Water Mills and Marshes

Life and Work on the Broads 1920-2020

A collection of stories, based on recorded interviews, providing a fascinating and wide ranging insight into the heritage and on-going changes of the Broads

Water Mills and Marshes
Life and Work on the Broads 1920-2020


In stock


The marshes and waterways of the Broads have attracted visitors since the mid-1800s when the railway enabled access to, what was then, a pristine paradise.

This collection of stories, based on recorded interviews, provides a fascinating and wide ranging insight into the heritage and on-going changes in this land of water, mills and marshes.

“this offering is very special and a pure joy to read.  Open the pages and you are whisked away to a wonderful world of water, meeting great characters along the way, and it will make you think about how we should treat and respect our unique part of the country.” Derek James, Eastern Daily Press – read the full review on EDP24

About WISEArchive

WISEArchive is an oral history group made up of volunteers.  We believe that people make an important contribution to the community in the course of their working lives and are  a valuable resource of knowledge and experiences which should be preserved for future generations.  We are interested in how things were done and how things change.

The Broads is a unique mix of marshes, fens, rivers and broads which attract over 7 million visitors a year, and it is the marshes and waterways that form the backdrop for this book.

We have recorded almost 100 stories over three years about life, work and change in this remarkable area and we believe that this collection provides a wonderful insight from the perspective of those involved.  Stories relate current thinking and practice, disappearing jobs and skills, restoration of mills and wherries and conservation initiatives.  They offer differing views about the issues and challenges facing this ecologically fragile world.  They also highlight the passion and connection so many feel for this special place and how many developed their particular interests as children or young people.  The stories have been edited but the words and opinions are those of the contributors.

Water Mills and Marshes – Contents


  • I am part of the marshes (1934–1950s) – Gloria Fagg
  • A wartime memory (1940s) – Tom Grapes
  • Story of an Irstead boy (1930s–1943)  Alan Cox
  • Growing up on the Broads (1942–1950s) Rex Woods
  • A child of the marshes (1947–1963) Wally Mason
  • A life in the Reedham marshes (1947–1950s) Arnold ‘Archie’ Rednall
  • Learning to swim (1950s) Keith Patterson
  • A Neatishead boy (1940s–1950s) John Horner
  • Swans in the kitchen (1950–2018) John Crohill
  • An unspoiled childhood by the Yare (1951–1960s) Julia Waters
  • A Wheatfen childhood (1953–1970s) Suzie Hanna
  • A life’s trickle: childhood (1953–1970s) Kim Dowe
  • The marshman’s daughter (1960–1976) Sue Goodchild
  • Childhood around How Hill (1954–1970) Stephen Aldred
  • It’s the little things that get destroyed (1960s–2019) Daphne Howlett
  • Living off grid in the marsh (2005–2019) Julie Williams



  • Ships great and small (1870s–1970s) Thelma Waller
  • A boatbuilding family (1908–1960s) Rex Woods
  • Hunter’s Yard history: early days (1932–1994) Tom Grapes
  • Hunter’s Yard today (1981–2018) Ian Grapes
  • The story of Bee’s Boats (1960s–2018) Trevor Beales
  • Ludham Bridge Boatyard (1970s–2016) Robert Paul
  • Changing times at Cox’s Boatyard (1990s–2019) Eric Bishop
  • Innovation in boatbuilding (1978–2018) Alan Goodchild


  • Float my boat (1954–2004) Ivor Broughton
  • The Norfolk boat builder (1944–2012) Mike Fuller
  • Sailing through work (1957–1980s) Roy Forder
  • Working on Crossbow (1974–1980) Paul Reynolds
  • Engineering: a vocation not just a job (1960s–2003) John Cooke


  • Nature in the raw (2009–2019) Geoff Doggett
  • Memories of a river man (1987–2011) Tony Risebrow
  • Bridge Master and River Inspector (1982–2006) Gerry Jarvis
  • Mariner and River Inspector (1982–1989) Mark Lockwood
  • A life on the waves: barges and coasters (1960s–2008) Robin Bowling
  • Keeping the waterways clear (1970s–2012) Victor Gosling

Boats & wherries

  • Sailing is what I do (1960s–2018) Jamie Campbell
  • Banjo restored (1985–2019) Philip Webster
  • Sailing into education (1956–1970) Leslie Gee
  • The Royall family story (1909–2019) Nigel Royall
  • My life with Wherry Maud (1979–2018) Linda Pargeter
  • The Wherry Yacht Charter story (1950–2018) Peter Bower
  • Sparkes on wherries (1840s–2019 ) Mike Sparkes
  • The Cambria (2014) Robin Bowling
  • Wherry memories (1960s–2019) Kim Dowe

