hauling starts. The men are on deck in oil skins, hauling in the nets and shaking out the fish. The boat heads for harbour. At the Fish Quay in Yarmouth, fisher girls from Scotland clean, gut and pack the herring. (Yarmouth, Norfolk, 1935, Scotch Fisher Girls At Yarmouth.) There are interior scenes from the Maritime Museum at Lowestoft and interior and exterior scenes of a smokehouse in Lowestoft showing the kippers being taken down.
A sequence about piers, docks and lifeboats shows scenes of the tourist attractions on Clacton Pier. (Colchester, Essex, 1975, Holidays In Essex.) Clacton Pier is shown out of season and there are shots of Walton Pier, that shelters the lifeboat, moored at sea. There are scenes of Southend Pier with its electric railway. (Southend, Essex, 1948, Rolling Along.) Barges sail along the coast. (Southend, Essex, 1969, Southend-On-Sea Golden Jubilee.) There are shots of the quay at Mistley, showing a barge loading and a sequence showing Ipswich docks. (East Anglia, c. 1952, East Anglia.) There is a shot of a coaster going through Carrow Bridge in Norwich and a sequence of the wherry 'Albion' sailing on the Broads. There are stills showing the interior where the crew would have lived.
We see the wreck of the 'Jonet' at Mundesley (Mundesley, Norfolk, 1969, Shipwreck) and a shot of the memorial to the Wells lifeboat crew, most of whom were killed during a rescue in 1880. There are early colour shots of the tug 'United Service' towing a disabled barge into Yarmouth in 1938 (Yarmouth, Norfolk, 1938, Dufay Colour: Yarmouth Tug.) followed by the barge 'Hibernia' ashore at Cromer in 1937. (Cromer, Norfolk, `937, For Those In Peril.) The Cromer No. 2 lifeboat, 'Harriet Dixon' is launched from the beach in 1934. (Cromer, Norfolk, c. 1951, Cromer.) and a scenes from 'Gale Warning' shows the Cromer lifeboat and the coastguard c. 1950. (Cromer, 1956, Gale Warning.) This sequence includes a shot of the former coxswain Henry Blogg. The lifeboat Arthur and Ruby Reed is launched from the pier and there are also shot of an inshore lifeboat and helicopter. Maritime East Anglia.
The final sequence shows the Smith brothers, Mathew, Mark and Luke, on the beach at Southwold. (Southwold, Suffolk, c. 1927, Old Salts Of Southwold.) Luke mends the nets and there is a shot of the three of them leaning on their boat, looking out to sea. The crew of the Kessingland lifeboat are filmed in the market place at Southwold, where they had come to see their fellow townsman, Henry Smith, receive the gold medal of the Royal Humane Society and the freedom of the Borough of Southwold. (Southwold, Suffolk, 1927, Presentation of the Freedom of the Borough to Mr. H.E. Smith, Southwold, April 28th, 1927.) We see Felixstowe dock, shot from an excursion train in 1976 and finally Frank Taylor, the harbourmaster at Wells, piloting a coaster. These final shots show beautiful dawn scenes of the estuary at Wells. (Harwich, Essex, 1977, The Pilot Service.)
HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester; Henry Blogg ; Bob Davies, fisherman ; Judy Davies ; Richard Davies, fisherman and coxswain of the Cromer Lifeboat; James Hart, fisherman; Ronald Jacques, pilot; Mathew Smith); Mark Smith) fishermen; Luke Smith); Frank Taylor, harbourmaster, Wells ; Les Winter, publican; Maritime East Anglia.
Harwich Society; Brook Marine Ship builders, Lowestoft; Norfolk Wherry Trust; Nottage Institute, Wivenhoe; RNLI
Launching HMAV 'Ardennes', Lowestoft
The Lord Nelson Public house, Burnham Thorpe; Clacton Pier ; The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Cromer ; Cromer Pier; The Redoubt Fort, Harwich; The Customs House, Kings Lynn; Maritime Museum, Lowestoft; Carrow Bridge, Norwich; Southend Pier; Walton Pier; Maritime Museum, Yarmouth