Sheringham to Holt, Norfolk

Some photographs from the North Norfolk Railway steam heritage line (also known as The Poppy Line) – and environs.
Dating back to 1887, the North Norfolk Railway suffered the usual vicissitudes of steam, and later diesel, rail services in rural areas. The commercial line from Norwich to Sheringham survived the Beeching cuts. Sheringham Station was closed to the public in 1967 when British Rail built a platform on the east side of Station Road so that trains no longer had to use the level crossing to reach the station. The station buldings and platforms were then leased to the Midland and Great Northern Society, to become part of the North Norfolk Railway. It was 1975 before the company could offer public passenger trains, eventually running through to the station at Holt.

Sheringham appears as a place-name in Domesday 1086. The dominance of the fishing industry eventually gave way to the town becoaming a seaside holiday resrt. The motto of the town, granted in 1953 to the Sheringham Urban District Council, is Mare Ditat Pinusque Decorat, Latin for 'The sea enriches and the pine adorns'.

Corner Holway Road/Cromer Road (south of the station)
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 34
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 352022 images
Sometimes, removal of a shop name-board will reveal previously hidden lettering on the structure beneath. Here the steel girders bear the words:
which is repeated round the corner on Holway Road. John Barnes is listed in the 1865 Kelly’s Post Office Directory as ‘iron and brass founder, Church Street, St Miles’ in Norwich, but the foundry was to be known variously as (a) Barnes Ironworks, (b) Barnes and Pye as a partnership (between Jacob Pye and John Youngs - dissolved on the latter's death in 1929) and as a company (Barnes and Pye Ltd from 1962 until dissolved in 2006) and also as (c) the St Miles Foundry.

Station Hotel/Dolphin, Railway Approach
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 2
The tablet reads: 'Renewed 1979; John Fetherstone'. The Dolphin was situated on Railway Approach. This pub closed in 1975. 'The building of the former Station Hotel still stands opposite the Railway Station, on the Corner of Station Approach and St Peter’s Road. Licensed in 1896 but with no public bar until 1904, in the 1960s it became the Dolphin Hotel,around the time parts of the station and some of the lines were closing. The Dolphin pub sign from c.1963 shows a painting of a Dolphin and the name of then owners Bullards brewery – as well as its obvious maritime connections, ‘Dolphin’ might also refer to the nautical term for a structure consisting of a number of piles driven into the seabed as a mooring point. It has since been converted into residential and office accommodation, now St Peter’s House.' [Information from Pints & pubs, Sheringham
The Robin Hood, 13-15 Station Road (corner with New Road). We must also credit the 'Pints & pubs' website for this image of a fine, quirky piece of terra cotta decoration in a gable triangle on The Robin Hood.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 4Image
from Pints & pubs, Sheringham website
Steward, Patteson, Finch & Co. was a Norfolk brewery founded in 1793 and using this name from 1837 to 1895; the company became Steward & Patteson after that. (For an example of the latter monogram, see our Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ipswich page.) It declined and closed as a brewery in the mid-1970s. The diminutive ampersand tucks in below the overhang of the 'F'. The 'Co.' is easy to mss from the street with the three-quarters of a circle 'C' enclosing the circular 'O'. The Robin Hood building dates to mid-19th century, the pub was renamed in 1904.

St Peters Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 315 St Peters Road
Just down the road from the former Dolphin, it's worth mentioning this terrace of three-storey, flint-faced houses on St Peters Road. The decorative features all point to 'seaside resort' architecture.

Church Street/High Street
Further into the town centre, a group of buildings on the west side feature framed monograms within three-dimensional cartouches. W.H. Smith is the last in Chrch Street, the next three addresses are in High Street.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 5
Below: '1894' in extravagent, condensed numerals; 'H' and '1897'; 'SJP' (or other permutations); 'WHB'
(or other permutations).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 6 to 9

