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For other uses, see Cromer (disambiguation).
Cromer Church 23rd Oct 2007.jpg
Cromer Parish Church
Cromer is located in Norfolk
 Cromer shown within Norfolk
Area  4.66 km2 (1.80 sq mi)
Population 7,749 (2001 census)
   – density  1,663/km2 (4,310/sq mi)
OS grid reference TG219422
District North Norfolk
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CROMER
Postcode district NR27
Dialling code 01263
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament North 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 in north Norfolk, England.[1] The local government authority is North Norfolk District Council, whose headquarters is in Holt Road in the town. The town is situated 23 miles (37 km) north of the county town, Norwich, and is 4 miles (6.5 km) east of Sheringham. The civil parish has an area of 4.66 km2 (1.80 sq mi) and in the 2001 census had a population of 7,749 people in 3,671 households.[2] The motto Gem of the Norfolk Coast is highlighted on the town's road signs.[3]


Cromer is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The place-name 'Cromer' is first attested in a will of 1262 and could mean 'Crows' mere or lake'.[4] 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 then[when?] Shipden-juxta-Felbrigg.[5] 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.[6] 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",[7] 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.

Second World War[edit]

Cromer suffered several bombing raids in this period. Shortly after one of these raids, 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 [8] 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.[9]

Notable buildings[edit]

  • 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 ft 4 in (48.87 m) the church 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.[10][11]

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 and 1896.[12] Today (2010), the hotel which occupies an elevated location overlooking the town's pier still provides accommodation to visitors.[13]

Located to the south of the town in Hall Lane. 52°55′37″N 1°17′37″E / 52.927°N 1.2937°E / 52.927; 1.2937 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. In 2010 the building was the home of the Cabbell Manners family.[14]

In 1901, author Arthur Conan Doyle was a guest at Cromer 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.[15]

  • Cromer Town Hall

The two-storey building with five bays was designed by George Skipper and completed in 1890.[12] Today (2010), the building is used for commercial purposes.

Tourism and the town today[edit]

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 and 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.[16] 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. The museum has had its grant from North Norfolk District Council halved, and will close for the first time in nearly 40 years over the winter of 2014/2015.[17] 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 Cromer Lifeboat H F Bailey III ON 777 as its centrepiece illustrates the history of the town's lifeboats and Henry Blogg's most famous rescues.[18] The Cromer Prospect public art scheme was installed in 2005/06 and was part of a wider £6.1 million refurbishment. Much of the work is centred on the granite compass on the pier's forecourt. Celebrating 200 years of Cromer lifeboats the installations 24 stones point in the direction of rescue missions.[19] After two years of development the South American themed Amazona zoo park opened to the public in 2006. The park covers 10 acres (40,000 m2) of former brick kilns and derelict woodland on the outskirts of the town. 52°55′03″N 1°17′53″E / 52.9176°N 1.298°E / 52.9176; 1.298 A wide range of animals including jaguar and puma can be viewed.[20] For one week in August the town celebrates its Carnival Week. The events 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] The North Norfolk Information Centre was opened in the town on 1 August 2008 by local writer Keith Skipper. The eco-friendly building uses underground heat source pumps and solar energy to provide 60% of its energy needs.[22][23] On 5 December 2013 the town was affected by a storm surge which caused significant damage to the town's pier and seafront.[24]

Sport and leisure[edit]


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.[25]


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.[26]

Lawn tennis and squash

The town's tennis and squash courts are located at Norwich Road and are open to the public.[27]


Situated on the cliffs between the town and Overstrand. The Royal Norfolk Golf Club was founded in 1888 and given royal status by the Prince of Wales in the same year.[28]


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.[29]

Sea angling

Mixed catches including cod can be made from the town's beaches. The pier provides the opportunity to capture specimen sized bass.[30]


Surfing is popular on the town's beaches close to the pier. Equipment and lessons can be hired in season.[31]


Established in 2007, the North Norfolk Surf Lifesaving Club (North Norfolk SLSC) has its clubhouse on the town's main promenade.[32]

Youth organisations[edit]

Transport connections[edit]

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.

