Holiday heydays at Cromer and Sheringham

Elegant people in boaters, bonnets and blazers took the air on the promenade under the towering red brick hotels on the clifftops.

Children played in pools on the tent-lined, donkey-dotted beaches below, while quiet streets were punctuated by occasional carts and cars with running boards.

These were the heady holiday heydays of resorts on the North Norfolk coast, explored - and contrasted with pictures of the same spots today - in a new book by an East Anglian author with a passion for the area.

Cromer and Sheringham Through Time sees Michael Rouse take a journey from Weybourne to Mundesley highlights the things that have changed, and those that have not, in the coastal strip which has been a holiday magnet for generations.

'I love the coast. We are all fascinated by the sea and have all got memories of childhood holidays at the seaside,' explained the 70-year-old retired teacher from Ely, who also wrote Coastal resorts of East Anglia in 1982.

Many of the pictures date back to the Victorian and Edwardian times when the coming of the railways turned the quiet fishing towns into busy resorts, with imposing hotels.

'I liked the confidence and vision of the Victorians,' said Mr Rouse, a former English teacher with a passion for history.

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'In Edwardian times there was a really strong skyline at Sheringham beach with interesting buildings.'

Some, such as the Grand hotel now replaced by boxy modern flats at the Leas, had gone. But equally the resort had a 'super new museum.'

He wanted people to look at the photographs and reflect on what had and had not changed.

'You can still go to places and see children enjoying themselves exploring the pools and paddling dinghies, like something out of Enid Blyton.

'There is still so much to offer, from walking, and wonderful beaches to entertainment,' he added.

After some years of decline there was 'a bit of a fight back' going on, including the regeneration of Cromer seafront, and a new awareness of the local heritage.

Mr Rouse's book, which combines sepia pictures and postcards, with his own photographs taken this summer, shows how other majestic hotels, and parts of the coastline have disappeared. In other places the scenes have scarcely altered at all.

Its 182 illustrations also features Weybourne, the Runtons, Sidestrand, Overstrand and Mundesley with some shots of the local holiday camp with it was just a collection of shed-like huts in the 1930s.

Cromer and Sheringham Through Time by Michael Rouse is published at �14.99 by Amberley.