The Thatcher

  • Theme - Local Industry
  • Year - 1969
  • Location - Norwich
  • Filmmaker - Unknown


This colour clip is from Norwich HEART's archive film production, ‘Pastures Olde’, an enduring collection of archive films which provide an insight into East Anglian farming and agriculture between the 1920s-60s.

‘The Thatcher’ is from a longer programme made by Anglia Television in 1969. It marks an important change in the process of local reed cutting. Reed cutting on the Norfolk broads was originally a job that was done by hand, harvesting the plants so that they could be used for thatching roofs in nearby villages. That year however, a new machine - adapted from a rice cutter - was trialled on the Broads and proved so successful in speeding up the cutting process, that a similar contraption is still used to this day.

Once the reeds have been cut down by the marshmen, they are bundled and left to dry. Later, teams of men stack them onto wherries – large, traditional cargo boats, synonymous with the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads – and they are transported out of the marshland, to be made ready for thatchers.

EAFA CAT NO: 204923

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