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