The Carrstone Affect

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Hunstanton’s Historic Buildings

During the wintry months, any visitor not wishing to brave the blustery beaches of Hunstanton with it’s freezing winds, might like to take a walk around some of the town’s notable historical buildings. This blog highlights some of those known in the town, three of which display Civic Society coloured plaques. For those of you not familiar with the area, please note the honey-coloured bricks that many of the buildings are made of. It is a sandstone known locally as Carrstone.

Valentine Court

According to Jim Whelam, writing in the Hunstanton Newsletter:

The establishment of a convalescent home at Hunstanton was first suggested in 1869 in Ely Cathedral, so that sick and poor people from Ely could recover their health with the assistance of sea air . . . The Prince and Princess of Wales agreed to officially open the home on Easter Monday, 14th April 1879. As soon as the date was known, all the villages between Sandringham and Hunstanton began making preparations on a grand scale to honour the visit. During the Easter weekend the weather was foul with keen east winds, rain and snow. The day of the visit commenced with a dull leaden sky, no apparent sign of an improvement, and not even the numerous decorations could make Hunstanton look anything less than miserable. However by noon the clouds lifted and the sun shone, crowds gathered, the railway brought in 3,000 visitors and thousands of others entered by road.

Now a block of flats, the building appears on google searches mostly under property sales. Jim Whelam’s account in the local newsletter is really interesting and can be read here: The Royal Opening of Hunstanton Convalescent Home

Old Police Station

This old police station is great. It just looks like a ‘regular’ terraced house.  However from 1875 to 1954 it was Hunstanton’s police station. I wonder if the three cells were in the basement. One can only assume that crime was a relatively minor issue in Britain until the mid 50s, as the current police station, on the main road, is pretty big in comparison.

Children’s Recovery Home

Health for the Victorians was a major concern, some would say even an obsession, and the seaside was a perfect place for convalescing. This, once, children’s recovery home is now the council offices for the town. Now that our children are not dying of diphtheria, tuberculosis and typhus these old Victorian buildings are put to other uses. I don’t have the mortality figures handy for Hunstanton, but in Leeds in 1867 most people who died were 4 years old and under, and in one book I have – To Prove I’m Not Forgot – Living and Dying in a Victorian City by Sylvia M. Barnard –  the under one’s were classed separately, because their chances of living beyond one year old was so slim.

Old Vicarage

This is the old vicarage and is located in Northgate, at the town end of the street. Again, it is now apartments and it is difficult to find information on online it other than that on estate agents sites. However, I have included another photo of the building (below). This type of architectural detail is very popular in Hunstanton, and manifests in various forms on a number of buildings.

Often this, kind of, inlay appears in a square shape, which produces a tiling effect. I really like it and I wonder if it is a common style from that period that was produced mostly in this area, or whether it is more generic.

My little psychogeographico-historical trip around Hunstanton was interesting. The more time I spend in the town looking at the architecture and soaking up the ambience, the more I get in touch with its aesthetic, which feels like it is very particular to the area.

For information on my other work, please go to: particulations


Hunstanton Civic Society

  1. Nice blog post. I imagine that Hunstanton would be even more windy in Winter, we visited back in May and it was very very blustery then!

    Two other nice old historic buildings to visit in Hunstanton are the Victorian Pavilion which has a mini-museum/history information on the town. It’s alos the location of a Miniature Golf Putting course and a Crazy Golf.

    The other is the Old Coal Shed in the South End Car Park on the sea front. This whole area used to be the terminus of the old King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway line!

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment Richard. Is that the miniature golf course that’s on the prom? If it is there’s a strange little liminal space nearby. Thanks for recommending the other buildings, I’ll try and check them out on my next visit.

  3. Found your blog of Hunstanton very interesting, I was brought up in Hunstanton in the 1940s and 50s, I have been trying to find out about Hunstanton Football team in those years, as my Father Douglas Garner, used to play for the Team.

    • Hello Jill. Thanks for your message. Glad you liked the blog. Do you happen to have any old photos of Hunstanton? Did you manage to find out some info about your father. The people who write for the Hunstanton Newsletetr may be able to help you out re: the football team as most people who write for it have lived in Hunstanton for a long time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: