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Rackheath memories

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Memories of Norfolk

Hearts Cruisers

The River Yare 1919, Thorpe St Andrew
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This boatyard belonged to my grandfather, Geoffrey John Hart (the gentleman standing at the back of the picture) and the young man in the front of the picture is Jack Ayton Hart, his son. The other son also worked there and his name was Dick. As children my mother, Yvonne, and my brother and myself all played here and learned to swim here too. The boatyard stayed Hearts Cruisers for many years after my grandfather sold it.

Hearts Cruisers

1929, Thorpe St Andrew
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This gentleman is my grandfather Geoffrey John Hart. He owned and worked the business, Hearts Cruisers, with his two sons, Dick and Jack, and we spent many a happy hour there. In those days you could swim in the river as pollution was almost non-existent. Uncle Dick's many descendants are now mainly living in New Zealand but pay regular visits to the area to see where their family originally lived. Uncle Jack moved down to Sussex and his daughter Jane and her family now live in Barcelona.  His son Peter's family are in this country.

Miss Bee

Santa Lucia Hotel c1965, Thorpe St Andrew
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Santa Lucia Hotel was owned and run by Marion Olive Barkway, better known as Miss Bee. Marion was my grandmother and we used to visit every Sunday afternoon to help out with evening meals. When I was small I remember standing on the sun terrace fishing and gazing out onto the river. As I grew, I got into canoeing and used to keep my canoe there climbing over the wall to get to the river. Marion had a succession of dogs, alsations and daschunds - Judy, Kelly, Amber. Marion never left the hotel apart from the occasional shopping trip. She was always very happy and evenings she would enjoy sitting in reception and chatting with guests arriving and returning often laughing with them. Marion had the upmost respect of her staff. She would always seem to appear from nowhere if I stopped to speak (chat the girls up as a young lad) - kind of guess she was young once as well and still far too sharp for me. Marion... Read more

Santa Lucia Hotel Lives Again

Santa Lucia Hotel c1965, Thorpe St Andrew
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Not so much a memory - more an update! Since Mrs Barkway sold the hotel business, the property was split into dwellings and 6 years ago my husband and I bought Swan House, the building on the far left with the flat roof. It now has a pitched roof and looks very different. In March 2012 we opened as a Bed and Breakfast called Swan House. Just one bedroom but very lovely and we welcome visitors from all over the world. We like to think we have gone full circle and that Marion Barkway would be pleased!

Old John Barley Corn....

'John Barley Corn' Children c1930, Belaugh
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Known as the 'John Barley Corn' children because at the Staithe where they all used to play, there is an inlet. In the 1920s, when boats came past, the children would sing 'Old John Barley Corn if you throw us a penny we will sing you a song'. Sometimes handfuls of pennies would be thrown. The people on one boat 'Nelson' were always quite generous. It was quite a scramble to each get a couple of pennies.

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