The tale of Billy Bluelight

Just Regional
Jun 18, 2020 2 mins read

Nicola Hems, from the Museum of the Broads, has another interesting tale to share while visits to the museum are still not possible

Have you heard of Billy Bluelight? In the early 1900s, he came up with a novel way to earn a living. Clad in shorts and a singlet, he would race (on foot) steam pleasure boats between Norwich and the Woods End at Bramerton. The passengers greatly enjoyed this activity and would throw spare change to him on arrival in Norwich.

He would sing: “My name is Billy Bluelight, my age is 45, I hope to get to Carrow Road before the boat arrives.”

Billy Bluelight

Billy was strictly tee-total, and it’s thought that his Bluelight name may have come from the Victorian word for someone who didn’t drink.  His real name was William Cullum.

A statue in his memory can be seen at Bramerton near Norwich (currently sporting a mask!) and a bench with his name is at Riverside in the city.

The Museum continues to bring stories of the Broads alive. 

We hope to re-open in late July (see website and social media for up to date news) and can’t wait to welcome you back into our re-designed and safe museum. 

In the meantime, we are working on creating a Virtual Museum on our website, with inspiring artworks by Jo Couldrey to recreate at home. 

Her glove puppet Coypu (pictured) is just fantastic!

Thank you to Arts Council England for funding us. For more, visit

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