North Lodge Park celebrated its 90th birthday in fine style, and attention now turns to the 50th anniversary of the modern Cromer Carnival following 1970’s formation of the Voluntary Entertainments Organisation.
There had been Carnivals since at least the 1920s, and from l957 to 1964 North Lodge Park was the centre of Cromer’s annual fun and games.
The building of the tennis courts bandstand in 1957 provided the perfect staging for the crowning of Miss Cromer when Carnival was just a one-day event. Top stars of the day in summer season at Great Yarmouth did the honours – including Tommy Trinder, Derek Roy, and David Nixon.
Long before the Runton Road ‘carnival field’, vehicles for the Carnival Parade assembled at Cabbell Park football ground, driving up Overstrand Road to meet up with the walking parade entrants at the hard tennis courts where the Fancy Dress was also judged.
Master of Ceremonies Town Crier Alfie Howard, employed by the council as general summer cheerleader, was a regular presence in North Lodge Park throughout the season, providing children’s entertainment from the park bandstand up to the early 1960s.
June – in North Lodge Park history
- -1929: Receipts from the first week’s putting were £11 5s 5d. The council resolved to permit putting etc on Sundays from 2pm. Sunday morning opening began in July 1957 (from 10am).
- -1930: Cromer Urban District Council move into the North Lodge building after renovation completed, including the installation of electricity.
- -1946: Peace celebrations included a display by the Naval Training School and “the free use of the Park, Bowling Green and Tennis Courts.” It was also recommended that “a girl” be employed in the putting ticket office at wages of £1 5s pw compared to £1 15s to £2 for “boys”.
- -1954: The reconstruction of Rusts Shelter on the upper lawn, east of Doctor’s Steps Path, was abandoned as in breach of covenants proscribing the erection of buildings on land between Cliff Drive and East Cliff Path.
- -1964: Permission was given for the Youth Club to hold trial weekly dances on the hard tennis courts provided “any music be kept to an absolute minimum”.
- -1968: A ‘hovercraft’ was installed at Children’s Corner.