Trust aiming to keep the history of the Broads alive

For 150 years trading wherries laden with cargo negotiated a series of locks on the River Waveney to reach the maltings and mill at Bungay.

But the arrival of the railways saw Geldeston Lock, near Beccles, fall into disuse and it was closed in 1934.

Now an appeal has gone out for people with memories of the lock to come forward in a bid to bring the history of the Broads alive.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Charitable Trust and the Broads Authority want to record oral histories from people who worked on Geldeston Lock, knew it or used it.

The films will form part of a permanent exhibition in Beccles Museum and be used in podcasts which can be downloaded from the Broads Authority's new website for use when the visitor arrives.


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The authority's communications manager Clare Weller, well-known for her former presenting role on Anglia TV, will be carrying out the interviews.

She said: 'There has been a long-standing ambition from the Broads Authority to do up Geldeston Lock, and the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Charitable Trust and Beccles Museum have been wanting to explain the history of the lock for a long time.

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'So we are working together to develop the idea and are looking for about 12 people to interview.'

The project has been made possible through a grant from the Geoffrey Watling Charity.

Some of the memories gathered will be used in an information pack for schools, which will tie in with the National Curriculum.

Information boards will carry pictures of wherries using the lock and explain how it worked.

Bryan Read, a founding trustee of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Charitable Trust, said: 'Geldeston Lock is part of the heritage of the Broads and a very attractive and peaceful area.

'At the moment few people have any idea what the structure is or where it is and many people are keen to know more about the history.

'The charity is pleased to be working with the Broads Authority to ensure that the history of the lock is properly recorded and the site is adequately interpreted for visitors arriving by water, on foot or by bicycle.'

Geldeston Lock, by the Locks Inn pub, is on a footpath network and cycle trail from Beccles and is easily reached by boat.

If people have memories to share they should email thecurator@becclesmuseum.org.uk or call 01502 715722.

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