Award-winning publisher, Peter Stibbons, gave a talk on aspects of Cromer’s history. He first took us back 8,000 years ago, when Doggerland, an area of land that connected Britain to continental Europe and containing large areas of Norfolk, was devastated by a great tsunami and submerged beneath the North Sea, causing Cromer to become a coastal area.
Next, Peter told us about the discovery of 600,000-year-old mammoth bones at the base of the cliffs in the Cromer Forest Bed at West Runton in 1990, which led to a full-scale excavation in 1995.
We then experienced a huge jump in time as Peter explained that the name ‘Cromer’ does not appear until the thirteenth century, the area having previously been known as ‘Shipden’.
Cromer became a seaside resort in the early 1800s, some of the wealthy Norwich banking families making it their summer home. The great storm of 1836 prompted the decision to build the first promenade in the 1840s. The old jetty was washed away three times in the 1800s, eventually replaced by the late-Victorian pier we enjoy today. The railway did not arrive until 1877. Much of Cromer Church today is essentially a Victorian reconstruction. Peter displayed many pictures of Cromer, showing how the town had changed through the years.