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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Loddon: all aboard in 1917

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DON’T you love the health and safety on board this wherry in 1917? And half of them are presumably medical staff. I know that there was some sort of war hospital within the Lecture Hall on George Lane in Loddon during World War One: so I’m guessing these are both staff and the fitter patients making the most of a sunny day.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly the Chet at Loddon looks very different a century on. So different that it is probably difficult for most incomers to get their bearings. Let’s start with the large chimney at the centre of the photo. I’m taking it that that belonged to the old engine house next to Loddon Mill. (The part of the building which now holds comedy nights incidentally.) Work back from there and I am pretty sure everything on the far bank belonged to the seed merchants Woods, Sadd, Moore and Company. All that disappeared in the 1960s and 1970s, to be replaced in the early Noughties by new housing.

But where’s the photographer standing? Well probably in the middle of what is now the basin dug out for Princess Cruisers. That’s what makes the shot so unusual to modern eyes I guess.

The picture is one of a number of great photos lent to me by life-long Loddonite Terry Howes. As we know, all the best photos are in the loft, in this case the loft of Terry’s father Ron Howes who has just celebrated his 85th birthday. Mr Howes senior was foreman of the yard at Princess Cruisers in the 1950s and 1960s. Terry’s lent me a few photos from that era too. More next time …and a fuller collection on flickr too.

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