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Account for the Main Features in the Development of Cromer Before the Coming of the Railway 1500 - 1875.

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Amy Copping 11RCZ Account for the Main Features in the Development of Cromer Before the Coming of the Railway 1500 - 1875. Cromer changed from a small fishing village to a popular seaside watering place for the gentry towards 1875. In the 1500s, the fishing industry was everything to Cromer; its whole way of life. The corn and coal trades and Cromer's part in them gave Cromer further financial support, and the new medical ideas from Dr. Russell which led to the town becoming a watering place greatly influenced its development. These are the main features which I am going to account for. Cromer's fishing industry was its only claim to fame during the eighteenth century. Daniel Defoe said in 1724, "I know of nothing it is famous for except good lobsters". Fishing had supported Cromer since at least 1519, when Clement Fysheman wrote a will documenting the boats and nets necessary for him to make a living being passed down through the generations; "nets to be divided between John, son and Robert, son". ...read more.


There was more money to be made out of visitors than out of curing houses and nets. In 1798 fishing had been so important that lower class of people were "chiefly supported by fishing" and yet in 1875 in Buckland's "Report on the Fisheries of Norfolk" less than 10% of the population were supported by fishermen. This decline of fishing can partly be explained by the decline of the fish and crabs themselves. These were overfished off the shore of Cromer, the small crabs being "smashed up at sea and used as bait", meaning that there were no small crabs to grow into big crabs to exported in Norwich and London. So Cromer had to rely more on its faithful tourist families such as the Gurneys and less on fishing. People who might have been fishermen instead had futures as entrepeneurs in the accommodation business, developing more land into "many neat houses". The corn and coal trades helped in a different way to develop Cromer. ...read more.


It was first recognised as a watering place by White's in 1785, which reports that: " It was first frequented as a watering place, about the year 1785, by two or three families...whose favourable reports of the beautiful scenery [etc.] soon attracted others here to share these enjoyments". According to White's, "the number of visitors continued to increase yearly" and it was then that new houses were built to accommodate them, as well as hotels and places such as Simeon Simon's Bath House which contained billiard rooms and reading rooms to entertain the gentry. Cromer was developed so far beyond the familiar sight of a small fishing village to a larger watering town of about 1415 souls in 1875. In my opinion, it was Dr. Russell's new ideas on the health giving benefits of seawater that proved the most helpful in the development of Cromer. The accommodation and entertainment that was needed to sustain the image of a watering place expanded Cromer a great deal, and gave the former fishing village a reputation that attracted new visitors long after the railways. ...read more.

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