In March 1901 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) author
of the super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, returned from South
Africa where he had contracted enteric fever. Doyle
decided to recoup on the Norfolk coast where he planned
to rest and play some golf with his friend and companion
Bertram Fletcher Robinson. Robinson was a collector of
local stories and strange tales, over golf he regaled
his friend with these stories one of which was the
chilling tale of 'Black Shuck' the Hell Hound of
Doyle is said to have been so intrigued with this
ghostly legend that it inspired him to write one of his
greatest mysteries the 'Hound of the Baskervilles'
(1902). So it was that during the evenings whilst Doyle
and Robinson were staying at the Royal Links Hotel in
Cromer they planned the outline for this new story.
According to legend one of Black Shucks tracks runs
through today what is Mill Lane past the then Royal
Links Hotel over the hill into the grounds of Cromer
Hall. Doyle was acquainted with Lord Cromer and
visited him during his stay in Cromer.
The original Cromer Hall had been destroyed by fire and
then rebuilt in a Gothic style with heavily mullioned
windows and towers, which at that time of Doyle's visit
were covered in ivy.
The description of Cromer Hall almost perfectly matches
Doyle's description of Baskerville Hall in his story.
Robinson also had a manservant called Henry
Unfortunately for Norfolk, Doyle then moved on to
Dartmoor and decided to use this as the setting for his
Hound of the Baskervilles rather than Cromer.
The Royal Links Hotel has long since gone, but Cromer
Hall still stands though it is not open to the public.
Doyle visited Norfolk on a number of occasions and even
wrote another of his Sherlock stories 'The Dancing Men'
from a hotel in Happisburgh.
On this occasion Doyle did use 'Norfolk' as his setting
for the story.
The monochrome photograph below was
sent in by Alec a regular norfolkcoast visitor, after he
read our recent Newsletter. It clearly shows the
location of the hotel in relation to the Cromer
This coloured old post card picture
shown below is of the Royal Links Hotel, Cromer which
was very kindly supplied by Norfolkeye.
The hotel was built in 1888 but was unfortunately
destroyed by fire in 1949. A fantastic split level
building with a promenade terrace surrounding the
building on the middle floor, and a tower in the eastern
The building sits comfortably into the side of the hill,
with the main entrance being on the middle floor.