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Terraced Beach Chalets, The Promenade, Cromer

A Grade II Listed Building in Cromer, Norfolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9334 / 52°56'0"N

Longitude: 1.296 / 1°17'45"E

OS Eastings: 621608

OS Northings: 342416

OS Grid: TG216424

Mapcode National: GBR VBR.4GS

Mapcode Global: WHMS2.WJBK

Entry Name: Terraced Beach Chalets, The Promenade, Cromer

Listing Date: 13 July 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1408235

Location: Cromer, North Norfolk, Norfolk, NR27

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk

Civil Parish: Cromer

Built-Up Area: Cromer

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Cromer St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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Summary

A terrace of beach chalets, dated 1912, built for the Cromer Protection Commissioners, in red brick with a slate roof covering.

Description

EXTERIOR: the terrace consists of six chalets each with a set of double doors to the front, and with either one or two small windows flanking the doors. The end bays break-forward slightly on the front elevation, between which is a wooden verandah. The roof is pitched, with gables to the projecting end bays. Each gable end is decorated with bargeboards and mock Tudor wood panelling, and each roof gable is surmounted by a finial at the front elevation. The side and rear elevations are rendered and painted, with brick quoins to the side elevations. The windows and all features are original, save for the rainwater disposal goods which have been replaced in the early C21.

INTERIOR: the interiors are plastered, but otherwise entirely plain.

History

Cromer had some prosperity as a fishing town in the medieval period, as evidenced by the large and fine Church of St Peter and Paul (Grade I, listed in 1950) still dominant in the townscape. The fortunes of Cromer and its church diminished, however, and Cromer is said to have become little more than a village surrounding its crumbling church, until the late C18 fashion for sea bathing saw an upturn in its fortune. Bathing machines were being advertised for use in Cromer by 1779. Cromer was for many years a small but exclusive resort, favoured by a circle of rich Norfolk families including the prominent banker, Quaker and philanthropist John Gurney. It was a watering place of some fashionable standing, being mentioned favourably in Jane Austen’s “Emma” in 1814.

Throughout most of the C19 the fashionable few in Cromer rejoiced in its isolation – according to a town guide from 1841, as quoted by the Cromer Preservation Society: “Its undisturbed quiet has rendered it a paradise for the clergy and old ladies whose never-failing theme of mutual congratulation is the difficult access which saves them from being over-run by excursionists.”

Cromer’s isolation was to end when the first railway station opened in 1877, but it was some way out of the town, so it was the opening of the second station, “Cromer Beach Station” in 1887 which had the greatest influence on Cromer’s development. Following this, investment and development in the town soared, and a large number of buildings surviving in Cromer today date from this period, defining much of Cromer’s present day character. Some of Cromer’s most prominent buildings date from the period including the flamboyant “Hotel de Paris” on the seafront, (listed at Grade II in 1977) built in 1894 as a remodelling of some earlier buildings; one of many buildings in the town designed by architect George Skipper. The sea front was remodelled and the sea walls and promenade (both listed at Grade II in 2003) were built at the very end of the C19, by London engineers Douglass and Arnott. In 1899-1901 the pier was built (listed at Grade II in 1975), with the Pavilion Theatre added to it in 1905.

New buildings have continued to be built in Cromer throughout the C20, as it continued to be a popular resort in the summer months, though no period has seen a repeat of building on the same scale as the end of the C19.

The terrace of bathing chalets at Cromer were in 1912 for the Cromer Protection Commissioners, who remodelled the sea front in 1845-6. They commissioned new promenades and sea walls in 1899-1900, and the cliff retaining walls, sloping pedestrian pathways, Jetty Cliff and Bastion in 1894-5. These structures were all listed at Grade II in 2003. The Commissioners also constructed the Pier in 1900-1 (listed at Grade II in 1975.)

Reasons for Listing

The terraced beach chalets on the Western Promenade, Cromer, erected in 1912, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

*Historic interest: the terrace is an example of some of the very earliest beach chalets, the precursors of the modern wooden beach chalet;

*Rarity: very few chalets of this early date survive. Only three other examples are listed;

*Intactness: the beach chalets survive almost unaltered;

*Group Value: they have strong group value with the sea walls and promenade of 1899-1900, the jetty cliff, bastion and sloping pedestrian pathways of 1894-5, and with the Pier of 1900-1 (all listed at Grade II).

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