A family tree of the Randell family originating in Cromer, Norfolk
Thomas Randell ~ The Randell Warm Seawater Baths ~ Clockmakers ~ Ironmongers ~ Postmasters ~ Sailors ~ Victorians

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Randell Warm Seawater Baths

A rough pencil sketch of Cromer seafront in 1809 shows a modified wooden boathouse structure on the beach. The upper section had windows, a chimney and a pan tiled roof. It stood on stilts and apparently the lower section had large double doors to admit boats. This building heralded the beginnings of Cromer's popularity as a place to indulge in the new fashion of taking hot and cold sea water baths.baths

Late in the eighteen century the medieval practice of taking the spa waters had been extended to include bathing in sea water. Sea water was believed to have medicinal benefits particularly in winter.
Recognising their market a Cromer newspaper editorial around the time, informs the 'Gentry and Nobility' of the benefit of sea water bathing and offers a testimonial regarding the cleanliness and suitability of Cromer's Seawater Baths.
Some time around 1814 a second structure appeared on the beach this was recorded on several prints and drawings. On the side of this building the words 'Randell's Warm Seawater Baths' were painted in large letters. A few years later White's Directory mentions Mr. Thomas Randell's Warm Sea Water Baths were operating successfully on Cromer beach. However White's Directory for 1836 also made a chilling prediction that the Bath House would be engulfed in the unforgiving grasp of the winter sea. The following year the prediction came true.
"As the storm raged on the night of the 17 February the inhabitants gathered on the cliff to witness the destruction. When it subsided the inhabitants could scarcely recognise their own beach."
The building on stilts had disappeared and White's Directory of 1845 records that Mr. Randell's Warm Baths were "so shattered by the storm that he removed them to his Jetty Street premises."

Baths Later

Images of Cromer beach provided by Cromer Museum

2007 Archaeology - Randell's Baths

In March 2007, as a result of severe winter scouring, five wooden posts appeared on Cromer beach northeast of Red Lion Steps. The posts which were said to be in solid condition, were 170 mm in diameter and rose up to 240mm above the sand. They appeared as two rows forming an ‘L’ shape approximately one and half meters across both axis. Opinion was divided but they may be the remains of the 1814 wooden structure of Randell’s Warm Sea Bath, or timbers associated with a well on the same site. It's also possible that they are the remains of a small jetty from a significantly earlier period.

This image shows the remains of timbers revealed by winter scouring in March 2007. The posts are situated in what is presumed to be the original location of Randell’s Warm Seawater Baths.

The illustration at the top of the page shows the Baths just to the north of the Red Lion Steps.

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