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Former home of renowned 'Norwich butterfly lady' goes on the market

PUBLISHED: 15:46 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:51 16 May 2019

Protesters gather outside the former Children's services on Upton Road, Norwich. They are protesting against the Naylor review, which is a programme that identified NHS surplus land which could be sold.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Protesters gather outside the former Children's services on Upton Road, Norwich. They are protesting against the Naylor review, which is a programme that identified NHS surplus land which could be sold. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A former's children's centre and family home of a renowned Norfolk butterfly expert has been listed for sale.

Margaret Fountaine, Victorian lepidopterist and traveller. Photo: Norfok Museums and Archaeology ServiceMargaret Fountaine, Victorian lepidopterist and traveller. Photo: Norfok Museums and Archaeology Service

Eaton Grange, at 40 Upton Road in Eaton, has gone on the market, and, according to its listing, is now under offer.

The building was most recently a children's centre, but closed in 2017 having been identified as surplus NHS land under the Naylor review.

Despite protests, its services were moved to the Norwich Community Hospital on Bowthorpe Road, with papers at the time suggesting the sale of the building could generate £2m for the NHS.
It had been the home of several community paediatric teams, including the children's key worker service, looked after children service, ADHD psychology service and short break home nursing service.

At the time, the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust said the décor, fixtures and fittings of the buildings were "in need of repair".

Part of Margaret Fountaine's butterfly collection, pictured in 2006 ahead of the publication of her biography. Photo: Angela SharpePart of Margaret Fountaine's butterfly collection, pictured in 2006 ahead of the publication of her biography. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Many years earlier, the building was the family home of Margaret Fountaine, known fondly to some as the Norwich butterfly lady, who was an accomplished natural history illustrator, diarist and adventurer.

Born in South Acre, the family moved to Eaton Grange in 1877, before she began travels around the world which would lead to a collection of 22,000 butterfly specimens, which are now housed at the Norwich Castle Museum.

Her sketch books, detailing the life cycles of a butterfly, are also held at the Natural History Museum in London.

After the family left, the building was a girls boarding school, before it became a centre for women with learning difficulties opened by the local authority in 1930.

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It hovered somewhere between a mental health unit, a hostel, halfway house and rehabilitation centre, and after the formation of the NHS was overseen by the regional hospital board.

In 1973, it became one of the first centres of its kind to admit men as residents.

Pippa Lainsbury worked at the building for several years, and said she and her colleagues spoke fondly of the Norwich "butterfly lady".

At one point, she said, the Prince's Trust volunteers fittingly installed a sensory garden which attracted butterflies.

She said it was "such a beautiful building", and that it was sad to see it empty.

According to the listing for the building, the site contains a detached, two-storey building, with a car park and side garden, along with a small coach house.

It says there is "potential for redevelopment to alternative uses, including residential".



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