Old Images of Cromer, Norfolk

Old photo of Cromer Norfolk England published in 1898

Glimpse history through old images of Cromer, Norfolk, England.


Cromer Through Time

Views of Cromer, Norfolk through Time – In Motion 3D!The Time Travel Artist (YouTube)

Cromer 360: A Journey Through Time (North Norfolk) – The Time Travel Artist (YouTube)


Cromer Carnival (1925)

The princess seen in this silent footage is Princess Ileana of Romania, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania and his consort, Queen Marie of Romania. She was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Emperor Alexander II of Russia, King Ferdinand II and Queen Maria II of Portugal.

Also later known as Mother Alexandra, Princess Ileana was born on 23 December 1908, making her 16 years old when this short film was made, and died on 21 January 1991 in the US state of Ohio.

A Real Fairy Princess (1925) – British Pathé on YouTube


Blackburn Iris (1920s)

The Blackburn Iris was a British three-engined biplane flying boat of the 1920s. Only 5 were ever built.

I think the first piece of footage, from 1925, is of the Blackburn Iris, although it’s described as a Giant Air Boat. Amongst the people shown are Sir Samual Hoare, the Air Minister, and Air Vice-Marshal Sir G. Salmond.

The next two pieces of footage from 1926 is labelled as showing a demonstration of the Blackburn Iris.

Giant Airboat’s Trial Flight Tinted (1925) – British Pathé on YouTube

Blackburn Iris in Cromer (1926) – British Pathé on YouTube

World’s Fastest And Largest (1926) – British Pathé on YouTube


Lawn Tennis Tournament (1925)

In 1925, Mademoiselle Lenglen, known as Incomparable Suzanne, played at the Cromer Lawn Tennis Tournament.

Incomparable Suzanne (1925)- British Pathé on YouTube


Rescued Spaniards (1938)

On 2nd November 1938, a Spanish warship from General Franco’s fleet, called the Nadir, attacked the merchant ship Cantabria in the North Sea, sinking it in internional waters just 10 miles from the British shore.

At the time, the Cantabria was charter to a British company called the Mid-Atlantic Shipping Company, based in London, in passage in ballast from the River Thames to Immingham, intending to then sail for Leningrad under Captain Manuel Argüelles.

On board were 33 crew and eight passengers, of whom five were children and three women. The passengers included Argüelles’ wife Trinidad, their son Ramon, aged six, their daughter Begoña, aged eight, and another child, aged three.

As the Cantabria telegraphed for help, Cromer’s lifeboat H F Bailey was lauched with coxswain Henry Blogg, the double V.C., at the helm. It was 5pm, darkness was setting in and it would take an hour and a half to reach the Cantabria.

Meanwhile fire had spread through the Cantabria. Not knowing when help would arrive, the vessel’s two lifeboats were launched. The 20 members of crew on one of the lifeboats was taken in by the Nadir.

Captain Argüelles, his wife and children and the second steward, Joaquin Vallego, remained aboard the burning and sinking ship, fearing what what would happen to them in fascist hands.

Meanwhile, the british steamer Pattersonian, under instruction from Captain Blackmore, moved in to shield the lifeboat from attack. They rescued Cantabria’s second lifeboat, containing 11 crew.

When Cromer’s lifeboat crew arrived at 6.30, through the darkness they saw the torch light flashed at them by Captain Argüelles from the Canatabria, which was now listing badly. The lifeboat crew threw up a rope, used to hand down the children, Mrs Argüelles, Joaquin Vallego, and finally Captain Argüelles.

The Cantabria suddenly heeled over, damaging the lifeboat’s stanchions, and then sank.

The sailor Juan Gil lost his life in this incident, with other sources reporting the loss of four crew members.

The British Monkwood and a Norwegian ship had also seen the attack, but stayed away for their own safety, although the Monkwood later sent a report to the naval authorities who sent in units to protect British waters.

Upon landing at Cromer, Captain Argüelles, his family and the steward were taken to the Red Lion Hotel. The rescued crew got to relax and recover from their ordeal at the Sailors Home in Great Yarmouth.

The newsreel shows Cromer’s lifeboat and crew at the R.N.L.I station, the captain and crew of the Pattersonian, Captain Argüelles and most of his family, and some of the crew. Many of the survivors did not want to be shown for fear of Nationalist reprisals.

Spanish Ship Attacked In North Sea (1938) – British Pathé on YouTube

A second newsreel covers the same event, with different footage, including a few words from Henry Blogg, surrounded by his lifeboat crew.

Henry Blogg was a crab fisherman who also ran a deckchair and beach hut hire business. When he retired at the age of 71 in 1947, the new lifeboat at Cromer was named after him. He had launched 387 times and rescued 873 people during his long service, 38 years of them as coxwain.

