Cromer Pier is a Grade II listed seaside pier in the civil parish of Cromer on the north coast of the English county of Norfolk, 40 kilometres (25 mi) due north of the city of Norwich in the United Kingdom. The pier is the home of the Cromer Lifeboat Station and the Pavilion Theatre

History

There are records of a pier in Cromer back as far as 1391, although then it was more of a jetty. In the year 1582, Queen Elizabeth I, in a letter to the inhabitants of Cromer granted rights to export wheat, barley and malt with the proceeds to be used for the maintenance and well-being of the pier and the town of Cromer.

In 1822, a 210-foot (64 m) long jetty was built (of cast iron, made by Hase of Saxthorpe) but this structure lasted just 24 years before it was totally destroyed in a storm. This jetty was replaced by another wooden structure but this time it was a little longer being 240 feet (73 m). This jetty soon became very popular for promenading. A keeper was employed to keep order; there were strict rules applied including no smoking, and by 9 pm ladies were required to retire from the jetty. The last wooden jetty survived until 1897, when it was damaged beyond repair after a coal boat had smashed into it. It was dismantled and the timber sold for £40.

For a period of time from this date Cromer was without a pier but to end this situation the “Pier Commissioners” planned to replace the old wood structure with a more fashionable structure. In 1902, the new pier was completed and opened to the public. This new pier was designed by Douglass and Arnott and the construction was carried out by Alfred Thorne. The new pier was 450 feet (140 m) long and had cost £17,000 to build. In the early years the pier consisted of glass-screened shelters and a bandstand on the end of the pier. The shelters were roofed over in 1905 to form a pavilion; the bandstand was later replaced with a stage and proscenium arch. From 1907 this was used to accommodate the latest craze of roller-skating.

The pier is owned and maintained by North Norfolk District Council who took on the responsibility for running and funding the pier following the local government re-organisation of 1974. Since that time, the District Council have carried out a number of major repair and refurbishments of the pier, the most recent being completed in 2013.

In March 2015, the pier was voted Pier of the Year 2015 by the National Piers Society. Owners North Norfolk District Council said it was “a fantastic reward” and they were “hugely proud of the pier”.

Pier repairs

The owners of the pier, North Norfolk District Council, began a £1.2 million repair scheme in June, 2012 and the work was completed in October 2013, just before the tidal surge of 5 December 2013. Repairs included replacement of the metal main trusses and cross braces.

The pier was damaged during the storm surge of 5 December 2013. However, the repair work which had just been completed allowed the main structure of the pier to withstand the main force of the surge, although there was damage to parts of the walkway and the box office and other buildings. Decking boards were lifted and damage was caused to the souvenir shop, the box office and the flooring of the Pavilion Theatre. The damage caused the pier to be closed to the public on safety grounds until repairs were made. These repairs allowed the Pavilion Theatre to resume its Christmas show programme on 12 December 2013 and also allowed the public access to the pier and the RNLI safe access to the lifeboat station at the end of the pier.

An initial accessment of the damage to the pier made by North Norfolk District Council indicated repair costs would be in the tens of thousands of pounds, but within nine days this figure had escalated to the hundreds of thousands. A temporary box office was erected at the entrance to the pier while the permanent box office and souvenir shop were refurbished. As of July 2014, work was continuing, and the pier’s supporting structure had been repaired. Another eight-week round of improvements was expected to start in September 2014, with a projected cost of a further £200,000.

In the media

It was used as a film location for the 1979 ITV television series, Danger UXB, starring Anthony Andrews.

The pier was used as location for the 1993 ITV series September Song with Russ Abbot.

The Flesh and Blood Show used the pier’s theatre in this horror thriller film of 1972 with Jenny Hanley and Ray Brooks.

The Living TV show Most Haunted visited the pier for their investigation in April 2009. The episode, which investigated the piers paranormal activity, was shown later that year.

2011 film In Love with Alma Cogan was filmed on and around the pier.

The pier and the town was used as a location for the 2013 film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

Awards

2000 National Piers Society – Pier of the Year
2015 National Piers Society – Pier of the Year