Part 2 – Leaving the Promenade
By Tina Richardson
Part 1 of this blog highlighted the experiences and findings resulting from walking Hunstanton promenade. This part responds to the urban décor that I came across upon leaving the promenade from the north end via The Green. I have used this décor as a means of both reading and (re)writing the urban space.
The Green in Hunstanton is edged on the North East by The Golden Lion Hotel and the Town Hall:
The above image shows the hotel on the left and next to it the Town Hall, which now appears to be the Tourist Information Centre, at least at the front section (I remember playing in a piano competition in the hall at the back as a child). The Cross on the Green, which no longer appears to be a cross, is meant to be the remains of an ancient village cross. According to Ken Arnott, in Hunstanton: The Story of a Small Norfolk Seaside Resort, it was repositioned on The Green at the time The Golden Lion was built (1846).
Despite these noteworthy buildings, built in the famous Carr Stone, my attention was drawn to the bikers that frequent The Green on sunny days.
Hunstanton, as many with seaside resorts, is known for its visits from bikers. From what I can tell they are welcomed by most people and are not considered by the locals to be a problem. In fact, my elderly parents used to wander down to The Green especially to look at the bikes. Motorcycle Rallys are regularly held in Hunstanton. This form of appropriation of space is quite interesting and I will endeavour to follow it up in a future blog. These two chaps not only kindly let me take their photo but also let me chat to them.
They were mates and came from Peterborough. They had been coming to Hunstanton since the 1980s. One was a trucker and the other a psychiatric nurse. The trucker said he had brought his 18 year old daughter to Hunstanton on the back of his bike before. They ride a Honda Blackbird 1100 and Suzuki VZR 1800. The bikes were quite beautiful and motorbikes generally are clearly a major passion to the owners, as can be demonstrated in this youtube film which is 1 minute 35 seconds of someone simply admiring their bike through the lens of a camcorder and sharing it with the world:
The Esplanade Gardens follow on from The Green. I’m not sure exactly when they were completed but, according to Mary Rhodes, sometime after 1897. There is a memorial to the flood victims of 1953 in the gardens. It says: “This tablet records the names of those residents of South Beach who lost their lives in the great flood and tempest. 31 Jan 1953.”. I took a photo of the tablet, but the one shown at the link below is much better (please scroll down for image):
Having grown up in King’s Lynn (the largest nearby town) in the 1960s I remember my parents talking about the flood which hit the port and coastal area badly. In fact, in North Lynn you can still see the marks of the floodwater on the buildings: often reaching as high as the first floors of the terraced houses.
Needless to say, like the prom, the gardens has a large focus on owner/dog behaviour. Although I didn’t see many dogs around either area.
I did find this council document on fouling in Hunstanton. According to Councillor Brian Long: “Dog fouling is at best unsightly and unpleasant. At worst it can actually cause disease and blindness. Under this new order we will be much more able to take enforcement action against irresponsible dog owners. The majority of dog owners are responsible and dutifully clean up after their dog has fouled, but it is the small minority that make it unpleasant for everyone else.”
Images of the Gardens
Other photos I would like to include here are:
Anglia in Bloom: Hunstanton seems to have had a good run on winning ‘Anglia in Bloom’ recently:
The Victorian Fountain: I’m assuming this fountain is Victorian (it has an arts-and-crafts-movement feel about it) but I don’t seem to have any further information on it. No water was spurting from it on the day of my visit.
Plants in Boat Sculpture: One of the first things you see when entering the park is this interesting sculpture/plant pot. Initially I thought it was a bit ‘cheesy’, but the more I look at it the more I like it. In the background you can see the bowling green and some of the unique Hunstanton architecture.
I ended this part of my promenade walk when I arrived at the Salad Bowl cafe, just on from the Esplanade Gardens, where I had lunch. Outside the cafe were three memorial benches, two had signs on them:
I shall conclude this blog with a quote from Arnott’s text. Apparently, this appeared in an old guide of the town (or ‘village’ as it was at that time): “A village of mellow walls, chequered with warm colours and red valerian and toadflax. There, lovers of antiquity will linger, held by a medieval spell.”.
Arnott, Ken. 2000. Hunstanton: The Story of a Small Norfolk Seaside Resort (King’s Lynn: Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk).
Rhodes, Mary. Date Unknown. The Hunstanton Story: The First Fifty Years 1861-1911 (Warwick: Private Publication).
For information on my other work, please go to: particulations