Cat no. 92

Time and Place: The Norfolk Coastline

Black & White Sound 1966 Norfolk, Norfolk

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The changing nature of the Norfolk coastline from Horsey to Holkham.


EducationalNatural HistoryPublic Information FilmTelevision

The film begins with the narrator, Dick Bagnall-Oakeley, standing by the B1159 Yarmouth to Horsey road remembering the floods of February, 1938. He had been on the road that night and had had narrowly escaped getting caught in the floods. He recalls that he returned the next morning to observe the damage and shows stills taken when the sea flooded 10 miles inland. Shots of the landscape as it appears now, including Horsey Mill. After a brief shot of the duck pond at Winterton and All Saints Church, Mr. Bagnall-Oakeley moves on to Eccles showing the beach, the site of the lost village of Eccles, and remembers the ruins of Eccles Church, no longer visible. He also recalls bringing a Dutch friend to visit who was appalled that the English could build behind such a slender defence and compares the sea wall at Eccles with a door step. Mr. Bagnall-Oakeley shows the chalet village and the wall to illustrate the point. To show other sea defences the film focuses on the dunes and the marram grass that binds them together, before moving on to the more substantial sea wall at Cart Gap.

At Happisburgh, wooden sea defences were being built to bolster the natural defences. Moving on to Walcott, Mr. Bagnall-Oakeley sits on the sea wall and shows more stills of 1938. These show bungalows overhanging the low cliffs, which were replaced by the wall. Along the coast at Bacton the film shows the gas pipe terminal in its early days, with the early pumps visible above ground. The pipeline and terminal building are in the early stages of construction. At Trimmingham, Bagnall-Oakeley shows us Trimmingham Cliffs, the highest in Norfolk, that are part clay and therefore sliding onto the beach. He shows a colony of sandmartins and fulmers in flight.

At Cromer, with the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and Pier visible in the background, the camera pans out to sea, to the site of Shipden, the precursor of Cromer, which was engulfed by the sea during the 12th century. Bagnall-Oakley offers a potted history of the two. He shows the site of a church, the tower of which has been incorporated into Sidestrand Church. There is a still of the tower. Moving up the coast to Weybourne where the sand turns to a shingle bank that stretches for seven miles, Mr. Bagnall-Oakley and an un-named school boy, show an example of the fossils that can be found, in this case an elephant's tooth. He also shows a pillar box from the war - now half way down the cliff.

At Salthouse, where the sea defences take the form of natural saltmarshes, Bagnall-Oakeley shows the equipment needed for wildlife photography and then goes to take some film. Close-up shots of some of the waders, including some oystercatchers and chicks are taken from earlier films that he made. At Cley, there are exterior and interior shots of Cley Windmill, including some of the machinery. Bagnall-Oakeley gives a potted history of the port of Cley before it silted up. The film shows the new wall around the village, designed to keep out the sea, and the Old Customs House. He takes a boat along the creek to Blakeney, which suffered a similar fate.

On to Stiffkey marshes. There are shots of Morston and then a man on a bicycle with a bag of cockles; Stukey Blues. The last scenes of the film are at Holkham Bay. Here, in the 18th century, the Earl of Leicester planted pine trees to try and keep the sand out of his estate's agricultural land. These are causing new dunes to form. The area is now a nature reserve.

Background Information:

Dick Bagnall-Oakley was born in Norwich on May 15th, 1908. He was educated at Hemsby Village School, the Old School House and Greshams. He was offered a place at Clare College, Cambridge in 1928 and achieved a First in Geography. He spent some time at the Art College in Norwich before becoming a geography master at Greshams.

Featured People:

Dick Bagnall-Oakeley

Featured Events:

East Coast floods of February, 1938

Featured Buildings:

Bacton Gas Terminal Building; St. Nicholas' Church, Blakeney; Cley Windmill; The Old Customs House, Cley; The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Cromer; Cromer Pier; Horsey Mill; St. Nicholas' Church, Salthouse; All Saints Church, Winterton

F.R. Elwell

Royston Halladay

Bill Harris

Dick Bagnall-Oakeley

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