For other uses, see Cromer (disambiguation).

Cromer Parish Church
 Cromer shown within Norfolk
Area  4.66 km2 (1.80 sq mi)
Population 7,683 (2011 census)
    density  1,649/km2 (4,270/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTG219422
DistrictNorth Norfolk
Shire countyNorfolk
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town CROMER
Postcode district NR27
Dialling code 01263
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK ParliamentNorth Norfolk
List of places

Coordinates: 52°55′52″N 1°18′07″E / 52.931°N 1.302°E / 52.931; 1.302

Cromer is a coastal town and civil parish on the north coast of the English county of Norfolk.[1] It is 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 Norfolk District 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.[2]

The town is notable as a traditional tourist resort and for the Cromer crab,[3][4] 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.[5]


Cromer is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The place-name 'Cromer' is first found in a will of 1262[6] and could mean 'Crows' mere or lake'.[7] 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.[6] 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.[8] 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 vessel struck the rock, and the rock was subsequently blown up for safety.

Cromer became a resort in the early 19th century, with some of the rich 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 Overstrand and Sidestrand area, "Poppyland",[9] 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[10] and retelling several local accounts of life in the town at wartime. The radio play first aired in the USA 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 minesweeper, HMS Cromer, a Bangor class minesweeper.[11]

On 5 December 2013 the town was affected by a storm surge which caused significant damage to the town's pier and seafront.[12]

In 2016, the Cromer shoal chalk beds, thought to be Europe's largest chalk reef, were officially designated as a Marine Conservation Zone.[13]


Traditionally Cromer was a fishing town. The town is famous for the Cromer crab,[14][15] 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.[16][17]

Tourism developed in the town during the Victorian period and is now an important part of the local economy.[18] 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.[18] Visitor attractions within the town include Cromer Pier and the Pavilion Theatre on the pier. Cromer Museum opened in 1978 and includes a geology gallery which includes the bones from the West Runton elephant. Close to the town's pier the RNLI 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 famous rescues.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

Cromer is twinned with Nidda, Germany and Crest, France. The town has an Air Training Corps Squadron and an Army Cadet Force Platoon, based at Cromer High School.

The town has a Friday market and a number of independent retailers in its centre.[18] Cromer Hospital provides services across the North Norfolk area. It includes a minor injuries unit and is run by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


Cromer stands between stretches of coastal cliffs which, to the east, are up to 70 metres (230 ft) high. 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).

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 resort.[22][23]

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.[24] Today (2010), the hotel which occupies an elevated location overlooking the town's pier still provides accommodation to visitors.[25] 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 Lane. 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 this time. 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.[26] In 1901, author 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.[27]

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. 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 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 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 beach.

The Duke of Kent officially named the town's new lifeboat the Lester in a ceremony on 8 September 2008.[28]


The railway came to Cromer in 1877 with the opening of Cromer High railway station by the Great Eastern Railway. Ten years later a second station, 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 Norwich and 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.[29] 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 Mundesley.

The nearest airport is Norwich International Airport. There is a private airfield 3 miles (4.8 km) south east of the town at Northrepps Aerodrome.


Cromer Academy is the town's only high school. It educates children aged 11 to 16. For sixth-form education, children travel to Sheringham, 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 Cromer Golf Club was founded in 1888 and given royal status by the Prince of Wales, one of the founding members, in the same year.[30][31][32] The course was originally designed by Old Tom Morris[30][31] and hosted the 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 player.[30][33][34] The club, which is the second oldest in Norfolk, has hosted PGA events.[35]

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.[36] Cabbell Park has been the home of Cromer Town F.C. since 1922. The long established club play in the Premier Division of the Anglian Combination.[37] The town's tennis and squash courts are located at Norwich Road and are open to the public.[38]

Two long distance footpaths terminate in the town: the Norfolk Coast Path and 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.[39]

