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Wroxham lies on the River Bure approximately five miles north of Norwich and is regarded by many as the 'Capital of the Broads'. It was here - in the late 19th century - that John Loynes started the first boat hire business.

River Bure at Wroxham

River Bure at Wroxham

Wroxham is also well known for its own supermarket: 'Roys of Wroxham'. However, the shop is actually located in Hoveton  - but then 'Roys of Hoveton' doesn't have the same ring to it!

Arthur Ransome

Arthur Ransome used to visit Wroxham in the 1930s and hired cruisers from the town, and in his story Coot Club (1934) Dick and Dorothea arrive at Wroxham railway station from Norwich. Here they meet Mrs Barrable who they are going to spend a holiday with on her boat the Teasel. Mrs Barrable takes the children from the railway station down to the River Bure where they catch a motor launch to Horning - where her boat is moored. Here is a nice passage from the book describing the hustle and bustle of riverside life in Wroxham:

'There were boats everywhere, and boats of all kinds, from the big black wherry with her gaily painted mast, loading at the old granary by Wroxham bridge, and meant for nothing but hard work, to the punts of the boatmen going to and fro, and the motor-cruisers filling up with petrol, and the hundreds of big and little sailing yachts tied to the quays, or moored in rows, two and three deep, in the dykes and artificial harbours beside the main river.'

Before writing his Swallows and Amazons books for children Ransome worked as a journalist in Russia during the revolution. His second wife, Evgenia Shelepin, was originally Trotsky's secretary and he risked his own life to help her escape from Russia.

The detective writer Alan Hunter was born at Hoveton in 1922 and published a poem about Wroxham in his 1944 collection Norwich Poems. The poem is entitled Saturday at Wroxham and captures the hustle and bustle of London holiday makers arriving in the village to begin their Broad's cruises. Here is the second verse:

The half-past one from Liverpool Street
So filled up to the very last seat,
And people pour our of the station
Filled with holiday jubilation:
Hurrah! Hurrah! We're here! We're here!
Luggage, luggage, everywhere -
So many come with one accord,
So many innocents abroad!
Take my luggage down to Presses' -
Do you know what Bunn's address is? -
What time do the buses go -
How can I find Brimbelow?
Hurry! Hurry! Lose no tricet
Time is flying, we may miss it!
Thus they treat with Time the fawner,
And congregate upon Roy's Corner.

The Singing Postman also mentions Wroxham in his famous song Hev Yew Gotta Loight Bor. In fact, it was here that his sweetheart - Molly Windley - lived:
I had a gal, a rare nice gal, down in Wroxham way
She were whooly nice ter me in the ole school days.

One of Allan Smethurst's influences was the ukulele-playing entertainer George Formby who also has a link with Wroxham. Formby once owned a holiday home in the village called Heronby - which was located on the banks of the River Bure.

More photos of Wroxham





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