Yesterday was the official launch of the book we have been working on with the Aylsham Local History Society. Sail and Storm – The Aylsham Navigation explores the history and landscape of the navigation along the River Bure from the late eighteenth century onwards.
The launch event in Aylsham saw all the members of the research team come together – the volunteers who researched and wrote the book, and our team from UEA.
The event kicked off with a guided walk around the former staithe in Aylsham, now mostly filled in and covered in private housing – but the research done by the Society enabled nearly 100 members of the local community to rediscover the forgotten elements of the Navigation which have survived since its closure.
In the Town Hall, many people came to look around an exhibition of images and documents relating to the Navigation, as well as being able to watch locally made films about the river. In the Heritage Centre members of the Norfolk Wherry Trust were on hand to discuss wherries, the distinctive vessels which carried goods up and down the Navigation.
Our own Professor Tom Williamson rounded things off with a short talk about the interlinked nature of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions which was underpinned by improvements in transport infrastructure, like the Navigation itself.
The book itself is available from local bookshops, and online from the Aylsham Local History Society.
The cover is from an original painting by Norfolk artist Kerry Buck.
We will all really miss working on the Aylsham Navigation project after 18 months – but we have lots more community heritage projects in the pipeline over the coming year.