Bach's Cromer Town
By Alice Digby and Jane Stevenson
By a steep, cobbled slipway that leads to the beach, sits a row of tall Victorian terraces inhabited by artists, holidaymakers and fishermen. Nestled amid the row is an unremarkable dwelling with a dark green, iron door. There seems nothing extraordinary about this house except that, unknown to most, it was once, between 1930-1934, the residence of a very special man. A man who has influenced thousands worldwide; someone who has inspired hundreds of books, written in many different languages, and myriad websites, articles, leaflets, brochures and journals. An inspirational, some say visionary, doctor, homeopath and surgeon who - through great personal sacrifice and dedication - pioneered a new, alternative system of treatment that went-on to be revered around the world by those seeking a different, natural way to heal emotional problems.
His name was and is Edward Bach and, whilst living here in the Norfolk coastal town of Cromer, he began his ‘journey of research’ into what became known as The Bach Flower Remedies.
Having used, made and prescribed Flower Remedies, for the larger part of my life, I feel extremely privileged to live just a 15-minute walk from Dr Bach’s former residence and in the town he inhabited when discovering many of his Remedies. A quaint, traditional seaside town; to the casual observer there’s nothing particularly remarkable about Cromer. It has the obligatory pier, a modest promenade and a few (formerly) grand hotels. In wintertime it’s quiet, sleepy and windswept (or gale-swept), in the summer it’s all ice cream, windbreaks and holidaying families, probably just as it was in the 1930s when Bach lived here.
There are some fine places to be found in and around this town, on the wild, sandy cliffs and grassy green hills. Places that Dr Bach himself walked whilst looking for plants and flowers to add to his growing range of remedies. I’d like to take you to one of those places, a special one, just over the way from my home...
The delightfully named ‘Happy Valley’ is an area of mown park and wild scrubland, watched-over by an elegant lighthouse and bordered by the open sea to one side and woodland to the other. A favourite place for dog-walkers, it’s where I take my dog, Simba, early each morning. If you climb the steep ridge, out of the valley, you’ll be met by a wonderful view overlooking a wide expanse of sea. Sometimes the sea is bluey green – tropical looking, other times it’s dark, rough and angry. But it is here, during the late summer, that the cliffs are blanketed in a profusion of Gorse, as far as you can see. There’s a nicely positioned bench nearby and a perilous long, windy path, cut out of the cliffs, leading to the beach. So, although this is a public place, this little patch still feels secret and special – the flowers positively inviting you to make a remedy from them.
It is well documented that Bach made at least nine of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies in and around Cromer and that his Clematis Remedy was made from the flowers on these banks, but could this be the precise spot? Perhaps, back in the 1930s, this is where the first ever Clematis Flower Remedy was made? Perhaps those very plants I use to make my Clematis are the descendents of those that Bach himself used? It’s impossible to know, but it’s nice to wonder or even daydream; as those requiring Clematis are prone!
On Januray 8th 1930 Dr Bach began his 4-year association with Cromer where he lived in his house on the slipway by the beach for much of the time. In August 1930 he discovered Agrimony, Centaury, Chicory, Cerato, and Vervain here. In Septemeber he discovered Scleranthus. Later in 1933 he discovered Oak in Cromer.
This otherwise fairly ordinary town of Cromer is a place that inspires me like it inspired Edward. A place where many of the first discoveries were made, and the sequence of unplanned events happened, that helped enable Edward Bach to create something very special – a gift to the world.
© Copyright 2010 A Digby and J Stevenson
4 Brunswick Terrace, Cromer, England.
The dwelling to the right of the cream coloured house was Dr Bach’s residence in the 1930s
See Bach's house here on google maps. See that not much has changed since the time he lived here!