Showing posts from May, 2021

Seaside Special - Vintage seasides: North Norfolk

1959 was a notable year in Sheringham because British Railways closed almost the entire Norfolk network of the Midland & Great Northern railway system. The move sent shock waves throughout East Anglia and the railway community nationwide. It was merely a prelude to the savagery of Dr Beeching’s axe to be wielded in the early ‘60’s. Sheringham, a town that had grown as a popular seaside resort on the back of its busy railway hub, became the lonely terminus for a solitary remaining branch line from Norwich. Everything north and west was closed. Even this tenuous transport connection to civilization was under threat. In 1968, the council had to step in with investment save the line from complete closure on the basis that the road infrastructure was so bad. One could be forgiven for thinking that time has stood still. In many ways, Sheringham remains in 1959. On a visit in 2016, I was charmed to see that, despite those brutal rail closures, the original Sheringham station remains i

Seaside Special - End of the line: Lincolnshire

One chilly Friday morning in 2016 I was on the way to Berko station and became distracted by the sign outside our M&S.   F OD HALL it proclaimed in two-foot high letters. I attempted to engage a young man with a mirthful witticism. He was bent over a large vowel swathed in clear plastic which he was slicing off with a knife ready to re-attach to the sign above the entrance. "Got any ‘O’s?" I lobbed. The sign-smith gave me a look of total confusion. The appeal of the classic Two Ronnies sketch was clearly a generational thing. The wrong cultural references. I didn’t think it was worth inquiring about fork ‘andles… On the train to Doncaster (a small diversion… I promise we are still on the way to the seaside), I found myself channelling a shot of grumpy bastard as I tried to navigate through too many self-important passengers in order to find my seat. "I'm so busy!” shouted a woman into her phone, stood in the vestibule at the end of Car C. Blocking access in

Seaside Special - God’s Own Coastline Part 2: East Yorkshire

If you turn south from Scarborough, instead of the craggy, dramatic moors pitching lemming-like into impossibly tiny, inaccessible bays (already celebrated in last week’s post on North Yorkshire), the coastline becomes more varied. This is because, as my junior geology encyclopedia confirms, the ironstone and sandstone bedrock of the lower Jurassic geological epoch (what a great word, especially for a Collins-edition children’s book) gives way to chalks of a later period. Geology plays a big hand in the framing of the next town down the coast. Filey Bay is capped to the north by a narrow peninsula that extends into the North Sea for a mile or so, known as Filey Brigg. Like any other large geological feature in the land, there are various myths and legends that account for its unusual appearance. Take the Hole of Horcum or Roseberry Topping, both the Devil’s work, it is claimed. My favourite is a tale that the rocks of Filey Brigg were once the spine of a dragon who terrorized the ar