11 fascinating facts about Cromer Pier
- Credit: iwitness24/Paul Mills
Cromer’s end of the pier show is back – we celebrate with all the info about peerless Cromer Pier.
1 Cromer has the only full season end of the pier show in the world – with the 2021 extravaganza running until October 2 in the Pavilion Theatre almost at the end of the pier.
2 The very end of the pier is reserved for the lifeboat house. Lifeboats have been stationed here since 1923. Cromer’s lifeboat history goes back to 1804. National hero Henry Blogg joined the crew in 1894 at the age of 18 and was coxswain from 1909-1947. He is credited with saving 873 lives, many in acts of almost superhuman heroism from rowing boats battling through mountainous seas. No lifeboatman has saved more lives or won more gallantry medals.
3 Cromer has had a pier – or at least a wooden jetty sticking out into the sea – since 1391. Through the centuries a series of wooden piers were destroyed by storms. In 1582 Queen Elizabeth I allowed the people of Cromer to export wheat, barley and malt to help pay for the rebuilding of the pier. The final wooden pier was built in 1846 and destroyed in a storm in 1890.
4 The current iron pier was opened in 1901 with a bandstand at the end – which was converted into an enclosed pavilion in 1905 – hence the Pavilion Theatre. In 1953 the pier and pavilion were destroyed in yet another storm, but rebuilt in time for the theatre to reopen for the 1955 season.
5 During the Second World War the pier was cut, in case it could be used by enemy invaders. However, the gap was bridged by planks so that the lifeboat station could still be reached.
6 In 1993 it was cut again when a loose drilling rig crashed through it, leaving the theatre and lifeboat station cut off from the land.
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7 Some of the celebrities who began their careers or honed their acts here include Bradley Walsh, Darren Day and Britain’s Got Talent ventriloquist Steve Hewlett. This year’s Cromer Pier Show is hosted by Phil Butler who brings a different special guest to the theatre every week. The variety show format means every performance will be packed with song, dance, magic and comedy.
8 Most years the pier has its own folk festival too with the next Folk on the Pier planned for May 6-8 2022, and finishing with Fairport Convention.
11 The paving at the entrance to the pier is an art installation called Cromer Prospect, created to celebrate 200 years of Cromer lifeboats. Each of the arc of 24 granite standing stones represents one of the town’s lifeboats and points in the direction of a rescue – with information radiating out through the paving.
12 Cromer Pier has starred in several films, television series and advertisements including Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and a national BBC ident over Christmas 2018.
13 If you want to see the sun rise and set over the sea – Cromer Pier is the perfect place.