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Blackshore, River Blythe, Suffolk

Blackshore, River Blythe, Suffolk

Photographer: Emerson, Peter Henry (1856 - 1936)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1888

Shelfmark: Tab.443.a.6

Item number: 96

Genre: Photograph

The Norfolk Broads, East Anglia, are characterised by networks of waterways, dykes and marshes. During his field trips on the Broads, photographer Emerson spent much of his time observing and recording the dialect, rural culture and folklore of the farm labourers, fishermen, poachers and peasants. He strove to document a way of life that was rapidly changing and would soon disappear. His photographs in this book helped change the way photography was perceived in the late 19th century. Instead of imitating painting, Emerson aimed to produce "truthful pictures of East Anglian peasant and fisherfolk life."

"This is Blackshore on the River Blythe - Blackshore, of which we read that once spacious warehouses were erected on its wharf 'for the stowage of nets and other stores, one room of which is capable of holding a thousand tons of salt;' that a dock was made there in 1783, and that in the same year twenty fishing-busses met there for the white-herring fishery. It seems this quay was made in James the First's reign, and must have been the scene of busy life when Dunwich, Walberswick, and Southwold were flourishing with their fisheries; but as the greater places fell to nothingness, so has this little place proportionately fallen into utter decay..."

Text by Peter Henry Emerson from his illustrated book 'Pictures of East Anglian Life'

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