Cromer Pier, Norfolk
The story of a pier at Cromer goes back as far as 1391. However, it’s not until 1822 when something resembling what we might call a pier today appeared. That one was washed away in 1843 and was replaced by another, which lasted until 1890. By this time, the railways were reaching out across the country making visiting the coast a viable and popular thing to do, so the time had come to build something more substantial.
A 500 foot iron pier opened in June 1901, with a bandstand at the head. This was extended in 1905 to accommodate a pavilion. Unusually, there has never been any provision for boats to dock.
Sectioned in 1940 for defence purposes, the gap was bridged with planks to allow the lifeboat station, which had been there since 1923, to be reached.
The pier was damaged by storms in 1949, 1953, 1976 and 1978. In February 1990, gales destroyed the amusement arcade and, in November 1993, a rig crashed into the pier, isolating the theatre and lifeboat station. The amusement arcades were never replaced.
Cromer has had the great advantage of having a council who understands the value of having a pier and has always been willing to back it. The substantial cost of reconstruction work that has been carried out since 1993 has been funded by the council.
The pier pavilion reopened in June 2004, although was again damaged by a storm early the following year.
December 2013 saw major storms, six people had to be rescued from the pier after they became marooned when a tidal surge battered it.
Apart from the war years, The Pavilion Theatre has staged more or less continuous entertainment since the 1920s, sometimes having two shows a day and always putting on a Christmas show – this is unique amongst UK piers.