Cromer (/ˈkroʊmər/ KROH-mər) is a coastal town and civil parish on
the north coast of the
English county of Norfolk. It is
approximately 23 miles (37 km) north of the county town of
Norwich and 4 miles (6.4 km) east of
Sheringham on the North Sea
coastline. The local government authority is North
Council, whose headquarters is in Holt Road in the town. The civil
parish has an area of 4.66 km2 (1.80 sq mi) and at the
2011 census had a population of 7,683.
The town is notable as a traditional tourist resort and for the Cromer
crab, which forms the major source of income for local
fishermen. The motto Gem of the
Norfolk Coast is highlighted on the
town's road signs.
3 Culture and community
4.1 Lifeboat station
7 Sport and leisure
8 Cultural references
9 Notable people
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Cromer is not mentioned in the
Domesday Book of 1086. The place-name
'Cromer' is first found in a will of 1262 and could mean 'Crows'
mere or lake'. There are other contenders for the derivation, a
north country word 'cromer' meaning 'a gap in the cliffs' or less
likely a direct transfer from a Danish placename.
It is reasonable to assume that the present site of Cromer, around the
parish church of Saints Peter and Paul, is what was in 1337 called
Shipden-juxta-Felbrigg, and by the end of the 14th century known as
Cromer. A reference to a place called Crowemere Shipden can be seen
in a legal record, dated 1422, (1 Henry VI), the home of John Gees.
The other Shipden is now about a quarter of a mile to the north east
of the end of
Cromer Pier, under the sea. Its site is marked by Church
Rock, now no longer visible, even at a low spring tide. In 1888 a
small pleasure steamer called Victoria struck the remains of the
church tower, and the rock was subsequently blown up for safety. In
the present day, members of
Great Yarmouth sub-aqua club dived at the
site, and salvaged artefacts from both the medieval church and the
wreck of Victoria.
A late 19th-century postcard of the view from the East Cliff
Cromer became a resort in the early 19th century, with some of the
Norwich banking families making 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
"Poppyland", 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.
Cromer suffered several bombing raids during the Second World War.
Shortly after one raid,
Cromer featured as the location for an episode
of "An American In England", written by
Norman Corwin with the
narrator staying in the Red Lion Hotel and retelling several local
accounts of life in the town at wartime. The radio play first aired in
the United States on 1 December 1942 on the CBS/Columbia Workshop
programme starring Joe Julian. The account mentions some of the
effects of the war on local people and businesses and the fact that
the town adopted a Bangor-class minesweeper, HMS Cromer.
On 5 December 2013 the town was affected by a storm surge which caused
significant damage to the town's pier and seafront.
In 2016, the
Cromer shoal chalk beds, thought to be Europe's largest
chalk reef, were officially designated as a Marine Conservation
Cromer was a fishing town. 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.
Tourism developed in the town during the Victorian period and is now
an important part of the local economy. The town is a popular
resort and acts as a touring base for the surrounding area. The
coastal location means that beach holidays and fishing are important,
with the beach and pier being major draws. Visitor attractions
within the town include
Cromer Pier and the Pavilion Theatre on the
pier. Close to the town's pier the
Henry Blogg Museum is housed
inside the early 21st century Rocket House. The museum has the Cromer
Lifeboat H F Bailey III (ON 777) as its centrepiece and illustrates
the history of the town's lifeboats and lifeboatman Henry Blogg's most
The South American themed Amazona zoo park opened to the public in
2006 and is to the south of the town. The park covers 10 acres
(40,000 m2) of former brick kilns and woodland on the outskirts
of the town and includes animals including jaguar and puma.
Culture and community
For one week in August the town celebrates its Carnival Week. The
event's 40th anniversary was held in 2009. Attractions included the
carnival queen competition, parade of floats and a fancy dress
competition. The highlight of the week was an over-the-sea aerial
display by the Red Arrows.
Cromer is twinned with Nidda,
Germany and Crest, France. The town has
Air Training Corps
Air Training Corps Squadron and an
Army Cadet Force
Army Cadet Force Platoon, based
Cromer High School.
