A Dying Race

1964 , Burgh Castle (Norfolk)

Anglia Television documentary featuring the work of the marshman, Franie Brooks amongst the wetlands of East Anglia.

The East Anglian marshes, subject to continuous flooding, have for centuries been maintained by ‘marshmen'. The programme, features the wetlands of Norfolk and the work of the marshman, Franie Brooks. The dykes, dominated by reeds and rushes, must be cleared to allow the water to drain through. Footage of the specific tools and techniques employed by Franie as he “draws the dyke”, is followed by an interview with the marshman. The systematic and ongoing process to maintain water levels is emphasised, comparing the modern equipment and methods (the electric pump) with the traditional (relying on wind power). A visual overview of his work is provided, keeping the pumps going; creating underflows; and, catching and (inhumanely) disposing of rodents (the Coypu species) that destroy bridge foundations. Mrs Brooks, interviewed at their home in Burgh Castle, near Great Yarmouth, reveals her tolerance of her husband’s unsociable working hours, and further conversation with Franie reveals the way of life and eccentricities of this local personality, that is perhaps typical of a traditional marshman.

Keywords

Animal cruelty; Drainage; Floods; Pest control; Wetlands

  • Presenter : Dick Graham

  • Director : Harry Aldous

  • Camera : Ian Craig

  • Editor : Paul Shortall

  • Editor : Eric Halliday (programme editor)

  • Production company : Anglia Television

Manifestations

A Dying Race

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