Ronnie Corbett, who started his stage career in Cromer, unveiled a museum dedicated to the memory of Henry Blogg in 2006.

Cromer: Rescued crew of ship ‘Cantabria’ ashore. (1938) – British Pathé on YouTube


A bit of Cromer history

Extract from “A guide to Cromer and its neighbourhood, by a visitor“, by Earl Evelyn Baring Cromer

Published in 1841

Pages 18 – 22

Cromer was first frequented as a watering place about the year 1785, by a few families of retired habits, whose favourable reports of the place induced others to follow their example.

The accommodations, however, were long adverse to the influx of visitors, and the want of a respectable inn, in particular, was greatly felt, and was a material check, not so much to the actual prosperity of the place, but to its very existence as a place of general resort.

At length, a spirited individual, the present venerable Mr. Tucker, built the New Inn, which from that time to the present he has conducted with the greatest propriety, and with every regard to the comfort of those who have used his house.

The character of Cromer thenceforth became altered, and various improvements followed. Indeed, the inhabitants of Cromer owe a large debt of gratitude to him, and if universal respect, and, it is to be hoped, just success, to himself, can reward him, he receives his full recompense.

There are several machines for sea – bathing, the hour for which is regulated by the tide.

The bather, Mr. Jacob, who is a very steady man, and the descendant of a line of bathers, lives in Jetty Street.

There are two bathing – houses, one on the cliff and the other by the side of it, on the beach: both of which are extremely well conducted, and kept by persons of respectability, by whom every requisite attention and civility are shown.

Cromer now contains many comfortable private lodging – houses, as well as apartments for the accommodation of its visitors, as also some respectable inns.

One of the best houses in Cromer has lately been converted into a boarding – house, under the name of the Hotel de Paris.

A number of houses, called the Crescent, have been built within the last ten years, and are a great acquisition.

Had the same spirit of speculation invbuilding, & c., existed here as elsewhere, or the same encouragement, at least, been given to it, it is probable that long ere this, Cromer would have risen to considerable importance as a bathing place and fashionable resort; nature having done everything for it that might favour such a result. It has, however, been asserted, and perhaps with truth, that this spirit of improvement has been discountenanced on the ground, that the moral welfare of the place was promoted by its comparative obscurity and non – intermixture with the idle and the more corrupted servants, & c. of cities and towns.

The facilities of travelling to long distances, too naturally tends to injure places which depend much on the local encouragement they receive.

Persons who were once content, to visit, summer after summer, the same place, or who chose that which their own neighbourhood made most convenient, are no longer detained by motives of expense or distance from indulging a taste for variety.

The rent of the houses is high, and consequently, that of lodgings is the same: the latter may be had at the rate of from one guinea and a half to three and a half: entire houses from four to six guineas a week: those of the latter price, of which there are not more than four or five, make up ten beds, and are therefore capable of accommodating a large family.

The inhabitants, almost universally speaking, are extremely civil and well – behaved, respectable in themselves, and respectful towards others; simple in their manners, and free from that spirit of extortion which is but too commonly the fault of those who have only a short season to enable them to meet many exigences, and who have only a partial interest in those they serve.

The walks, drives, & c., round Cromer are exceedingly beautiful, affording alike to the geologist, botanist, and mineralogist, abundant materials for the gratification of their respective tastes.

Many valuable organic and fossil remains are to be found in different parts of the coast, a circumstance to which the active researches of the late Mr. C. S. Earle served materially to draw the attention of scientific persons. Professor Buckland and the learned Mr. Lyell have both honoured Cromer by visiting it.

Wild flowers are to be met with here in great beauty and luxuriance, some of them sufficiently rare to induce a long and health – giving walk in search of them.

The sea – weeds, or alge, are those which are generally found on our coasts, consisting of the great strap – wort, (Laminaria;) Bladder – wort, (Fucus vesiculocus;) Serrated Bladder – wort, (Fucus serratus;) the beautiful crimson Plocamium coccineum, the Ulva latissina, & c. All these, when cast on the beach, are carefully collected in heaps, and serve as manure to the lands.

Jet and amber are found here in the winter.

Jasper of all kinds, cornelian, aqui marinà, and agates of every description, some of which are extremely beautiful, may be picked up on the beach.

Many of the common pebbles, also, are remarkably handsome, and take a fine polish.

The youthful student of mineralogy may also add to his collection specimens of micaceous schist, trapstone, porphyry, basalt, & c. & c.

Shells, either fossil or recent, do not abound here, except in the upper chalk, which forms the substratum of the beach, and in isolated patches of the over lying crag, where a few rare fossil shells are found: recent shells, indeed, are scarcely ever to be met with.

The common Perriwinkle, (Turbo littoreus;) is, however, plentiful on the rocks at low water; the latter, indeed, are scarcely ever to be met with.

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