From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
Cromer Church 23rd Oct 2007.jpg
Cromer Parish Church
Grid reference: TG219422
Location: 52°55’52"N, 1°18’7"E
Population: 7,749
Post town: Cromer
Postcode: NR27
Dialling code: 01263
Local Government
Council: North Norfolk
North Norfolk

Cromer is a coastal town in northern Norfolk, 23 miles north of the county town, Norwich.

Cromer became a resort in the early-19th century when some of the rich Norwich banking families made it their summer home. Visitors included the future King Edward VII, who played golf here. The resort's facilities included the late-Victorian Cromer Pier, which is home to the Pavilion Theatre. In 1883 the London journalist Clement Scott went to Cromer and began to write about the area. He named the stretch of coastline, particularly the Overstrand and Sidestrand area, "Poppyland",[1] and the combination of the railway and his writing in the national press brought many visitors. The name "Poppyland" referred to the numerous poppies which grew (and still grow) at the roadside and in meadows.

Notable buildings

  • The Church of St Peter and St Paul

Since the 14th century the parish church has been in the centre of the town. However, after falling into disrepair it was rebuilt in the late 19th century by architect, Arthur Blomfield. At 160 feet 4 inches the church tower is the highest in the county. Also, of note are the vast stained glass windows which commemorate various members of the Cromer lifeboat crew and other features of the resort.[2][3]

  • Hotel de Paris

Originally built in 1820 as a marine residence for Lord Suffield. In 1830 the building was converted into a hotel by Pierre le Francois. Norfolk born architect George Skipper extensively remodelled the building between 1895–96.[4] Today (2010), the hotel which occupies an elevated location overlooking the town's pier still provides accommodation to visitors.[5]

  • Cromer Hall

Located to the south of the town in Hall Lane. The original hall was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1829, in a Gothic Revival style, by Norfolk architect William John Donthorne. Henry Baring, of the Baring banking family, acquired the estate around this time. Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer was born at the hall in 1841. Today (2010), the building is the home of the Cabbell Manners family.

In 1901, author Arthur Conan Doyle was a guest at Cromer Hall. After hearing the legend of the Black Shuck, he is thought to have been inspired to write the classic novel The Hound of the Baskervilles.[6]

  • Cromer Town Hall

The two storey building with five bays was designed by George Skipper and completed in 1890.[4] Today the building is used for commercial purposes.

Tourism and the town today

Tourism is an important part of the local economy with the town a popular resort and a touring base for the surrounding area. Accommodation of all types is available in around Cromer. The town centre offers a wide range of privately owned shops and well known high street retailers. Adjacent to the railway station is a large supermarket and other retail outlets. Amenities in the town include a good selection of restaurants, several public houses, theatre and a cinema.[7] Outside of the historic town centre Pevsner described the late Victorian architecture as "Principal developments belong to the 1890s. Stylistic elements derived from the Chateaux of the Loire Valley"

Visitor attractions in the town include the Cromer Museum. The building is adjacent to the parish church and partially housed in a late 19th century fisherman's cottage. Opened in 1978, the museum includes a Geology Gallery, bones from the West Runton elephant, picture gallery and a collection of historic photographs and illustrations which chart the history of the town.[8] Close to the town's pier the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum RNLI is housed inside the early 21st century Rocket House . The museum with the lifeboat as its centrepiece illustrates the history of the town's lifeboats and Henry Blogg's most famous rescues.[9]

Sport and leisure

Cromer Cricket Club are one of the oldest clubs in the county and are based at the Norton Warnes Cricket Ground. The club currently play in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division.[10]

Cromer crab

The town is famous for the Cromer crab, which forms the major source of income for the local fishermen. The town had grown up as a fishing station over the centuries and became a year-round fishery, with crabs and lobsters in the summer, drifting for longshore herring in the autumn and long-lining, primarily for cod, in the winter, when weather permitted. The pattern of fishing has changed over the last thirty years, and it is now almost completely focused on crabs and lobsters. At the end of the 19th century, the beaches to the east and west of the pier were crowded with fishing boats. Now, about ten boats ply their trade from the foot of the gangway on the east beach, with shops in the town selling fresh crab, whenever the boats go to sea.


The fishermen also crewed Cromer's two lifeboats. Most famous of the lifeboatmen was Henry Blogg, who received the RNLI gold medal for heroism three times, and the silver medal four times. Cromer lifeboat station was founded in 1804, the first in Norfolk. Rowing lifeboats were stationed there through the 19th century.

In the 1920s a lifeboat station was built at the end of the pier, enabling a motor lifeboat to be launched beyond the breakers. A number of notable rescues carried out between 1917 and 1941 made the lifeboat and the town well-known throughout the United Kingdom and further afield. The area covered by the station is large, as there a long run of coastline with no harbour – Great Yarmouth is 40 miles by sea to the south east and the restricted harbour of Wells next the Sea 25 miles to the west. Today the offshore lifeboat on the pier performs about a dozen rescues a year, with about the same number for the inshore lifeboat stationed on the beach.


Further reading

  • Cromer – Chronicle of a Watering Place, Warren, M., Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Third edn. 2001, ISBN 0-946148-55-4
  • The Cromer Lifeboats, Malster, R., Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Fourth Edn., 1994, ISBN 0-946148-21-X
  • Poppyland – Strands of Norfolk History, Stibbons and Cleveland, Fourth Edn., 2001, ISBN 0-946148-17-1
  • Cromer Lifeboats 1804-2004, Leach, Nicholas & Russell, Paul, Tempus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7524-3197-8


  1. Poppyland - Strands of Norfolk History, Stibbons and Cleveland, Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Fourth ed. 2001, ISBN 0-946148-56-2
  2. The church of St Peter and St Paul. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  3. Norfolk churches. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pevsner, Nikolaus; Pevsner and wilson (1997). Buildings of England: Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. Penguin. pp. 441–445. ISBN 0300096070. 
  5. Hotel de Paris. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  6. Literary Norfolk. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  7. Cinema. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  8. Cromer museum Retrieved
  9. The RNLI Henry Blogg museum. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  10. Cromer Cricket Club. Retrieved 22 February 2010.

Outside links