Simon and Deborah Gurney are wonderful owners and are extremely passionate about Forest Park and what it stands for today – a fantastic family-run holiday park situated in 100 acres of Cromer woodland offering memorable holidays since 1967.
Owning a Norfolk legacy, the Gurney family were English Quakers who had a major influence on the development of Norwich as we know and love today. Many Gurneys made their mark as social campaigners and philanthropists as well as boasting Norwich banking fame.
In 1667 John Gurney arrived in Norwich to live and work amongst the Quakers of the city. He became active in the woollen trade which his sons John (1688 – 1740) and Joseph (1691 – 1750) continued working in through businesses on St Augustine’s Street and Magdalen Street respectively after his death in 1721.
John Gurney’s sons, John (1719 – 1779) and Henry (1721 – 1777) gradually added banking transactions to their woollen trade and in 1770 the Gurney family formed Gurney’s bank. This later merged into Barclays in 1896 after eleven private banks joined together to meet the competition of the joint stack banks.
For more than 200 years, Forest Park’s sister-hotel Northrepps Cottage Country Hotel has remained in the Gurney family. Built by Bartlett Gurney in 1773, it was designed in gothic style by William Wilkins of Norwich, with input from Sir Humphry Repton who designed the gardens.
One of their most notable residents was renowned British scholar, Anna Gurney. Despite being wheelchair bound, Anna was known to take to the cliff tops and beaches during raging storms, directing rescue operations for stricken vessels and firing a cannon from her lap. She invented and funded the installation of a beeches buoy.
Anna Gurney was a great linguist, so every shipwrecked sailor was brought to the Cottage where they dried out, given a new set of clothes, a bible and enough money for their passage home.
Throughout the years, Northrepps Cottage has received many a famous visitor, including the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry – a daughter of the Gurney’s – who currently appears on the £5 note we spend today.