Photo Gallery: Car boot sale bargains that reveal 19th-century life in Norfolk

A photograph from a collection depicting life on the Norfolk Broads, found in a box of glass plates bought by vintage shop owner Nick South A photograph from a collection depicting life on the Norfolk Broads, found in a box of glass plates bought by vintage shop owner Nick South

Saturday, August 16, 2014
12:24 PM

Photographic glass plates bought for £4 at a car boot sale have given a glimpse into life on Norfolk’s waterways more than a century ago.

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Broads vintage shop owner Nick South, 51, picked up the precious pieces when hunting for treasures to sell.

Thought to be from about 1890, his first haul depicted family portraits, a boat named Florence, scenes on the banks of the Yare, a graceful wherry and more.

After those photographs appeared in the EDP, Mr South, who runs the Treasure Chest vintage and retro shop at Ludham Bridge, was inspired to find out more about the mysterious people and places.

“I love my history, it’s fascinating,” he said. “But I am a boat owner too, I go out on the Broads and know what it’s like to go down the rivers, so to see someone do the same 120 years ago is fascinating.”

The plates, which preceded film, would have been developed using a light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts applied to a glass plate.

Now the second batch Mr South bought at a sale in Arminghall is proving a challenge to decipher– and Mr South, pictured left, from Norwich, wants your help.

From a well-dressed trio sat on a river bank with a freshly caught fish and a woman posing with a lively dog, to another wherry sailing on the water, the pictures provide a curious portrait of the past.

“What would be nice is to identify who some of the people are,” Mr South said. “It’s really exciting. I’m hoping readers will be able to tell me more about them.”

• If you think you can help, email djnicksouth@yahoo.co.uk

• Have you found a fascinating part of history? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk

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