Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Horstead Mill, Norfolk

Horstead Mill, Norfolk
River Bure
November 2009

Horstead Mill before the fire in1960

Horstead Mill with wherries in 1895 and 1902

The same scenes in 2009

Horstead Mill was a pivotal place in my adolecence. It's here I leaned to canoe, here I nearly drowned when I got stuck in an upturned canoe, here I spent most of the summers of 1974 to 1979, here I had my first big crush (about the girl in the white bikini - but I never had the confidence even to ask her name!).

Upper view of Horstead Watermill 1900 and 2009

It is a place that has seen a lot of transitions over the years, from the time it was a huge three story grain mill, trading under the name of East Norfolk Roller Mills at the turn of the 20th century, into the manicured public area it is today.

1963 after the fire

Sadly, the proud old mill burned down in the winter of 1963, when I was only a toddler so I have no first hand memories of it as it was as a working entity.

The inside of the mill as I remember it

However, I enjoyed it in it's ruined state of the 1970's, when access was forbidden - unless you swam to it. We used to climb onto the top of the arches and throw ourselves into the millpool, narrowly missing the concrete ledge which stuck out under water to baffle the mill race. If the water level was high enough, we also used to run our canoes right through from the water channel, plunging down into the millpool below only to have the canoe burst back to the surface like a submarine making an emergency rise. In the days of glass fibre canoes this was not entirely wise and in the end the poor craft cracked and buckled around me.

I could ramble on for ages about this place, but instead I have posted a bumper collection of photos, many taken from the Norfolk Mills website which has loads of historical info, together with some attemps at getting the same shot today, in 2009.

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