Cromer ‘Walkers are Welcome’ Town
- The current church replaced a smaller church about 1377, taking some 60 years to complete.
- The chancel was blown-up in 1681 to avoid cost of upkeep. As with many churches, the 18th century saw further deterioration, the only usable part being the Tower, they sold the bells in 1767 to repair the nave roof.. The Victorian and Edwardian periods led to considerable work of restoration, congregations were said to number 1500 (one assumes at a variety of services). Today it has one or the largest congregations in Norfolk, not quite1500.
- Records show a pier of sorts existed since 1391 – initially of timber, subsequently iron – each was to suffer damage – none were thought to be profitable.
- Present structure 1901 – The then Commissioners sought to embed all that was best in pier design and to exclude everything that would lower the tone – trade advertisements, automatic machines, drinking bars and shops. In the 30’s an Amusement arcade developed, but subsequent storm damage, decision made not to replace. Entry to the Pier by payment: 1d, 4d if band paying. !976 1/-, free 1984.
- Old photographs show this as a popular street down which residents and visitors would promenade from Church to Sea front.
Hotel de Paris
- Originally built in 1820 as a residence for Lord Suffield, sold in 1831 and bought by a former French refugee Pierre le Francois to be converted into a Hotel. Changes of ownership and incorporation of other buildings, Skipper a well known Norwich Architect redesigned the hotel in 1895 to how it looks today. Currently owned by a Coach touring Company
Lower Tucker Hotel Annexe
- Originally connected by underground passageway to the main hotel. The most famous resident was Elizabeth, Empress of Austria who resided here in 1887. She suffered from paranoia and there are many tales of her requirements a) fresh milk; b) bathing attendant to mention but two. Her fears were realised, but not in Cromer. At the top of this three storey building can be seen a bay window – it is now a private apartment, the Look Out. The Coastguard used this as a temporary lookout point, when the Watch House lease was not renewed.
The Bath House
- Originally built as a Reading Room in 1814, following a storm, the current structure was built by Simeon Simons in 1836 offering Hot or Cold seawater baths. Extended it became licensed hotel in 1874 and through various changes until 1990’s. Returning to private ownership. It is said to be haunted by a woman, moving heavy furniture to save it from the storm that destroyed the original building.
The Watch House
- The Coastguard took Webb’s house, it was rebuilt 1830’s and formed the Lookout until 1895, when the least was terminated, and the Watch was maintained from the nearby Rocket House, then moving to the third floor of the Lower Tucker Annexe. Originally, the Coastguard was an anti-smuggling organisation, only assuming its current role in the Victorian period. Later we will pass the final Coastguard Watch-point, a WW2 gun direction placement it became the lookout for some years, but has been closed for the past twenty years or so and is now a holiday home.
- The eastern Beck created a cutting and this was exploited by fishermen and vessels that beached and off loaded their cargo, to be taken away by horse and dray. The Gangway whilst conceived as a means of easily getting coal off the beach…it only took its current form in the mid/late 19th century. The coming of the Railways put paid to the coal trade and the subsequent track was used by fishermen and the Bathing Machine operators.
The Rocket House
- Home to the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum. Above the museum is the Rocket House Cafe. Cromer was at the forefront in the development of a Lifeboat service, starting in 1805, it was the first in Norfolk. The RNLI only formed in 1824, eventually took over the service. Initially, oared and it wasn’t until 1923 that the first motor lifeboat. From then on Cromer had two lifeboats – one of which became an inshore boat as from 1967. Cromer’s most famous son, Henry Blogg was coxswain from 1909 to 1947. His story and that of the Cromer lifeboat service can be seen within the museum, which is dedicated to his memory and was built as part of the Cromer Regeneration Scheme.
- Known locally as the Warren – certainly the land lent itself to rearing of rabbits, but the only known Warrener operated to the West of the town on the Cromer Hall Estate. There were Lime Kilns and a Brick Works on the land.
- The earliest warning light was probably a fire lit in the Church tower, however in 1674 Sir John Clayton built a tower, but Trinity House did not co-operate and it was abandoned in 1678, probably lost over the cliff around 1700. Another venture was first lit in September 1719, coal fired inside a glass lantern. It was said to show net annual profits of between £2/3,000pa. Massive cliff falls panicked them into building the existing lighthouse. Initially oil burning, it required 30 oil lamps, that needed trimming every three hours. Converted to gas in 1905 and a combination of gas and electricity in 1935, the old reflectors (the last in England replaced by prismatic reflectors. Automated in 1982.
Royal Cromer Golf Club
- Royal Patronage by Edward VII and George V and many other famous names. The Golf course and its associated Royal Links hotel opened in 1895. The latter suffered the fate of other hotels in the area and burnt down in 1949. Cromer hosted the first ever golf Championship between Britain and the USA – A Ladies match, Britain won!
- Was an exhibit in the Paris Exhibition 1901, dismantled and re-erected on a 4 acre site in 1901/2 by an intimate friend of Edward VII; Sir George Henry Lewis. He died 1911 and subsequently it became a hotel, but as happened to the Royal Links, it burnt down in 1951. The land was eventually redeveloped as a residential area, Danish House Gardens.
- The present Hall was rebuilt in 1899 to a design by Edwin Lutyens. It became a WW1 Convalescent home for a short period, and is now a field study centre.
The Pleasaunce – “a garden with open walkways where ladies and gentlemen may take the airs”
- Lord and Lady Battersea bought two neighbouring cottages and instructed Lutyens to create a suitable home – complete with Cricket ground (now the Village ground) and a nice line in lookout towers (just out of picture).
- Built for Sir Edgar Speyer, a philanthropist as a holiday home in 1912. He was born in the USA of German parents. During WW1 he was accused, wrongly, of signalling to German U-boats. He was Chairman of the original London Underground Company. He is credited with saving the Proms from disaster and organising the funding of Scott’s Antarctic Expeditions – he went back to the States, never to return to Norfolk. It became a care home before converting to a hotel in the 1990’s.
- Mill House, home to the Miller’s daughter Louie Jermy !864 – 1934.
- In 1883 A Telegraph reporter was sent to report on the newly opened extension of the railway to Cromer. He stayed at Mill House and over succeeding years a host of famous men stayed in Poppyland, a name made famous by Scott.
- The Garden of Sleep
On the grass of the cliff, at the edge of the steep,
God planted a garden – a garden of sleep!
‘Neath the blue of sky, in the green of the corn,
It is there that the regal red poppies are born!
Brief days of desire, and long dreams of delight,
They are mine when Poppy-Land cometh in sight.
In music of distance, with eyes that are wet,
It is there I remember, and there I forget!
O! heart of my heart! where the poppies are born,
I am waiting for thee, in the hush of the corn.
From the Cliff to the Deep!
Sleep, my Poppy-Land,
In my garden of sleep, where red poppies are spread,
I wait for the living, alone with the dead!
For a tower in ruins stands guard o’er the deep,
At whose feet are green graves of dear women asleep!
Did they love as I love, when they lived by the sea?
Did they wait as I wait, for the days that may be?
Was it hope or fulfilling that entered each breast,
Ere death gave release, and the poppies gave rest?
O! life of my life! on the cliffs by the sea,
By the graves in the grass, I am waiting for thee!
In the Dews of the Deep!
Sleep, my Poppy-Land,
- The Pilgrim’s Shelter might look old, but was built between the wars, by the Vicar, Reverend Reginald Page as a memorial to his parents.
- Trimingham Church – St John the Baptist’s Head, unusual name – but what is also remarkable are the carvings – all done by Revd. Page: the Pulpit, War Memorial and even his own Memorial – he left nothing to chance.