We manged to find a parking space within striking distance of the pier this time, though I decided not to go all the way down the ramp to the pier. Downhill walking isn’t good for bad knees – I know this from past experience. And then there would have been the problem of getting back up to the top.
I like Cromer, but I do think they could have built the pier in a more convenient place. Next to a car park, for instance. (This, if I’d known, was to become something of a motif over the next few days).
About 500 yards from the end of the pier a very strange shipwreck took place on 9th August 1888 when the paddle steamer Victoria hit a church tower. Yes, that’s right, a ship sank after hitting a church tower. It actually wedged itself on the tower of the lost village of Shipden – originally lost to the sea in the late 13th century. Even then, it didn’t actually sink until they used dynamite to remove the tower and blew a hole in the bottom of the steamer.
That has little to do with the pier, but it’s such a great piece of trivia I felt you’d excuse me.
There have been a number of piers in Cromer. The first one known was mentioned in a document of 1390. Several have been destroyed – one by a storm and one by a ship. The current one was opened in 1902.
It’s a fine looking pier, even from a distance, and a tribute to the owners (North Norfolk District Council) and the amount of work they have done to keep it up to standard. It’s recently been cut in half by a drifting barge (1993) and damaged by a storm surge in 2013. Other people obviously like it too, it’s been Pier of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
It claims to be “One of only five UK seaside pier’s with a full working, flourishing theatre and home to the only end of pier show of it’s kind in the World!”. I don’t want to get into an argument about it, as I don’t have any evidence one way or the other, or know what the definition of an end of the pier show is. I’m also suspicious about anything using the words “of it’s kind”.
Apart from the obvious problem of weasel words being used by a marketing team there’s the problem of apostrophe abuse. If they can get their apostrophes wrong, what else can you get wrong?
Even without the pier Cromer would be an interesting place. This is the Hotel de Paris. After photographing the pier all I needed to do was turn round and take this picture.
It was originally opened in 1830 by Pierre le Françoise, who had come to England as a child when his family fled the revolution in France. It was successful and several notable people stayed – including Edward VII and Oscar Wilde (though probably not together).
I looked it up on the Internet – prices seem quite reasonable. We may be back.