Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cromer is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, but two other settlements are, Shipden-juxta-mere and Shipden-juxta-Felbrigg. It is reasonable to assume that the present site of Cromer, round the beautiful parish church of St Peter and St Paul, is what was then Shipden-juxta-Felbrigg. The other Shipden is now about four hundred metres 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 then blown up, so that it did not remain as a hazard to shipping.
Cromer became a select resort in the early 19th century, with a few of the rich Norwich banking families making it their summer home. In 1883 the London journalist Clement Scott, no doubt with the encouragement of the Great Eastern Railway Company, came to Cromer and began to write about the area. He named the stretch of coastline, particularly the Overstrand and Sidestrand area, 'Poppyland', and the combination of the railway and his writing in the national press brought many visitors.
The first railway had come in 1877, and ten years later a second station was opened, bringing visitors from the east midlands. Cromer was therefore a popular place to stay in the late 19th and early 20th century, boasting the two railway stations, Cromer High and Cromer Beach, of which the latter still remains. Although remote from London, Cromer had become a celebrated resort, including such visitors as the future King Edward VII, who played golf there. You can still play for the Prince of Wales Cup at the Royal Cromer Golf Club.
The town was, and is, famous for the Cromer Crab, which forms the major source of income for the town's fishermen. The town had grown up as a fishing station over the centuries, and into the 20th century it was 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 the weather permitted. The pattern of fishing has changed over the last thiry years, and it is now almost completely focussed on crabs and lobsters. From the beaches to the east and west of the pier being crowded with fishing boats at the end of the 19th century, about 10 boats now ply their trade from the foot of the gangway on the east beach. The Cromer Crab is a particular delicacy, and the sight of the fishing boats operating on and off the open beach forms an attration in itself. Four shops in town continue to operate and sell fresh crab - whenever the boats can get to sea.
The fishermen were also renowned for manning 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. The Cromer lifeboat station was founded in 1804, the first in Norfolk, and a series of rowing lifeboats was 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 througout the United Kingdom and further afield, and today the offshore lifeboat on the pier undertakes about a dozen services a year, with about the same number for the inshore lifeboat stationed on the beach. With 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 25 miles to the west - the town's lifeboats continue to offer valuable service.
- Cromer - Chronicle of a Watering Place, Warren, M., Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Third edn. 2001, ISBN 0946148554
- The Cromer Lifeboats, Malster, R., Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Fourth Edn., 1994, ISBN 094614821X
- Poppyland - Strands of Norfolk History, Stibbons and Cleveland, Fourth Edn., 2001, ISBN 0946148171
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