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Magnolia Cottage: History

The history of Sheringham can be clearly seen as you stroll around the town: at its heart the old fishing village, a maze of tiny lanes, surrounded by the spacious avenues of the Edwardians which followed the coming of the railway. This area of Holt Road saw the building of many beautiful houses, colonised by wealthy London families seeking summer retreats on this newly discovered and unspoilt coast. Summer residents included polar explorers Scott and Shackleton, the composer Vaughan Williams and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Magnolia Cottage dates from this period. It was originally a stable block, part of the estate of Sheringham Park, and was owned from 1892 by the Upchers of Sheringham Hall. The cottage can be glimpsed in a photograph of 1906 taken from the clifftop golf course.

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In 1901 ownership passed from the Upchers to Sir Forrest Fulton, an eminent barrister, judge, Conservative MP and Recorder of London, 'tall and elegant, with a blonde moustache and the looks of a matinee idol', who spent his final years in Sheringham. His memorial plaque can be found in Upper Sheringham church and his portrait (Vanity Fair, 1903) in the National Portrait Gallery.

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The stables at Magnolia Cottage also served the grand Sheringham Hotel which extended along Holt Road, with sweeping grounds, a ballroom and its own orchestra. During the First World War men and horses of the Royal Horse Artillery were quartered here. In 1929 the house, now enlarged, was listed as a gentleman's residence in Kelly's Directory of Norfolk. The Arts & Crafts fireplaces, of Norfolk red brick decorated with roofing tiles, are a local feature, found in many Sheringham houses of the period.


In the 1980s Roger Reynolds of comedy trio The Brother Lees, regulars on Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game, lived here. He converted what's now the holiday cottage into a snooker hall, where well known names of the day, including Steve Davis and John Virgo, played. 

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