Images from the Duck Race 2022 held at Lady Julian Bridge on the River Wensum. What a crowd!
Proceeds from the Duck Race were given to a fund for Ukrainian children.
5000 ducks of all colours took part, but didn’t race towards the Millenium Bridge as reported in the Norwich Evening News! They only went a few meters from the bridge in the direction of Foundry Bridge.
It was a fun event and all for a good cause and brilliant to see the crowds out enjoying the spectacle, alongside the Lord Mayor of Norwich.
Jarrold Bridge, Norwich. A photographic series of the River Wensum.
My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of the bridges that cross it. I began with Carrow Bridge as it is the nearest to my apartment. Traveling along the Wensum up towards the city, the next bridge featured in this series is the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge, followed by the Lady Julian Bridge, and from there we arrived at the Foundry Bridge. If you were travelling towards the city by boat, to your left you would see Pull’s Ferry and Norwich Cathedral as you headed towards Bishop Bridge. The next curve is around the bend next to Cow Tower, with the Cathedral to the left, and apartments and offices to the right, where the next bridge is the Jarrold Bridge.
Back from ancient to modern again. Let no one say the Wensum doesn’t provide variety!
The Jarrold bridge was designed by Stephen James of Ramboll (a company with 50 years of experience in bridge building) and built by local company R G Carter. Visit the Jarrold site to see all the awards this bridge has won and been short listed for. Truly impressive! You will also see other interesting facts there, such as the fact that the bridge slope is less than 1 in 20 for ease of use. It’s certainly nice to cycle over. If you are a bridge enthusiast and would like to know more about the construction of the Jarrold Bridge, SHStructures gives more technical information. I will tell you, however, it is just over 80m in length. I have never seen another bridge like it. I love the modern, clean curve of it and the location is perfect.
From the top of the bridge you can enjoy the very natural view up towards Cow Tower and Mousehold Heath, lushly green with willows grazing the water. The bridge is just next to a car park, on the other side of which is the Adam & Eve pub, the oldest watering hole in Norwich.
The city view gives you the rear side of St James Mill, where Jarrold & Sons Ltd have their offices. Next door to St James Mill, new apartments are being built, so it is currently a construction site with a huge crane. I will return to St James Mill and the buildings along the Wensum in future posts.
The image above shows the ancient flint arch next to the ultra modern Jarrold Bridge.
From modern back to ancient, Whitefriar’s Bridge is the next bridge in this River Wensum series, which will feature not only bridges but go on to study the architecture, wildlife, and the current human life along the river. While the Wensum has a great history, life along the river continues to evolve and change, and I will be documenting that as the series continues.
Images and the history of Foundry Bridge, Norwich.
My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of bridges. I began with Carrow Bridge as it is the nearest to my apartment. Traveling along the Wensum up towards the city, the next bridge featured in this series is the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge, followed by the Lady Julian Bridge and from there we arrive next at Foundry Bridge just by Norwich Train Station.
While I often use Lady Julian Bridge to cut up to King Street for a shorter route into the city, what I really like to do, when I have time, is to walk along the Wensum up to Foundry Bridge and cross over Prince of Wales Road to continue the river walk. I also use Foundry Bridge to cross the river to get to the post office (I am sure you are fascinated to know this). It just goes to show how important these bridges are to daily life in Norwich. I’m very glad I don’t have to swim across the river.
The Foundry Bridge (a grade II listed building) is a single-span iron bridge with its own distinctive decorative design. Here are some interesting details about the Foundry Bridge from George Plunkett.
‘The first to occupy this site was a toll bridge built of wood in 1811 by the contractors, Mendham of Holt. In 1844, with the coming of the railway, it was replaced by one made of iron by Bradley and Co. of Wakefield, and designed by C.D. Atkinson. It cost £800. It was then freed from toll. The present structure was built when Thorpe Station was enlarged; the contractors were R.Tidman and Co of Rosary Rd, Norwich. It cost £12,032. opened on January 17th, 1888.’
It is fascinating to know the cost of the construction of the Foundry Bridge. I can only imagine what a bridge of similar construction would cost today. It certainly wouldn’t be £12,000!
The thing I love about bridges is how unique each one is. Whether it be a footbridge or built for vehicular access, a swing, opening or fixed bridge, they all have their own special design, quirks, and individuality. This really appeals to me. Of course, every bridge provides an interesting viewpoint too, ideal for a photographer.
