Albion was built in 1898 - unusually - as a carvel wherry in oak on oak frames, by William Brighton, Lake Lothing, Suffolk (between Oulton Broad and Lowestoft) for Bungay Maltsters WD and AE Walker. All other trading wherries in East Anglia were clinker built. Albion's first load was coal from Lowestoft to Bungay.
Albion was bought by the General Steam navigation company in the Thirties, and later she became a lighter until she was discovered by the Trust in 1949.
In February 1949, a letter in the Eastern Daily Press suggested the forming of a trust to preserve a wherry. The fifty year old wherry Albion was then owned by Colman's Mustard factory and was moored at the company's works at Carrow Bridge in Norwich. In October 1949, after restoration work, Albion sailed regularly from Great Yarmouth to Norwich, carrying timber or grain, and sugar beet from Surlingham to Cantley.
However, freight alone could not sustain Albion, and from 1961, she carried passengers. In 1981 The Norfolk Wherry Trust acquired a base at Womack Water near Ludham. During 1997, the black-sailed ex-trader Albion carried 648 persons; she can carry 12 people plus skipper and mate.