Wells Next The Sea – Now And Then

Wells Next The Sea – Now And Then

I discovered an old book that has my Great Grandmother’s name in it, the book is a Jarrolds Illustrated Guide to Wells and the surrounding area. It’s probably from about 1900, though I suspect the photos are earlier. I thought it would be interesting to take it on holiday and compare Wells now and how it was then.

old wells book 001

Clara YarhamThis is Clara, my Great Grandmother who owned the guide book. She was born in Wighton in 1883, and when she and Sidney married in 1903 they moved up north. That’s why I think the guide was from around this time, although some of the photos look older as there are no cars, only horse and carts in some of the photos.








This is one of my photos of Wells last week, looking towards the granary which is now luxury flats. I remember large Dutch boats being filled with grain down a hopper from the end of the building, I can smell and taste the dust now.

Wells quay

Here is the harbour from the guide book, the granary was built in 1903 so this photo must be earlier.

old wells

The  Boathouse in Jarrold’s Guide

oldwells2 001How it looks today. My grandparents used to like to sit here and watch the boats go by eating their fish and chips.  I sampled both French’s and Platten’s last week and both were very good, I still remember Mr French chatting with my family, there aren’t many Norfolk accents about now.


The trees are a lot bigger on the Buttlands today, the houses still look much the same.

oldwells3 001

I didn’t take a photo of the Buttlands this year, this one is from the ’60’s, I worked out from the entrance it’s outside The Globe Inn on the Buttlands.a drink outside The Globe

Other places featured in Jarrod’s guide include Burnham Overy Staithe.
Burnham Overy Staithe

oldwells4 00z

BlakeneyBlakeney hotel


Blakeney has changed quite a lot.oldblakeney 001

So has the marsh around Cley Mill.

Cley windmill

It’s full of reeds now but then it had to be navigable.oldcley 001I had to include this old picture of cockle pickers. We picked our own cockles every year and samphire from the marshes, these were cooked and served with bread and butter and vinegar for supper, they did taste good.

oldwells4 001This is me and my Grandpa, Clara’s son, outside Reggie and Noel’s ( Grandpa’s cousins) cottages where we stayed every summer.

me and grandpa at Reggie and NoelsThis is how it looks now, the cottages have been modernised and there is a concrete path instead of the cockle shell path that crunched to let you know someone was there. That in itself brings back a memory of the noise made by the door when it opened, the bottom used to catch and it made the letterbox rattle.Reggie and Noels

I have very fond memories long summer days in Wells in the mid 60’s and 70’s, and Uncle Reggie and Noel waving us off from the top of the steps when we left for home. I still give them a nod when I pass by, even though they are no longer with us.


About eganj1

Obsession making arts crafts, and all things creative
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6 Responses to Wells Next The Sea – Now And Then

  1. Helen says:

    What a lovely post! I live in Cley so it’s super to see the old images. How long are you going to be in Norfolk?

    • eganj1 says:

      Hi Helen,
      I’m home now, I wrote this last week. How I miss Norfolk, we were thinking maybe we should retire there. I would need good public transport, which seems to have improved a lot.
      We walked a lot of the Coastal path and used the Coasthopper bus to go further afield. We walked through Cley, I saw Made in Cley gallery but I didn’t find your gallery, or are you just a virtual gallery, not bricks and mortar?

      • Helen says:

        I am a real gallery but I’m in Holt, not Cley. Seahorse Studio on Albert Street. Next time let me know you’re coming! 😃

  2. eganj1 says:

    Ah right, will look in next time.

  3. Rena Solis says:

    What a lovely trip down your memory lane. So enjoy seeing the beauty of your country, Thanks.

  4. Pingback: 5 Highlights of 2018 | Kiln Fired Art Blog

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