The industry was at its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as the coming of the railways made it possible for fish to be transported more efficiently to market. Through the 1900s the focus of the fishing, as all along the north Norfolk coast, began to be on crabs, lobsters and whelks. The crab and lobster fishing made the local fishermen major suppliers to the London fish markets. Long lining for cod and the catching of herring began to become less important in the second half of the century, as did whelking. Today, from a peak of maybe 200 boats, Sheringham has eight boats operated single-handed.
The current town of Sheringham was once Lower Sheringham, a fishing station for the main village, now known as Upper Sheringham. It is a railway town that was developed with the coming of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line in the late 19th century. Most of Sheringham's range of buildings and shops come from this period and the early 20th century. It has a particularly interesting range of buildings using flint, not normally in the traditional Norfolk style but in a variety of techniques.
Sheringham Museum was located in converted fishermen's cottages and washhouses in the heart of the town. The museum had, as part of its information on the local Fishing industry, a collection of original boat building tools dating back to the 1880s. Sheringham became famous for its boatbuilding with boat-builders like Lown, Johnson and especially Emery being kept busy in the town. These skilled shipwrights built boats for Sheringham, Cromer and other fishermen further afield. There was a display in the museum of Emery's original bench and tools. Fishing is the foundation of which Lower Sheringham developed with a small, tightly-knit community developing on the cliffs and launching their boats from the flint beaches. During the mid 19th century there were over 200 boats fishing off the shore. The fishermen were real characters going by nicknames like Downtide, Bounce, Squinter, Spider, Butter Balls, Bread-alone, Pongo and Teapot. Also on display were models of lifeboats, a Roman kiln, the original settlement of Upper Sheringham, and photographs showing how this popular holiday resort has grown over the years. One of the newest displays showed pieces of elephant bone that have been coming out the cliff to the west of Sheringham. Significant because no-one expected any such finds to be made here. The pieces of bone on display have been dated back some 1.5 million years. These giant animals roamed the world at a time when what is now the Norfolk coast, although then much further north, was enjoying an almost tropical environment. The museums display told the story of these remarkable animals and traces there migratory journey from continent to continent. Linked with this was a display on the geology of the beach and information as well as a display of the most common fossils you will find on the local beaches. There is a displays covering the war years at the museum. On 19 January 1915 Sheringham became the first place in Britain to have a bomb dropped on it by a Zeppelin. The story and part of the bomb is on display in the Museum. Sheringham was a front-line town during World War II. Barbed wire surrounded the beaches from fear of invasion and the cliffs often reverberated from the pounding of large guns practicing at the close by Weybourne Camp. A displays called the 'Misfortunes of Peace and War' had displays of debris of planes, ships, other items found on the beaches of North Norfolk. Another display allowed the visitor to take a peep into an old pharmacy, and there were other unusual objects such as a pig's bladder used as a fisherman's float, a Victorian fly trap. Visitors could also learn about the discontinued practice of flint picking off the beaches.
One architectural landmark in Sheringham is the Church of St Joseph, on Cromer Road. This Roman Catholic Church was designed by the renowned architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, whose other work includes Battersea Power Station, Liverpool Cathedral, the Red Telephone box and many other noteworthy and significant buildings both in the UK and abroad. In 1901 a donation of over £3,000 by Catherine Deterding, the wife of the then managing director and founder of the Shell Oil Company, enabled the purchase of land around the existing chapel to build a new church. Work began in 1902 and the first section St Joseph's chapel was completed in 1908 . In 1910 the second section opened, which comprises the sanctuary, the nave and the porch. Later the church was completed by extending the nave and adding a new porch. The complete building was consecrated on the 25th March 1935. From the outside it is possible to see the join between the two buildings clearly with the northern two-thirds opened by the Bishop of Northampton, Frederick William Keating, in 1910, and the southern extension completed in 1935. This large red-brick church towers over its neighbours, and is reminiscent of Scott's Bankside power station in London, now Tate Modern. The north end, liturgical east, has a high rose window, the north and south sides being flanked by sets of three vast Perpendicular-style windows. The church is entered through a porch and into a nathex on the south west corner of the building. Behind a grilled area to the east there is a large framed icon of the Blessed Virgin. Inside the church the height and narrowness emphasizes the arcades which are also of a good height and have arches of alternate sizes. The décor is a mixture of both the arts and crafts movement and industrial Gothic, a signature of Gibert Scott’s style. The font is a replica of the Little Walsingham seven sacraments font and is of a medieval style. There are some good pieces of early 20th century devotional art much of which was imported from the studio and workshop of Ferdinand Stuflesser in the Austrian Tyrol. There is a rood screen above the entrance to the sanctuary. During the fitting out of the church, the Stations of the Cross, ordered from Stuflesser, spent the First World War in the hold of a German freighter impounded at Genoa. Because of the historic nature and importance of this church, it is the only listed building in Sheringham. St Joseph celebrated its Centenary in July 2008.
The memorial to the men and women of Sheringham and Beeston Regis who died in military service during the two World Wars is located at on the traffic island at the intersection of The Boulevard, St Nicholas Place and The Esplanade. The memorial was designed by Herbert Palmer somewhat in the style of an Eleanor cross. It is of Clipsham stone and stands tall. It was unveiled on 1 January 1921. The names of the dead are on four panels that form the base of the cross. A recent addition to the memorial is a small wrought-iron fence around the base with poppy motifs. There are also further names on memorial boards in the nearby parish church of St Peter.
They asked Humphry Repton to design Sheringham Hall. The Upcher family also built a school. The Hall is still privately occupied, but Sheringham Park is in the care of the National Trust and open to visitors.