Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Taking A Walk Along Cromer's Seafront

Cromer is a coastal town in North Norfolk and has been a popular holiday resort since the early 19th Century. On a chilly, dull but dry day in December we set off for a walk along the seafront starting off from the car-park next to the bowling green.  At this point we are still on the top edge of the cliffs level with the coast road. The first couple of photos are of a quite ornate shelter with setting, which has been painted to blend in with the surroundings.  The bottom panels have been painted by Julia Bradbury, Matt Baker and Mik Richardson, and show items related to the area.


From here we get our first view of the impressive Pier and the promenade that runs along the seafront . You can also just make out the railing to an impressive flight of steps that takes you down to the promenade which we will go down shortly.  The seafront was remodelled and the sea walls and promenade were built at the end of the 19th Century by London Engineers Douglass and Arnott.


To our right is a very impressive Victorian building which has been converted into flats, it has a very impressive roof line and dormer windows, I love the way the dormer windows wind their way around the base of the pinnacles on the roof.


We have just walked down the impressive staircase that I had mentioned earlier.  I have chosen this view as it really show you how impressive the 95 steps look, yes 95, I had to count them.


Here is another example of beautiful Victorian architecture known as the Pavilion, the are seen here has seating with viewing area above which has a small building which used to be a cafe.


There have been some very hight tides and strong winds over the last few weeks, it could be that this crab pot has washed up on the beach after being lost overboard.


This area of coast line has Groynes used as coastal defences.


I managed to get a couple of shots of some of a couple of the Plovers which were trotting around on the walls.  They are fast little birds and quite a challenge to get in focus.  I particularly like this shot with the pier as a backdrop.


I did get some funny looks as I was taking this photo as the building houses public toilets, but again it is the architecture that caught my eye.  The toilets are grandly called the Melbourne Toilets as they are situated under the Melbourne Slope which takes you up to what was the Melbourne Hotel, which is now flats, a cafe and night club.


Lastly associated with the Melbourn theme is this small shelter situated next to the toilets and slope.


The Western House Hotel, this seems a very grand name for what looks like a small hotel, flanked buy the much larger Victorian looking properties either side.  I looked up the hotel here is the link if your interested http://westernhousecromer.co.uk.  I was very impressed with the shots of the interior.  What originally caught my eye in taking this picture was the entrance to what appears to be an old cellar which can be seen cut into the bank below the path which runs in front of the hotel.


We have now reached the famous focal point of Cromer's seafront which is it's Pier.  Records show that there has been a pier here in some form or another since 1391, although at first it was no more than a jetty.  In 1582 Queen Elizabeth I granted Cromer the rights to export wheat, barley and malt, and use then use the proceeds to finance the upkeep of the pier and town of Cromer.

In 1822 a long jetty of cast iron was constructed by Hase of Saxthorpe, but this only stood for 24 years before it was totally destroyed in a storm.

The jetty was then replace by another wooden structure and due to its popularity as a promenade a keeper was employed and the structure was better maintained so that it remained until 1897 when it was hit by a coal boat and damaged beyond repair.

For a period of time there was no pier until 1902 when a new structure was completed.  Originally there were glass screened shelters and a bandstand on the end of the pier.  In 1905 the shelters were altered into a pavilion, later the floor of the pavilion was covered in Maple to accommodate roller-skating which had become a popular past-time to be found on piers.

In 1923 the pier was extended to its current length due to the building of the lifeboat station on the end of the pier.


Unfortunately there have had to be countless other repairs done to the pier due to subsequent storm damage, and on our visit in December it had just been battered again and quite a bit of damage to the wooden walk way had been sustained.  You can see some of the safety fencing around the damage in this picture.


In this shot you can see the impressive looking building of the equally impressive sounding Hotel de Paris. There has been a hotel or boarding house on this site since the early 1830s and the name Hotel de Paris has been recorded since 1845.  The building was extended incorporating surroundings buildings in the 1890s.  Here is a link to the web site http://www.leisureplex.co.uk/hotels/22-De_Paris_Hotel_Cromer.html

In 1892 Oscar Wilde stayed at the hotel and was said to be working on his play 'A Woman Of No Importance'. Stephen Fry had a Christmas job as a waiter at the hotel while he was studying at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology at Kings Lynn.


I love the fact that you can still find these telescopes, even though I never see anyone using them.



One of the many things I like about piers is the ability to be able to see the coastline from out to see, which you can normally only do from a boat.


In this next shot you can just about make out one of the fishing boats coming in.


Here we can see the corner of the Hotel de Paris being watched over by the tower of the Church of St Peter and St Paul.  This church has been the central point of the town since the 14th Century.  It was rebuilt in the late 19th Century after falling into disrepair.  The church tower is the highest in the county standing at 160 ft 4 in (48.87 m).


At the end of the pier is the lifeboat station which is open for viewing.  There is a lot to see in here and to talk about so I will dedicate a separate blog post to this next.


We are now heading off the pier and carrying on along the seafront.


This tractor looks like it has had a hard working life!


Another one of the grand staircases taking you from the promenade up to the street level of town.


Here we can see the fishing boat that was heading in when we were on the pier.  They are already getting ready to head back out again after dropping off their catch.  Unfortunately we didn't get here soon enough to see what they had caught.


Because of how far the tide goes out on this stretch of beach the fishing boat has to be hauled in and out of the water by tractor.  No wonder  the two tractors we have seen look so rusty.  The seagulls here are keeping a watchful eye on the fishing boat too.


Here you can see some of the crab pots.  The plastic boy with the stick and flags are attached to the pots so the fishermen can see where the pots have been dropped.


Simple construction but effective.


It's not a quick job getting the fishing boat back out to sea.



The Lifeboat Cafe is a bustling place during the summer, a lovely place to sit and eat breakfast while watching the mornings catch being unloaded from the fishing boats.

For an afternoon treat you must try Parravanis Traditional Italian Ice Cream from the Beach Hut Next Door.  The Parravanis family have been making traditional Italian ice cream in Norfolk and Suffolk since 1898.  Here is a link to their web site http://www.parravanis.co.uk/


Well that's it, I hope you have enjoyed our walk along the seafront at Cromer, this is just a sample of things to be seen along here and the Town, well that is another story for another time.  Don't forget to join me for a look around the Lifeboat Station in my next blog post.  Thank You x

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