The town has a Friday market and a number of independent retailers in
Cromer Hospital provides services across the North
Norfolk area. It includes a minor injuries unit and is run by the
Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Cromer Museum opened in 1978 and is housed in a former fisherman's
cottage adjacent to the parish church on Church Street. The museum
Norfolk County Council contain items relating to the
history of Cromer, including paintings and
Poppyland china. It has two
permanent galleries on the pioneering photographer,
Olive Edis -
Britain's first female war photographer. A mock-up of a Victorian
cottage and galleries contain geology and fossil remnants of the area
which include part of the
West Runton Mammoth.
Cromer stands between stretches of coastal cliffs which, to the east,
are up to 70 metres (230 ft) high. According to palaeontologist
Dr James Neenan, from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History,
the cliffs are part of a
Norfolk coastline area rich in Pleistocene
fossils. In 2017 a prehistoric rhino was found in West Runton, dating
back 700,000 years to the Cromerian Interglacial.
Cromer Pier dominates the sea front and is 151 metres (495 ft)
long. It features the Pavilion Theatre and dates from 1901. Cromer
Lighthouse stands on the cliffs to the east of the town. The tower is
18 metres (59 ft) tall. and stands 81 metres (266 ft) above
sea level. The light has a range of 21 nautical miles (24 mi).
Cromer Parish Church
The Church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 14th century and is
in the centre of the town. After falling into disrepair it was rebuilt
in the late 19th century by architect, Arthur Blomfield. At
160 ft 4 in (48.87 m) the
Bell tower is the highest in
the county. Also, of note are the vast stained glass windows which
commemorate various members of the lifeboat crew and other features of
The Hotel de Paris was originally built in 1820 as a coastal 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 and 1896. Today (2010), the
hotel which occupies an elevated location overlooking the town's pier
still provides accommodation to visitors. Other notable hotels
include the 17th century Red Lion Hotel, the Victorian Sandcliff Hotel
and the Edwardian Cliftonville Hotel.
Cromer Hall is located to the south of the town in Hall Road. The
original hall was destroyed by fire and was 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
Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer
Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer was born at the hall in
1841. In 2010 the building was the home of the Cabbell Manners
family. In 1901, author
Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle was a guest at the
hall. After hearing the legend of the Black Shuck, a ghostly black
dog, he is thought to have been inspired to write the classic novel
The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Cromer Lifeboat Station
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.
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 is a long
run of coastline with no harbour –
Great Yarmouth is 40 miles
(65 km) by sea to the south east and the restricted harbour of
Wells next the Sea
Wells next the Sea 25 miles (40 km) 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
Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent officially named the town's new lifeboat, Lester, in
a ceremony on 8 September 2008.
The railway came to
Cromer in 1877 with the opening of
railway station by the Great Eastern Railway. Ten years later a second
Cromer Beach, was opened by the Midland and Great Northern
Joint Railway bringing visitors from the East Midlands. The second
station, now known simply as Cromer, remains. Direct services were
operated from London, Manchester, Leicester, Birmingham, Leeds,
Peterborough and Sheffield, but today a service between
Sheringham on the
Bittern Line is all that remains. The closed Cromer
tunnel linked the Beach station with the
Mundesley line to the east.
It was the only railway tunnel to be built in Norfolk.
Bus and coach services are provided by several companies which link
the town to destinations including Norwich, Sheringham, Holt, King's
Lynn and Cambridge. The A140 links to Norwich, the A148 (direct)
and A149 (coast road) to King's Lynn, and the A149 to the Norfolk
Broads and Great Yarmouth. The B1159 is a coastal road out towards
The nearest airport is
Norwich International Airport. There is a
private airfield 3 miles (4.8 km) south east of the town at
Cromer Academy is the town's only high school. It educates children
aged 11 to 16. For sixth-form education, children travel to
Paston College in North Walsham, or Norwich. The town also
has a junior school educating children from 5 to 11 years of age.
Sport and leisure
Cromer has sports clubs and leisure facilities. Situated on the cliffs
between the town and
Overstrand to the east, the Royal
Club was founded in 1888 and given royal status by the Prince of
Wales, one of the founding members, in the same year. The
course was originally designed by Old Tom Morris and hosted
British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship in 1905, before which an
unofficial match was held between British and American ladies, the
first international golf match to be played. The club,
which is the second oldest in Norfolk, has hosted PGA events.
