HISTORY OF REEDHAM FERRY INN
The licensees known from 1770’s to present day who also ran the ferry:
JOHN SHEPHERD pre 1773
JOHN HOGGETT 1773 – 1803
MARY HOGGETT 1803 – 1829
JOHN HOGGETT 1829 – 1831
JEREMIAH HOGGETT 1831 – 1843
MARSON MANTHORPE (marsh man) 1861 – 1865
JOHN BENNS 1865 – 1881
GEORGE FOWLER HALL 1881 – 1884
GEORGE FORDER 1884 – 1917
CHARLES EDWARD STONE 1917 – 1944
ARTHUR JOHN BENNS 1944 – 1949
NORMAN ARCHER 1949 – 1969
DAVID ARCHER 1969 – Present
David Archer & The Reedham Ferry Inn
David Archer came to The Reedham Ferry Inn (then a small ale house and old ferry) in 1949 from London, with his parents Norman and Hal Archer after the Second World War. Right from the beginning David and his father demonstrated the true commitment it took to operate such a ferry by winching it across the river by hand. In 1950 the ferry was fitted with a diesel engine. David didn’t know this would be the start of his life pioneering the last working chain ferry in the East of England.
David left the Reedham Ferry Inn for a short spell to carry out his duties in the National service.
By the 1970’s the pub was showing true sustainability and making waves in the hospitality world by winning ‘Broads Pub of the Year’ in 1973.
With the pub flourishing and a small campsite for holiday makers to come and stay, the ‘old ferry,’ now nearly 60 years old, was getting tired, with the amount of traffic on the roads. David knew it was time for a new ferry, so in 1983 boat builders from Lowerstoft were given the task of creating a new vessel with the help of David’s knowledge and innovation. The new ferry started operating in May 1983.
With the new ferry up and running, there was no stopping David from focusing more on other goals, such as the touring park, and transforming the pub from a small ale house in the 1940’s into the large bar and restaurant it is today.
By the 1980’s David was still as enthusiastic as ever. The pub was now a destination for drivers and holiday makers alike with mooring available also. David would not admit it himself but he has become a true representative of what it means to work hard. With his devotion, he has earned respect and become a role model to his family, his staff and his peers.
David still works all day everyday with the determination and drive he had 65 years ago. David is as tenacious as ever and with the Pub, touring park, and ferry still thriving, he has plenty to keep him busy.
David does have his hobbies, with fishing being one of them, he decided to turn an old flight pond into a carp lake so holiday makers could enjoy some fishing too. David also works alongside the Broads Authority managing the surrounding marshes, waterways and farm land.
Operating the only working chain ferry in the East Anglia does have some draw backs. Being so unique means that everything surrounding the ferry maintenance is more challenging and costly. The ferry has to be lifted out of the water every 4-5 years to check the hull is sound and secure whilst alsogoing through thorough testing like any other sea vessel and as this all goes on, the poor locals who use the ferry have to drive the 30 miles or more detour.
David has accomplished a lot in 65 years. He has shown all the great qualities it takes to achieve what he set out to do when he took over from his father in the 1970’s. It has taken practice, skill and perseverance and has not gone unnoticed. Many returning customers feel admiration for David and his quiet, reputable ways.
David has also kept true to an old way of life barely seen in any other parts of the country. It does not matter who you are, or how much of a rush you are in, when you board the Reedham Ferry you are transported back to a time when that was the only mode of transport for crossing that part of the river Yare. It is a much quicker trip now than back in the days of winching by hand but you still have enough time to get out of your car and look down the river and think ‘this is commitment to the past.’