“Five boys [between 8 and 11] were summoned by the contractor for the railway works at Acle. … Owing to their youth the Chairman gave the boys a very severe talking to, and also their mothers.”As with this example, extracts from old newspapers can not only be illuminating, but also humourous. But sometimes such reports can seem rather cold – from the Lynn News, 1923:
“TRAGEDY AT ACLE: On Tuesday evening a young woman … jumped in front of an incoming train at Acle and was killed. … Deceased was badly cut above the face and an arm was severed.”
The river and bridge have been an important part of Acle, and probably the early reason for a settlement here. Acle Memories includes advertisements for several of the boatyards based here, and also documents the history of the bridge, which has been replaced several times in the last 200 years. In 1830 the Norwich Mercury carried an invitation to tender for ‘alterations to Acle Bridge’. The resulting three arch stone bridge lasted well, but in 1906 the Eastern Evening News reported “The County Surveyor reported that there appeared to be something wrong with the foundations of the piers of Acle Bridge“. In the 1930s a new single arch bridge was built, but the Lynn News announced: “ACLE BRIDGE COLLAPSES. MEN THROWN INTO THE WATER” – but it was the old bridge that had collapsed and there were only minor injuries.
Sheila has brought together all the extracts to tell the stories of the many buildings, people, businesses and organisations of Acle. This is a fascinating and entertaining insight into the life and history of a Broadland town.