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.[40] Established in 2007, the North Norfolk Surf Lifesaving Club (North Norfolk SLSC) has its clubhouse on the town's main promenade.[41] Surfing is also carried out on the town's beaches close to the pier. Equipment and lessons can be hired in season.[42]

Cultural references

The town is featured as a location in the novels Emma by Jane Austen and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Emma by 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 consulted Perry.[43]

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 features a limerick about Cromer in his Book of Nonsense.[44]

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".[45] Actor Nicholas Courtney improvised the line,[46] name-checking the place where he got his first professional job as an actor-cum-assistant stage manager.[47]

Filming took place in the town during November 2014 of the BBC 1 series Partners in Crime.[48]

Notable people

Media related to Cromer at Wikimedia Commons

See also


  1. Ordnance Survey, Explorer Sheet 252, Norfolk Coast East, ISBN 978-0-319-46726-8
  2. "Town population 2011". Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  3. Cromer Crab
  4. Protection wanted for Cromer Crab
  5. Gem of the Norfolk coast. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  6. 1 2 "Cromer medieval history". Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. Eilert Ekwall, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.131.
  8. Plea Roll of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; 4th complete entry, containing "Norff" in the margin.
  9. Poppyland - Strands of Norfolk History, Stibbons and Cleveland, Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Fourth ed. 2001, ISBN 0-946148-56-2
  10. The Red Lion Hotel. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  11. An American In England: Cromer
  12. EDP report Retrieved 9 December 2013
  13. EDP news item Retrieved 19 January 2016
  14. Cromer Crab
  15. Protection wanted for Cromer Crab
  16. Cromer Online Cromer Crab
  17. Cromer Crabs and More
  18. 1 2 3 Market Towns Survey, 2013, Norfolk County Council, 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  19. The RNLI Henry Blogg museum. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  20. Amazona zoo park. Retrieved 17 February.
  21. Cromer carnival. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  22. The church of St Peter and St Paul. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  23. Norfolk churches. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  24. Pevsner, Nikolaus; Wilson, Bill (1997). Buildings of England: Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. Penguin. pp. 441–445. ISBN 0-300-09607-0.
  25. Hotel de Paris. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  26. Literary Norfolk
  27. Literary Norfolk. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  28. North Norfolk News report. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  29. Public transport from Cromer. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  30. 1 2 3 Royal Cromer Golf Club, Today's Golfer. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  31. 1 2 Royal Cromer, England, Top 100 golf courses. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  32. Royal Cromer golf club. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  33. McKinley.S.L, The vital weapons for the hunt, The Glasgow Herald, 1961--5-08 (available online). Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  34. Mallon.B, Jerris.R, Historical Dictionary of Golf p.xxvi. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  35. Region’s stars are set for Royal Cromer Golf Club challenge, Eastern Daily Press, 24 May 2013. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  36. Cromer Cricket Club. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  37. Cromer Town Football Club. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  38. Cromer Lawn tennis club. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  39. Norfolk Coast Cycleway. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  40. Sea fishing. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  41. North Norfolk Lifesavers Retrieved 18 January 2012
  42. Surfing in Cromer Retrieved 6 March 2012
  43. Jane Austen society. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  44. Lear, Edward (1846). A Book of Nonsense. London: Thomas McLean.
  45. BBC Doctor Who website. The Fourth Dimension: The Day of the Doctor.
  46. 'Another time I put in a line was during “The Three Doctors,” when the Brigadier looks out onto this alien landscape and says, “I'm fairly sure that's Cromer.”' Nicholas Courtney interview, The Brig Remembered by Alan Stevens. This interview previously appeared in Celestial Toyroom Issue 400.
  47. Nicholas Courtney's obituary. The Telegraph. 23 Feb 2011.
  48. Eastern Daily Press news report Retrieved 8 April 2015
  49. Google books Retrieved 17 August 2014
  50. EDP news report Retrieved 15 March 2012
  51. EDP article Retrieved 12 October 2014
  52. News report Retrieved 21 March 2012

Further reading

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Cromer.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.