Looking back towards Lady Julian Bridge with the Nelson Hotel on the right, Norwich Station on the left, and, of course, the Canoe Man.
Looking towards the city, Norwich Yacht Station is on the right hand side and the Compleat Angler pub on the left. Willow trees line the river down towards Pulls Ferry and the next bridge in this series Bishopsgate Bridge.
While researching the Foundry Bridge, I learned the tragic story of what happened nearby on April 4th, 1817 (Good Friday) to the Norwich Steam Packet when the engine exploded. You can read about it here on the NorfolkTalesMyths.com website.
This terrible story brought to mind a ghostly incident that happened in the Hotel Nelson garden a year ago. We often wander the city streets on summer nights, taking photographs and enjoying the lights. One night, we went down the steps from Foundry Bridge and walked alongside the Nelson Hotel into the garden. I walked a little ahead of my boyfriend while he stopped to read a sign, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a bottle flew through the air and landed by my foot. I spun around expecting to see the person who had thrown it, but there wasn’t a soul to be seen. There were no bushes to hide in.
With no wind and the bottle flying at knee height before it landed, we came to the conclusion it had been thrown by a ghost, or now I wonder, perhaps if it was eerily propelled by the historic explosion…
Whether you believe in ghostly happenings or not, it is the only explanation I have.
Look out for my next blog about Bridges o’er the Wensum – or get updated by hitting the subscribe button below.
Carrow Bridge is a lifting bridge. Unfortunately, I have never been lucky enough to see it lift up. I like to peer into the little control hut and imagine it in operation. Despite my best attempts to find a video of it opening, so far, I haven’t been successful. All I can find is a video of the test opening in 2018 to allow TS Lord Nelson aka HMS Vale pass through, which isn’t particularly interesting!
The current Carrow Bridge was constructed in 1923 to replace the old bridge to the South. More recently, there have been plans by the council to weld the bridge shut. Read a press release from the Norwich Society about this here.
Reginald Dann, lived in Carrow Bridge House (the former bridge master’s house) for more than 50 years until it was sold at auction. Thankfully, a plan by the county council to demolish it was defeated by the city council.
You can see images of the bridge open here in an EDP article, when the TS Lord Nelson passed through in 2004. There is also a nice image in the article of the The ship “Paullgate” of Hull carrying cargo under Carrow bridge at the port of Norwich. Dated 20 May 1966. The TS Lord Nelson was eventually decommissioned and now rests in Bristol.
I walk across the bridge at least once every day, and I also cross it every night. I enjoy looking out over both sides of Carrow bridge, but my favourite view is looking back up the river past the Devil’s Tower towards old Paper Mill Yard.
You can read more about the history of the Devil’s Tower here – it is a virtually unique structure in England, built in the early 14th century. Directly opposite is the Windlass Tower.
I will write more about the Wensum Boom Towers in future posts.
A view further up from Carrow Bridge.
Carrow Bridge by night.
I frequently pass under the bridge, on the way into the city. It is a favourite spot for pigeons to court in the spring. There is also the occasional dove.
Sometimes swans sit in the wooden under-structure compartments as if they were stables. I am sure there is a technical name for the structure, but I have no idea what it is.
Eric and Erica, the Egyptian geese, like to perch on the wooden sidings that are there to guide boats through, but usually they are keeping guard on the river bank. Occasionally, a heron perches near the bridge too.
On summer nights, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of bats performing aerobatics around the bridge.
Street Art under Carrow Bridge
Every now and then, new street art appears under the bridge. These images have disappeared now, which is a shame because I really liked them. They are preferable to the meaningless tagging that crops up everywhere (not meaningless to gangs, I guess, but still an eyesore).
Springtime on the River Wensum, Norwich has arrived at last. It feels as though it has been a long winter and although there is always something to see waterside, life gets far more interesting as the temperature rises.
I have spent the last two years photographically recording the River Wensum through the seasons, and I continue to do so. The different styles of architecture, modern and old, are fascinating to shoot. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to shoot from a boat. My choice of craft is a canoe. It can be a bit wobbly which worries me sometimes but it’s flexible in getting good camera angles. It’s a whole new city from the water!
Where once there were Wherries and ships, now there are leisure boats, paddle boards, canoes and dinghies. Industrial use of the Wensum ceased in the 1980’s. I like to imagine how the Wensum thrived as a port. The industrial buildings all have their own stories. One of my favourite buildings is the old Furniture Restoration barn (see below). The corrugated metal it was created from has worn and rusted over the years. I like the way it is described on the Geograph site as being in a state of ‘picturesque dilapidation’.
