5.1.2 Wish You Were Here 2: Norfolk on Sea

The Norfolk Coast is an area that is only an hour’s drive from Cambridge and a place that I go frequently for days out and short weekend holidays at different times of the year. It is more remote than places like Aldeburgh that are closer to London. But there has been a well-established sea-side tourist industry at Cromer, Hunstanton and Sheringham amongst other towns. It also has a long history of aristocratic domination – being the site of Sandringham. In the summer when people travel down from Northern England for the better weather as well as London and day-trippers from nearby. But the area is very vulnerable and the coastline is shrinking. The evening before writing this post a serious cliff collapse occurred – I do not know whether the seafront or Sheringham cliffs in the photos below still exist.

Sheringham 2011

The current town of Sheringham was once Lower Sheringham, a fishing station for the main village, now known as Upper Sheringham. It is a railway town that was developed with the coming of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line in the late 19th century. Most of Sheringham’s range of buildings and shops come from this period and the early 20th century. Along the fragile sandstone cliffs past Beeston Tor lies West Runton – much of what is shown in these photos from 2011 was washed away in 2013 and also affected by the flooding and heavy rain in 2019. See: https://www.northnorfolknews.co.uk/news/coastguard-warning-of-further-cliff-falls-after-sidestrand-incident-1-6103879

It is a beautiful, and often very uncrowded stretch of coast, particularly outside the school holiday season. The coastline twists to face West towards the Wash, and so has beautiful sunsets. Examples of Photoshop composite developed for Illustration 1 book cover.

The cliffs as they erode have revealed mammoths and and dinosaurs that are kept in Cromer Museum. These are the real vivid colours of the red stone at sunset.

The power of the sea is ever present and dramatic. Especially in the Spring tides.

The photos in this post review a number of earlier jpg image series from 2008-2015 and look at ways in which these can be processed in Lightroom, NikFX and Photoshop to be of acceptable quality for Shutterstock. I also like the nostalgia or the place and explore possible vintage treatments for cards and/or Photoscreen. I want to develop these series much further in various ways, retaining the images of scenes that no longer exist and including more street photography and landscape around themes of seaside towns in winter, and fragility of our coastline.

Cromer 2009

Cromer became a resort in the early 19th century, with some of the rich Norwich banking families making it their summer home. Visitors included the future King Edward VII, who played golf here. The resort’s facilities included the late-Victorian Cromer Pier, which is home to the Pavilion Theatre. In 1883 the London journalist Clement Scott went to Cromer and began to write about the area. He named the stretch of coastline, particularly the Overstrand and Sidestrand area, “Poppyland” referring to the numerous poppies which still grow at the roadside and in meadows. The combination of the railway and his writing in the national press brought many visitors. The name “Poppyland”.

This coast is very vulnerable. On 5 December 2013 the town was affected by a storm surge which caused significant damage to the town’s pier and seafront. I want to see what has happened to the scene below taken in 2009, and whether much of it still remains.

Cromer pier built for the Victorian tourist industry is an iconic landmark that makes an interesting ‘Norfolk nostalgia’ screen print.

These images edit low quality snapshots of the High Street to be acceptable for Shutterstock. I would like to develop street photography in the town further in the style of Martin Parr.

This final pair of images capture the flat beach and sky so typical of the area at low tide. I would like to do more of these horizon and sky images, making the clouds go right overhead, echoing Dutch landscape photographers who painted land just over the water.

Hunstanton: New Year’s Day 2015

Hunstanton is a 19th-century resort town, initially known as New Hunstanton to distinguish it from the adjacent village from which it took its name. Old Hunstanton village is of prehistoric origin and lies near to the head of Peddars Way. In 1846, Henry Styleman Le Strange (1815–1862), decided to develop the area south of Old Hunstanton as a bathing resort. He brought a group of like-minded investors into the construction of a railway line from King’s Lynn. By the 1860s the Lynn and Hunstanton Railway became one of the most consistently profitable in the country. Hunstanton was badly hit by the North Sea Flood of 1953. The wall of water on the night of 31 January – 1 February killed 31 people in the town with 35 more victims in neighbouring places such as Snettisham and Heacham. The seafront was also damaged in the 2013 storm surge but had been repaired by the time of these photos.

This series of photos from New Year’s Day 2015 were accepted, with some others, for Shutterstock. I am aiming to develop them, with new images from winter 2019 around the theme of seaside towns in winter – including any further storm damage.