Bus and coach services are provided by several companies which link the town to destinations including Norwich, Sheringham, Holt, King's Lynn and Cambridge.[33] 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 crab[edit]

The town is famous for the Cromer crab,[34][35] 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.[36][37]


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.[38]

The town in literature[edit]

The clones visit Cromer in the book's second section.[41]


Cromer is twinned with the following towns;

Notable people[edit]


Media related to Cromer at Wikimedia Commons

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey, Explorer Sheet 252, Norfolk Coast East, ISBN 978-0-319-46726-8
  2. ^ "Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes" (Excel spreadsheet). Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 2005-12-02. 
  3. ^ Gem of the Norfolk coast. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  4. ^ Eilert Ekwall, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.131.
  5. ^ "Cromer medieval history". Archived from the original on 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  6. ^ Plea Roll of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives;; 4th complete entry, containing "Norff" in the margin.
  7. ^ Poppyland - Strands of Norfolk History, Stibbons and Cleveland, Pub: Poppyland Publishing, Fourth ed. 2001, ISBN 0-946148-56-2
  8. ^ The Red Lion Hotel. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  9. ^ An American In England: Cromer
  10. ^ The church of St Peter and St Paul. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  11. ^ Norfolk churches. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  12. ^ a b Pevsner, Nikolaus; Wilson, Bill (1997). Buildings of England: Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. Penguin. pp. 441–445. ISBN 0-300-09607-0. 
  13. ^ Hotel de Paris. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  14. ^ Literary Norfolk
  15. ^ Literary Norfolk. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  16. ^ Cinema. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  17. ^ Cromer museum Retrieved
  18. ^ The RNLI Henry Blogg museum. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  19. ^ Cromer prospect[dead link]. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  20. ^ Amazona zoo park. Retrieved 17 February.
  21. ^ Cromer carnival. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  22. ^ North Norfolk Information Centre. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  23. ^ Keith Skipper opens Information Centre. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  24. ^ EDP report Retrieved 9 December 2013
  25. ^ Cromer Cricket Club. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  26. ^ Cromer Town Football Club. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  27. ^ Cromer Lawn tennis club. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  28. ^ Royal Norfolk golf club. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  29. ^ Norfolk Coast Cycleway. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  30. ^ Sea fishing. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  31. ^ Surfing in Cromer Retrieved 6 March 2012
  32. ^ North Norfolk Lifesavers Retrieved 18 January 2012
  33. ^ Public transport from Cromer. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  34. ^ Cromer Crab
  35. ^ Protection wanted for Cromer Crab
  36. ^ Cromer Online Cromer Crab
  37. ^ Cromer Crabs and More
  38. ^ North Norfolk News report. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  39. ^ Jane Austen society. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  40. ^ Guardian review Retrieved 23 May 2013
  41. ^ Never Let Me Go review Retrieved 24 May. 2013
  42. ^ Google books Retrieved 17 August 2014
  43. ^ EDP news report Retrieved 15 March 2012
  44. ^ EDP article Retrieved 12 October 2014
  45. ^ News report Retrieved 21 March 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Pipe, C. A Dictionary of Cromer and Overstrand History, 1st ed. Cromer: Poppyland Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-0-946148-89-9
  • Warren, M. Cromer – Chronicle of a Watering Place, 3rd ed. Cromer: Poppyland Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-946148-55-4
  • Malster, R. The Cromer Lifeboats, 4th ed. Cromer: Poppyland Publishing, 1994, ISBN 0-946148-21-X
  • Stibbons, Peter & Cleveland, David Poppyland – Strands of Norfolk History, 4th ed., Cromer: Poppyland, 2001, ISBN 0-946148-17-1 (1st ed. 1981)
  • Leach, Nicholas & Russell, Paul Cromer Lifeboats 1804-2004, Stroud: Tempus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7524-3197-8

External links[edit]