There are other elderly buildings I love along the river but I will detail those in future posts.
Each post will focus on a particular aspect of the river whether it be the Cormorants, Barnacle or Egyptian Geese, my beloved swans, Kingfishers or the medieval bridges, historical buildings such as Pull’s Ferry and Norwich Cathedral. I will drop in some history but mostly it will be how I see the river through my eyes, here in 2022, as it continues to change and evolve.
There is so much to look at and investigate, I hope you will subscribe to see the River Wensum through my eyes and enjoy my observations, perhaps even adding your own. The other benefit to subscribing is that every month I create a free notebook giveaway. All you have to do is leave your email address (don’t worry about getting bombarded, I don’t post all that often!)
My next post will give a brief history of the Wensum and explore the bridges.
Spring is at last beginning to spring into life after what has seemed a very long winter to me.
As a photographer, I love all seasons but I have to say, the long gloomy days this winter just haven’t been as inspiring for me. Although I did carry on shooting (it’s impossible for me to stop), my mojo did wane somewhat.
Every season brings something worth seeing, if it isn’t obvious, you have to go look for it. I live by the river which makes things easier. There are always the swans, geese, cormorants, and pigeons to spot. Never have I been more thankful to see the blossom again, and the wild flowers beginning to burst into life.
I guess the state of the world has to have a bearing on the mood this winter. First came the pandemic and now of course war. Even though we are far removed from the wars in other parts of the world. The thought of others suffering wherever they are, takes a toll on the psyche.
So I am going to cease moaning about what a long difficult winter it was and start to celebrate spring. We are lucky to be here and especially lucky to be living in Norfolk.
This weekend there will be blue sky and the daffodils are blooming all around the city. Yesterday we took a walk along the River Wensum, down past Cow Tower which is one of my favourite spots to see them.
Only a few days earlier, we were lucky enough to spot a Kingfisher along the banks of the Wensum. I spent the whole of 2021 looking out for Kingfishers only to see a few from a very long distance away. This time, I had my baby Canon ready to shoot. I am not really a wildlife photographer, as in, it is not a speciality of mine, so I was mighty chuffed to capture a Kingfisher as they are rare to see and even more difficult to photograph.
I am going to endeavour to keep a photo diary of sorts to blog each week so if you would like to be updated, please hit the subscribe button below. By subscribing you will be in with a chance of winning one of my notebooks. I create a monthly draw and all subscriber emails go into it (not just the new ones).
Life is always busy but over the past couple of weeks it has been even busier as I have been populating this website with more notebooks, cards and now wall art – all featuring my images.
I have been a photographer for the best part of my life but it is only in the last 12 years or so that it has become my main occupation, along with writing.
Most of my photography shows my deep love of Norfolk, particularly the coast but increasingly the city of Norwich too as I came to live alongside the River Wensum two years ago. I have actually lived in Norfolk for 30 years. Although I know it well, I am constantly discovering new things to love about this incredible county.
If asked, I tend to say I am a landscape photographer but the truth is, I am passionate about most kinds of photography so you can expect to see a real mix as the website evolves further. My sneaky pleasure is street photography but I will talk about that and my influences (both famous and local) in later posts.
This site will also include wildlife and street photography, I just haven’t started uploading many of those yet (but you will find some seals…) so please be patient with me if that is your thing.
Many people have a love of photography and want to learn more about it so I will share some tips on that too if you are a beginner. Please don’t be shy to ask if you have any questions. I may not be a technical expert in all areas but if I don’t know the answer, I have photography friends who will know for sure.
This website isn’t only about my photography and products, my alter ego is @PetraKidd who writes short stories. I want to make this website a great place to discover new authors and books, both local and from all over the world. It is writing that led me to create notebooks. I love to use a nice tactile notebook to jot my ideas down so it made sense to create my own collection.
In a world full of troubles, it’s good to escape sometimes into the world of art so I hope you will enjoy your visits to this website.
Subscribe below to keep updated with what’s new. Something I like to do every month is to reward subscribers with a giveaway, at the moment it is usually a notebook but I could also create digital downloads of my prints or colouring in pages so that overseas subscribers can enjoy a freebie too. At the moment, for obvious reasons of postage costs, I only send the giveaways to UK subscribers but I’d like to be able to change that going forward.
So hit the button above and let’s keep in touch. Feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are an author who would like to be featured here. I try to be inclusive of most genres.