1 High Street
Sea View Hotel overlooked the Promenade. 'This shabby, empty Victorian building overlooking the promenade, between the Two Lifeboats and the Crown, was once the Sea View Hotel, more recently Shannocks, finally closing under the name No.1 Bistro Bar. As Shannocks Hotel in the early 2000s, it advertised “a spacious bar open to everybody all year round”, serving “a full range of beers, lagers, wines, spirits and soft drinks”, with “all tables having a panoramic view of the sea”.[Information from Pints & pubs, Sheringham website]
These photographs date from 2020 showing various fugitive lettering; the building has since been demolished and the land turned into a car park.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 102020 images
Below: close-ups show that 'THE CLYFFE CAFE / RESTAURANT' was another name used.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 18
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 11   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 16  
Vestigial lettering: 'ICES' (twice), 'SERVED HERE' (perhaps from that very window, '[CA]FE' (up high). Below: 'ENTRA[NCE]', 'SE...' (?), 'ICED TEAS SNAC[KS]', 'ICES'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 15Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 17
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham19

The steam railway
Sheringham is now nationally famous as a heritage steam line – a tribute to good management and invaluable volunteering. Here are some photographs from May 2022 on their Steam Gala Day. Historic lettering examples are scattered throughout, albeit many of them recreated by skilled signwriters during the renovation process.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 20Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 21Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 22C   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 23D   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 24E   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 25F
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 26G   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 27H
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 28I   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 29J
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 30K   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 31L
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 32M   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Sheringham 33N
Notes: A. G.E.R. armorial – probably a vinyl decal – of the railway company (see also an example in the Church of St Mary-at-Stoke, Ipswich).
F. cast iron spandrel supporting the platform canopy featuring, within a circle, a foliate five-pointed star with a smaller version in the centre with tendrils adding an Art Nouveau touch.
G. The Mazawattee Tea Company, founded in 1887, used Hindi words meaning 'pleasure of the garden' after 1953 the firm was sold to a subsidiary of Burton, Son & Sanders Ltd of Ipswich;
H. Fire-buckets (note the lower handles to aid throwing of water at the seat of a fire) – 'M&GNJR NOTICE - THESE BUCKETS MUST BE KEPT FULL OF WATER AND USED ONLY IN CASE OF FIRE. BY ORDER'
L. Weybourne Station has a brick-built road bridge and a metal footbridge over the line.
N. cast weighbridge cover by 'H. POOLEY & SON LTD'; this was a mechanical engineering company specialising in the manufacture of weighing machines and based in Liverpool then later in Birmingham. An example of the company's weighing machines can be found on Platform 2 of Ipswich railway station (bottom of page).

Holt milepost
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Holt milepost   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Holt milepost
The two views above show both the stone milepost topped with a stone pineapple (symbolising good fortune), with an ornate cast iron street lamp on 'Obelisk Plain'. Both structures have been moved from elsewhere. 'The High Street terminates where it reaches the A148 King’s Lynn to Cromer road but dominating this busy ‘T’ junction is the United Methodist Chapel, designed by Thomas Jekyll of Norwich, and considered to be one of the finest examples of Victorian church architecture in the UK. Built in 1863 for the then huge sum of 2,000 the turreted spire was originally designed to accommodate a clock, but the high building costs meant the circular brickwork panels remain empty.'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Holt milepost2023 image courtesy David Gaylard
The brief Historic England Grade II Listing text is revealing: 'Mid C18. Limestone. Rectangular on plan. Rusticated quoins. Carved pineapple finial on classical cornice. Said to have been moved from the Melton Constable estate.'

'The pineapple topped obelisk is one of a pair of gateposts relocated from Melton Constable Park, the other was given to the town of East Dereham in 1757. Each stone panel bears the distance in miles to various locations in Norfolk, calculated correctly when the gatepost originally stood at the entrance to Melton Constable Hall and the reason why the mileages are not at all accurate from Holt. At the start of World War II, the townsfolk of East Dereham decided to dump their obelisk down a well so as not to assist the enemy in the event of an invasion. The four panels on Holt's obelisk were simply white-washed over!
The Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Lantern was erected in 1887 and originally stood in the centre of the Market Place. In 1921 the Lantern was moved to Obelisk Plain in order to make way for Holt’s War Memorial. The light was powered by the town’s rather unreliable gas supply proving so erratic that the light was more ‘off-than-on’, earning it the nickname of ‘Blind Sam’. The copper lantern housing mysteriously disappeared which prompted a restoration scheme in the 1990s where an exact replica was built using the original design drawings.' [Information from Holt Owl Trail website]

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