Early tourist, George Christopher Davies, in his ‘Handbook to the Rivers and Broads of Norfolk and Suffolk’, wrote, “…I thought there would be a better chance of buying things as we went along… for with the exception of butter and eggs, we might as well be on the prairies. What shall we do?”
As more tourists arrived, local shops responded. Some offered a delivery straight to the boats, and others went onto the water to their customers.
One store that delivered groceries to holidaymakers was Roy’s of Wroxham. From the early 1900s, Roy’s supplied tourists on boating holidays and advertised in the local boatyards’ brochures. Their hampers could include tinned butter, yachting pies and potted shrimps.
Roy’s began in the mid 1800s when Alfred Roy had a shop in Reepham. By 1868, his shop was a large store and Roy was a grocer, tea dealer, draper, hosier, hatter and haberdasher.
His sons, Alfred and Arnold, opened their store in Coltishall in 1895. They opened further branches in Dereham, Potter Heigham and in Hoveton (Wroxham), in 1899, where the business thrives today.
Once on the water, holidaymakers could also buy what they needed without leaving their boat.
The Museum’s Provisions Boat, Our Boys, worked out of Curtis Stores in Acle from 1921. It moored alongside hire boats, and goods for sale included newspapers, milk, break, eggs, bacon, fruit and vegetables.
So, for the holidaymakers of the 20th century, buying a variety of food was no longer the problem that Davies had faced.
The floating shop, Our Boys, and Roys of Wroxham sold ‘provisions’ to holidaymakers. If they wanted to make a stew, then they needed carrots! To make your own carrot, using crochet, see Jo’s workshop.