Centenary of Norwich almshouses celebrated

Staff, residents and trustees celebrate the100 years of Stuart Court almshouse in Norwich.PHOTO BY S

Staff, residents and trustees celebrate the100 years of Stuart Court almshouse in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

They were built to help the city's less fortunate – at a time when the world was at war.

The opening ceremony at Stuart Court in 1915. Picture: www.dochurst.co.uk / Paul Hurst

The opening ceremony at Stuart Court in 1915. Picture: www.dochurst.co.uk / Paul Hurst - Credit: Archant

And a century later, the Stuart Court Alms houses in Norwich are still providing those in need with shelter.

Local dignitaries were invited to a centenary lunch this week to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic row of homes, off Recorder Road.

Today the homes are occupied by elderly residents who are not always able to afford to rent elsewhere in the city.

Carol Sangster, trustee, said: 'They provide a vital service for vulnerable people and the buildings have a unique character that make them much sought after.

'Over the past 100 years I think the need for them has been pretty constant.

'It is about providing good accommodation without people feeling they are coming here looking for charity.'

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The charity was created by Ethel Mary Colman and Helen Mary Colman in 1915 and the almshouses were opened on December 7 that year.

They wanted it to serve as a memorial to their late brother-in-law James Stuart Colman, who served as managing director of the family's mustard company in 1890.

Mrs Sangster said they opened the homes with the intention of helping the 'deserving poor' across the city.

She added: 'Despite the conflict and carnage of war, Ethel and Helen still believed in the future enough to set about providing homes for those less fortunate than themselves.'

The 22 almshouses are managed by the Norwich Housing Society and are available for people over the age of 60.

People living in the homes pay cheaper rent and are able to stay their for as long as they wish.

Josephine Mulligam, who has lived at Stuart Court for the past 12 years, said: 'I think these homes are very important because some people do need them and there is a lovely family atmosphere here. Everyone looks out for each other and are so considerate.'

Next year there will be even more to celebrate, as the almshouses gardens are refurbished in the spring.

For more information contact the Norwich Housing Society on 01603 625078.

Is your organisation or charity celebrating a major milestone? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.