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The Sport of Kings

This is the club-house of the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club. Built in 1897, it's a fabulously evocative place, cut off at high tide and - like much of the north west Norfolk coast - still deeply redolent of the Edwardian era (1901-10). There are various reasons for this. Edward VII - an avid golfer and a founder member of the club - had lived at nearby Sandringham House since 1862. A book on the area, published in 1902, called it "The King's Homeland" and I can't resist quoting Rider Haggard's introduction, if only as a reminder that all earthly glory passes -

 

'The King's Homeland' is a large title, for wherever the flag of Britain flies- that is over nearly one-quarter of the globe - there is the homeland of King Edward VII: and there, surely, north and south and east and west, in snows or sands, in cities or in plain, he would find himself as much at home and as much beloved as he is at Sandringham.

 

By 1910 this undeveloped coast had attracted a summer nucleus of artsy, affluent families playing at elegant simplicity - I wish we'd had a Henri Lartigue to record it. An up-market, faintly bohemian, tourist culture developed, which from the 1920s was already overlaid with nostalgia for a pre-1914 childhood world. Today, watching casually chic families on Wells Beach, or flicking through local tourist brochures and style magazines, it's easy to detect this enduring ethos. History casts unexpected shadows.

 

I don't like to lug around a big, heavy camera bag, but much as I love the Leica, there are times when you need something else - particularly close up. I ended up taking two cameras in one small bag - the IIIf and a Porst Compact Reflex - a petite late-70s M42 SLR. I carried a 50' and a 35' for both and thought this would cover all eventualities. It did :)

 

The old Prinzflex lens is good and sharp, but betrays its own-brand bargain origins in the obvious vignetting - I think this was probably at f4, but I'm not sure. Still, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the result :)

 

Brancaster, Norfolk. Porst Compact Reflex SP, Prinzflex f2.8 35mm, Fuji Neopan 400. Orange filter.

 

EDIT (2011): Does this picture look too dark :( ? Please look here :)

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Taken on November 11, 2010