A warm, friendly Heather welcome

We are delighted to share Heather, an historic boat, artistic refuge and home for over a century, laying on the ancient Broads Waterways of Norfolk.

It is our aim to preserve the distinctive character of Heather, enabling future generations to enjoy her charms. We welcome you to explore the houseboat and bountiful riverside beyond...

Andrew, Timothy and Christopher

15 August 2012

Trading Places

A quirky snapshot of the houseboat with guests aboard taken around 1955 whilst laying at Turner's Boatyard moorings. This is only the second known personal photograph of Heather, before the boat ceased to be hired out in 1984. The newly enclosed forward, kitchen end is on the right. Courtesy of John Royal Esq.

For the past two years we have been part of the Broads Picnic in the Park event, therefore we had no reason to believe we couldn't be part of this years celebrations, staged at idyllic How Hill, Ludham on 29th July. We had hoped to moor at the ancient Staithe (a Broadland name for a port) and purely exhibit the boat. Here, goods of every description had been exchanged in the age of the wherries, keels and other trading craft. A distant time when nature and commerce worked in relative harmony in Broadland. For special gatherings, the Vintage Wooden Boat Association also used to book official 24 hour free moorings in advance, but can no longer do so. A week before the event, we were informed by the Broads Authority that there wouldn't be space for Heather.

To kick start the celebrations to mark sixty years since the houseboat was first placed for hire, Heather will join Wherry ALBION, along with other boats and stalls on the riverside Common at Coltishall on Sunday 26th August from 12pm to 5pm. This is a special commemoration of the infamous 1912 floods and the subsequent closure of the Bure Navigation, which operated between Coltishall (a short distance above the Common itself) and the town of Alysham. The event has been the culmination of over two years dedicated hard work of the voluntary Bure Navigation Conservation Trust. A classic 1959 Bedford bus will shuttle visitors from Roy's overflow car park, next to Hoveton and Wroxham railway station to Coltishall Common. For further details please see:

From 6th to the 9th of September, the boat is taking part in the Heritage Open Days scheme, operated in Norfolk by the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust. Moored at Hoveton during the four day free event, it is the second official on board opening of Heather this year. Visitors can see the on going restoration and experience what a houseboat was like during the fabulous 50's; including the revamped saloon. There is also the foscle galley (the kitchen at forward end of the boat), complete with the period oil stove, food cupboard and utensils. A selection of objects and pictures from the 1950's will be displayed in the saloon.

On Sunday 23rd from 10am to 4pm, we will join a flotilla of hire craft at the stunning location of Salhouse Broad to mark the enormous cultural legacy of hire boats in Broadland. There will be a range of craft and associated stalls participating.

Chriss' grandparents, Eric and Ellen Simpson on board BREYDON LADY 2, a motor cabin cruiser the family hired from Cobholm Boatyard at Great Yarmouth for a holiday in the 1950's.

Andrew, Chris,
John Royal Esq

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King's Head Staithe, Hoveton, pictured from Wroxham public Parish Staithe