It would be difficult to find anything more traditional than the boatyard at Norbury Junction. Old waterways buildings surround a traditional wharf with cranes and a lovely Shropshire Union bridge leads the way north.
The business is traditional as well, a hire fleet, day boats, a trip boat, a paint shop, dry dock and chandlery, everything for the boater, in fact.
Yet Norbury Wharf Limited is not so much diesel-powered these days as internet-powered, according to Managing Director Simon Jenkins.
He said: “Over the past few years we have found that our business has had to become more and more responsive to the demands of the electronic age. Our customers want to do business online and we now try to duplicate many of the things we do here in the electronic world.
“Apart from a daily blog of our doings, we book our hire boats, day boats and even the trip boat using our new website. We are also active on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis to keep customers in touch with our latest deals and the price of our diesel.
“We now have videos of all our hire boats online with YouTube so that people can learn about their chosen boat even before they book it, as well as watch our instructional videos on boat handling.
“We produce a monthly electronic magazine that goes out to a long list of our subscribers and we even have a web-cam on the wharf so that our customers can watch us going about our business on their laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
“Of course you can't black a boat's bottom, service the engine or fill it with diesel electonically – although I sometimes wonder when it will happen – so customers also get the enjoyment of visiting us in these beautiful surroundings.”