Revived 1960s Broads cruiser is making waves once again
- Credit: Denise Bradley
A 60-year-old survivor from a nostalgic age of tourism on the Norfolk Broads is back afloat after a major renovation project.
The Noisy Goose is a wooden Broads cruiser built in 1962 by renowned Wroxham-based boatbuilder Jack Powles - part of a traditional hire fleet which used to dominate the waterways before fibreglass hulls became commonplace.
But after decades of faithful service to holidaymakers, it fell into disrepair and was "barely afloat" by the time Luke Paterson bought it in 2017.
Mr Paterson, who runs a tourism and glamping enterprise alongside his farming business at Dilham Hall, initially intended to use the creaking vessel as a "quirky" holiday let on the farm.
But he was eventually persuaded to give the boat a new lease of life on the water, thanks to a seven-week renovation by traditional boatbuilder Abbey Molyneux, of Abbey Boat Builder.
"Noisy Goose had kind of been abandoned in a barn for a few years, and a few other boatbuilders had written it off," she said.
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"People are so quick to say just scrap it, it is too expensive, you cannot do it - but the entire tourist industry on the Broads was built on these old wooden boats.
"It is our job to keep them on the water and keep that part of history going.
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"Back in the day you had Jack Powles, Herbert Woods, Martham's - they were the kings of the hire fleets, and they developed some amazing build techniques because they had to build boats fast and cheap to get them out and bringing in the money.
"Their techniques are unique to Norfolk. I used to take historic boats apart on the river Thames, and I could tell they were built in Norfolk."
After Noisy Goose was hoisted back into the water at Wayford Bridge near Stalham, Mr Paterson now values her at around £45,000.
And he has already lined up the next renovation project - a 1932 Herbert Woods boat named Queen of Light which he hopes will be ready in time for the traditional regatta at Henley in August.
"The appeal is very similar to classic cars," he said. "The era when things were made beautifully by hand - we need to preserve it.
"This is the heritage of the Broads, floating. It all started with wooden boats and so it is really important to preserve a bit of this heritage.
"People are scared of the whole idea of renovating wooden boats, but the quality of the work Abbey has done is amazing."