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
Norfolk Alliance Premier Division. Cabbell Park has been the
Cromer Town F.C.
Cromer Town F.C. since 1922. The long established club play in
the Premier Division of the Anglian Combination. The town's tennis
and squash courts are located at
Norwich Road and are open to the
Norfolk Coast Path passes through the town and is also the
termination of the Weavers' Way. The 92 miles (148 km) Norfolk
Coast Cycleway runs parallel to the coast and passes through a mixture
of quiet roads and country lanes to link the town with
Kings Lynn to
the west and
Great Yarmouth in the east.
Sea angling is popular and mixed catches including cod can be made
from the town's beaches. The pier provides the opportunity to capture
specimen sized bass. Established in 2007, the North
Lifesaving Club (North
Norfolk SLSC) has its clubhouse on the town's
Surfing is also carried out on the town's beaches
close to the pier. Equipment and lessons can be hired in season.
The town is featured as a location in the novels Emma by Jane Austen
and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Jane Austen Chapter XII
You should have gone to Cromer, my dear, if you went anywhere. Perry
was a week at
Cromer once, and he holds it to be the best of all the
seabathing places. A fine open sea, he says, and very pure air. And,
by what I understand, you might have had lodgings there quite away
from the sea quarter of a mile off, very comfortable. You should have
North and South by
Elizabeth Gaskell Chapter XLIX
There was no Spain for Margaret that autumn; although to the last she
hoped that some fortunate occasion would call Frederick to Paris,
whither she could easily have met with a convoy. Instead of Cadiz, she
had to content herself with Cromer. To that place her aunt Shaw and
the Lennoxes were bound. They had all along wished her to accompany
them, and, consequently, with their characters, they made but lazy
efforts to forward her own separate wish. Perhaps
Cromer was, in one
sense of the expression, the best for her. She needed bodily
strengthening and bracing as well as rest.
Edward Lear includes a limerick about
Cromer in his Book of
Monty Python episode first shown in 1970 (Series 2, Episode 9,
Skit: Cosmetic Surgery), the name on the "desk" of Professor Sir Sir
Adrian Furrows indicates that the character has a B.Sc from, among
sundry other places, Cromer.
In The Three Doctors, a 1972–1973 serial in the long-running BBC
television series Doctor Who, the doctor's ally, Brigadier
Lethbridge-Stewart mistakes the surface of an alien planet for the
town, famously uttering, "I'm fairly sure that's Cromer". Actor
Nicholas Courtney improvised the line, name-checking the place
where he got his first professional job as an actor-cum-assistant
Filming took place in the town during November 2014 of the
series Partners in Crime.
Edward Bach, creator of Bach flower remedies
Henry Blogg, greatest of the lifeboatmen
Benjamin Bond Cabbell, politician and philanthropist
Henry "Shrimp" Davies, longest-serving coxswain of the lifeboat
Emily Wilding Davison, women's rights campaigner.
James Dyson, creator of Dyson vacuum cleaners
John Henry Gurney, banker and amateur ornithologist
John Hurt, veteran actor had a home close to the town
Charles William Peach, British naturalist and geologist
Malcolm Sayer, designer for
Keith Skipper, journalist and author.
Simon Thomas, television presenter
Liam Walsh, the boxer is based in the town.
Charles Mayes Wigg, artist
Cromer, New South Wales - the suburb in Sydney, Australia named after
^ Ordnance Survey, Explorer Sheet 252,
Norfolk Coast East,
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Norfolk - Protection wanted for
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on Google Books 2015-08-23
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Media related to
Cromer at Wikimedia Commons
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Cromer.
Cromer Town Council
Cromer Literary History
Ceremonial county of Norfolk
Boroughs or districts
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Redenhall with Harleston
Thorpe St Andrew
See also: List of civil parishes in Norfolk
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Civil parishes of North Norfolk
Alby with Thwaite
Aldborough and Thurgarton
Burgh and Tuttington
Cley next the Sea
Letheringsett with Glandford
King's Lynn and West Norfo