Yachting on the Norfolk Broads – The Horning Regatta

  • Theme - Leisure
  • Year - 1908
  • Location - Norwich
  • Filmmaker - Charles Aldous


The waterways known as the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are a unique feature of East Anglia. These shallow lakes, linked by narrow rivers, were mostly man-made, formed by the digging of peat for fuel in the 12th century. They have since developed into a major part of the county’s leisure industry, with sailing craft being designed to perform well in shallow narrow water. John Loynes is credited with pioneering the boat hire business in 1878, the popularity of which grew throughout the 1900’s. Many sailing clubs sprang up and Horning sailing club traditionally held an annual regatta to celebrate the boats and sailors who sailed on the Broad. This early film shows some of the races that took place at the regatta in 1908.There was little wind to add excitement to the competition on the day. The boats were mainly gaff rigged, with sails designed to make the most of the winds above the tree line.

For other visitors, there were a number of pleasure steamers operating around the Broads, offering ticket holders a ride on the waterways. The film shows the pleasure steamer, "Queen of the Broads" making her way triumphantly through proceedings, fully-laden with Broads sightseers.
The final scenes show the prize giving for race winners. Everyone wore their best clothes for the event and so the film provides a good record of Edwardian fashion.

The footage was produced by professional photographer, Charles Aldous who ran his business from White Lion Street. His vantage point was the bank by the Swan Inn.


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