Reedham Ferry

  • Life and times at Reedham Ferry (1949–2019) David Archer
  • Reedham Ferry (1958–2016) Keith Patterson


  • The mills are part of the marshes (1990s) Michael Knights
  • Thurne Mill (2002–2019) Debra Nicholson
  • Falling in love with Keswick Mill (2016–2019) Juju Vail
  • And the mill came with the house (1979–2007) Nick Prior
  • Restoring Mutton’s Mill (1975– 2017) David High
  • Mutton’s Mill (1975–2017) Paul Reynolds
  • Hardley Mill (2000–2019) Mike Stephenson
  • The millwright’s story (1944–1998) Peter Gowing
  • A passion for mills and machines (1960s–2019) Richard Seago



  • Laughter brings life to the marshes (1930s–1990s) Bill Lacey
  • Four generations of marshmen (1940s–2017) Brian Mace
  • Haddiscoe Island (2001–2006) Roy Baker
  • Best job ever out on the marshes (2011–2019) Paul Remblance
  • Cows for company (1970s–2017) Tony Clarke
  • Farmer, marshman – always animals (1961 –2018) Paul Harvey


  • The sugar beet story: farming (1944–1974) Robert Fransham
  • A Neatishead farm boy (1953–1956) John Horner
  • A marshland farmer with Scottish roots (1920s–2019) Peter Cargill
  • Farming the marshes (1932–2018) Richard Basey–Fisher
  • The doings of the Dewings (1954–2015) Richard Dewing
  • Cows, hens and holiday makers (1970–2018) David Burroughs
  • Changing times in farming (1920s –2019) Henry Alston
  • Following the cow’s tale (1984–2018) John Stafford

Animal health & knackering

  • The Norfolk animal health officer (1954 –1996) Eddie Macdonald
  • The knackerman (1969– 2004) Edgar Hoddy
  • A veterinary life (1973–2013) Roger Clarke

Reedcutting & thatching

  • My varied life: reed cutting (1951–1960s) Bernard Sheppard
  • A family in reeds and thatching (1970s–2019) Stephen Aldred
  • A man of the marshes: reed cutting (1962–2018) Wally Mason

Cantley sugar beet

  • A life in sugar beet (1989–2007) Alex Mason
  • My varied life: peas, beet & Cantley (1950s–1970) Bernard Sheppard
  • A Rednall in Cantley (1960–2003) Arnold ‘Archie’ Rednall
  • The sugar beet story: Cantley (1974–1993) Robert Fransham
  • Cantley sugar beet factory (1963–1996) Keith Patterson

Other marsh activities

  • Bringing power to the marshes (1961–1995) Kerry Berrisford
  • A farming family: barn conversions (2005–2018) Joanna Burroughs
  • Bringing the story of the Broads alive (2010–2019) Nicola Hems
  • The Norfolk potter (1999–2019) Pat Southwood
  • A man of the marshes: eels (1950s–2018) Wally Mason
  • Fishing and eeling (1950s) Mike Page
  • Norfolk from the air (1978–2019) Mike Page
  • My family and the Broads (1963–2018) Bryan Read


Coypu & mink

  • A life with introduced animals (1976–2019) Simon Baker
  • Mission impossible (1975–1989) Ivan Watts
  • Mink farm (1960s) Wally Mason
  • That gal and her dawg (1979–1989) Jennie Crohill
  • Seven years a trapper (1982–1989) Paul Frapwell

Nature reserves

  • The making of Strumpshaw Fen (1975–2000) Mike Blackburn
  • Twenty five years at Wheatfen (1992–2017) David Nobbs
  • Looking back to move forwards (2017–2019) Will Fitch
  • Introducing children to wildlife (1980s–2019) Rodger Goodrick
  • Spreading the word about wildlife (1970s–2019) Chris Durdin
  • Gamekeeper and conservationist (1960s–2015) Joe Cullum

Issues & projects

  • Shell man (1940s–2019) Derek Howlett
  • Wildlife conservation in the Broads (1950s–2019) Rodney Aldis
  • A better future for people and wildlife (2004–2019) David North
  • Preserving the fish stock (1990–2019) Steve ‘Budgie’ Burgess
  • Looking backward from forward (1973–2050) Tim O’Riordan




There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Water Mills and Marshes”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Titles

Acle Memories
Acle Memories
Colman's of Norwich
Colman's of Norwich
Country Boy
Country Boy: Growing Up in Norfolk 1940-1960
Naturally Connected
Naturally Connected - Barry Madden
The Wherryman
The Wherryman (David Blake)
Norfolk Broads Photographic Memories Frith Collection
Francis Frith Collection - Norfolk Broads Photographic Memories
Broadland: Luminous Landscapes and Wide Horizons
Norfolk Broads: The Biography

You might also like ...

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.  Find out more.