A new way of caring for the elderly

A Norwich residential care home is reaching out for your memories as it celebrates its diamond anniversary

It was in 1951 when the person who used to write this page in the Evening News was keeping an eye on a development, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, taking place in Norwich.

A building was rising on the corner of Corton Road and City Road where St Mark's Vicarage stood before it was bombed during the Second World War.

Named Corton House Eventide Home it was being built following a public appeal by the Free Church Council – and it was the first purpose-built voluntarily-run home for the elderly in England.

Our Over the Tea Table writer was impressed with the facilities – hot and cold running water in all the bedrooms, a sunny lounge and landscaped, walled gardens.

'It will be a home for 32 elderly people of all denominations although it is the inspiration of the free churches. Already there are about 60 applications from would-be residents,' he said.

The following year, in March of 1952, the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Eric Hinde, did the honours and opened Corton House, which is now celebrating its diamond anniversary with an appeal for your memories and photographs.

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Its roots can be traced back to Peggy Tillett. a worker with the Norwich City Mission and a deacon of Princes Street Congregational Church.

The old manse at Chester Place had just been released from war service and no-one was sure what to do with it until Peggy suggested: 'It would make a good home for some old people.'

After a lot of hard work the Eventide Home at Chester Place opened for 17 ladies and a matron. It was full from day one.

It was so successful that it was decided to embark on a far more ambitious project. Raising money to buy the bombed St Mark's Vicarage site. A management committee was appointed by the Free Church Council and the contract to build it was given to the builders opposite – Youngs of Norwich. It would cost around �30,000. In March of 1952 Lord Mayor of Norwich Eric Hinde turned the key in the main door and opened Corton House – it heralded the arrival of a home which paved the way for others to follow and a rethink over how we cared for the elderly. At long last we were giving people the respect and dignity they deserved when they found it difficult to continue looking after themselves.

In Norwich of the 21st century Corton House goes from strength to strength. It is one of the best-loved residential care homes in the city and is linked with Brakendon Close, a sheltered housing complex which stands in the same spacious grounds. The story of how and why it was built and how it has developed and expanded over the past six decades will be told in an exhibition to mark the diamond anniversary next month.

They would love to hear from you if you have any memories or photographs to help tell the story.

You can write to Corton House, City Road, Norwich, NR1 3AP, or email care@cortonhouse.co.uk or cortonhouse49@hotmail.com

For more information about the home go to www.cortonhouse.co.uk