Cromer Pier

 A feature from the October 2015 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
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Watching on as fun-loving holiday-makers push optimistic two-pence pieces into arcade machines and nibble at their ice-creams, Cromer Pier sits proudly on the North Norfolk coast, the life and soul of the seaside party.

Dating back to the fourteenth century, the world-famous Cromer Pier is one of the many attractions that Norfolk has to offer. But what is so special about Cromer Pier that makes it unique in comparision to its rivals and the favourite for so many holiday-makers?

Ever since 1391, Cromer has been home to some sort of pier, though in the early days it was little more than a jetty. It was a couple of centuries later when Cromer Pier really came onto the radar. Queen Elizabeth I, in 1582, granted Cromer the rights to export barley, wheat and malt in order to finance rebuilding and bolstering the defences of the pier against the harsh North Sea attacks. The years that were to follow saw Cromer Pier undergo many major reconstructions and facelifts but in the meantime, the pier happily survived against the elements.

When the Victorian seaside boom erupted, it was decided that the pier must be rebuilt if it was to endure against the weather and the great increase in footfall. The resulting pier was about sixty-four metres long and made of cast iron, but unfortunately it didn’t last long in the face of violent storms and was completely washed away.

Cromer, though, is made of stern stuff and would not be beaten by the unruly conditions and promptly built another jetty, this time a little more than seventy-three metres long. However, yet again the North Sea was determined to rid Cromer of a pier and ravaged the jetty once more. As if in retort, Cromer rebuilt yet another jetty, this time made of wood, that was fondly described as a ‘plain wooden structure’ and was just under seventy metres long. This latest construction lasted until 1890 but needless to say, heavy storms broke up the pier to the point of having to completely dismantle it and start again. The wooden remains were sold at auction and brought Cromer a little dignity as the price rose to forty pounds. Back to the drawing board!

The present-day Cromer Pier, a 152-metre pier made of hopefully longwithstanding iron, was officially opened to the public on the eighth of June, 1901 and cost a whopping £17,000. A bandstand was placed at the head of the pier, which later was extended in 1905 to make a pavillion.

Read the full article in the October 2015 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine