Storm lays Victorian secrets bare

A souvenir of Cromer's days as a genteel 19th-century resort has been laid bare by storm waves for the first time in nearly 20 years.The high tides on Tuesday exposed four wooden stumps that are all that is left of a once popular bath house where Victorian gentlemen went for a restorative dip in hot and cold sea water.

A souvenir of Cromer's days as a genteel 19th-century resort has been laid bare by storm waves for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The high tides on Tuesday exposed four wooden stumps that are all that is left of a once popular bath house where Victorian gentlemen went for a restorative dip in hot and cold sea water.

Local historians were down on the beach yesterday eager to examine the remains that had not been seen since 1990.

Andy Boyce, a member of Cromer Preservation Society, said: “It was more popular than swimming at the time. It was built by a Mr Randell for the gentry but was destroyed by a storm in 1836. It is just quite remarkable that it has come into view again.”

As the flood risk subsided yesterday, residents and conservationists along the North Norfolk coast were relieved that disaster had been averted.

However, the volunteer flood wardens at Wells, campaigning to keep emerg-ency warning sirens along the North Norfolk coast, claim that the high tides and gales over the past few days have strengthened their case.

Most Read

As reported in the EDP, the Norfolk Resilience Forum has announced the coastal sirens will be switched off this summer, to be replaced by telephone and pager messaging systems.

Dr Mike Strong, from Wells, who co-ordinates the wardens, said: “Wardens along the coast at Wells, Cley and Sea Palling are now more than ever convinced that the sirens are needed. The time frame of events is such that wardens would never have been able to physically contact people in threatened locations if the tides and winds on Tuesday had become worse.”

Meanwhile Wells harbour- master Bob Smith confirmed that the town had escaped largely unscathed from the high tides which saw water covering the quayside on Tuesday.

Di Wrightson, who owns a bed and breakfast establish-ment in Happisburgh, said their sea defences “had worked a treat”, while Mike McMurchie, of Winterton Coast Watch, said the cliff there had also avoided any further serious damage.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said water had gone across the Walcott gap but this was not unusual, while defences at Sea Palling had held well.

Bernard Bishop, a Norfolk Wildlife Trust warden at Cley marshes, said he was pleased with the way the new Environment Agency policy of not bulldozing up the shingle was working - making it lower but also broader and stronger so that breaches were less likely.

Despite suffering a bad night at Cley and Blakeney, there had been little damage and any seawater which had gone over the top of the shingle bank into the reserve was expected to run out quickly.

Anglers had feared storm tides would drive salt water up the River Yare, killing tens of thousands of fish, but Environment Agency tests on the river water showed this had not happened.