Poppyland


Poppyland is the name given to Cromer and its vicinity by the author and drama critic, Clement Scott. Following a short excursion to this "pretty watering place" he was inspired to write a holiday article for the Daily Telegraph. This article, published on 30 August 1883, was to be the first of his Poppyland Papers, which appeared collectively three years later.

Scott's enthusiasm for the area was persuasive and the once secluded and peaceful corner of the Norfolk coast soon became a fashionable resort. The miller, Alfred Jermy, and his daughter, Louie, of whom Scott wrote, became celebrities, and their house, Mill House, became a centre for visiting literati. China festooned with poppies, Poppyland postcards and even Poppyland Bouquet perfume and soap were eagerly sought after souvenirs.

A favourite with the summer visitors was Scott's poem, The Garden of Sleep. It described the graveyard surrounding the lone cliff-top tower, at Sidestrand, which toppled over the edge of the cliff in 1916, The 14th century church, St Michael's, to which the tower had been a comparatively new addition, was removed, brick by brick from its precarious perch, to a safer site three years before Scott's first visit there. Scott returned time and again to the forsaken "garden", his special place, which over the years became the focal point of the Poppyland legend.

Poppyland by David Cleveland, from The Lady, 1975
The Poppyland Poets by Elizabeth Jones, from Norfolk Fair, 1984
Article about the BBC production of Paradise Lost and Found, which was broadcast on 13th January 1985
Poppyland by Simon Appleyard, from This England, 1987
Whatever happened to Poppyland? by Bel Bailey, from The Countryman, 2000

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With thanks to Pete Jermy for providing the images of the above Poppyland postcards.