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The History of the Greenhouse Trust
1994 - 5
2003 - 4
2005 - 6
2007 - 8

A group of nine volunteers became the Trustees of the Greenhouse Trust and raise a mortgage of £153,000 to purchase 42-46 Bethel Street.

Funding from a variety of charitable trusts allows work to proceed on the removal of outbuildings at the rear of the property to enable a small organic courtyard garden to be built. The Trust is a winner of the BT-WWF Partnership Awards for Environment in the Community.

A substantial private donation and a grant from the Thomas Anguish Foundation provided funding for the first and second floors to be completely replaced.

During this time generous private and public financial support made it possible to install a hot water solar system on the front (south facing) roof. This became the first renewable energy system on a public (and listed II*) building in Norfolk.

A grant from Eco-Power part funds the installation of a photo-voltaic electricity generating system, again this is a first for the county. Grants from the Jenny Wood, John Jarrold and the Mrs F B Laurence Trust add to the funds available for the development of our solar educational work.

A grant from the Helen Roll charity made the installation of a kitchen and servery possible. David Hood, a keen Friend of the Greenhouse leaves the Trust a bequest in his will, which completes the purchase of the building and creates a reserve to secure the future of the building. The Greenhouse Trust can is now able to focus its fundraising efforts almost exclusively on the running and development of services.

After nine years of hard work, involving more than a hundred volunteers, the restoration and conversion work is complete.

A Lottery – Awards For All Grant, allows the Trust to improve the educational and training opportunities on offer at the Greenhouse and successfully publishes its third educational cookbook.

With the Stern report raising the debate on the economic benefits of addressing climate change before crisis occurs, the Trust’s educational work increases. Part of the educational work includes a travelling exhibition entitled 20 years 20 lives. The launch of this exhibition of photos of 20 people, from all walks of life across Europe affected by the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl takes place consecutively in City Hall (London) and the Greenhouse in Norwich. Three set of the exhibition then spend the year travelling around the UK (co-ordinated by the Chernobyl Children’s Project), and the regions Libraries.

The Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are tenants of the Greenhouse Trust. They publish ‘Green Buildings in Norfolk, 21 examples of renewable energy in action’. The Greenhouse is included in the booklet. The Greenhouse runs regular second-hand book sales and sells books on line in order to increase both the level of access to our education materials and local fundraising.

Website re-launched with on-line information briefings and improved second-hand book store-front. Third year of ‘Green building tours’ Developed to include ‘Future Heritage’ Display & exhibition, with information workshops. 9th Fairtrade Fortnight event, as part of Trading Fairly’ project.

The Greenhouse joined the Sustainable Energy Academies (SEA) ‘Superhomes’ Network and organised a second ‘Future Heritage’ exhibition as part of the National Heritage buildings week. The Greenhouse also organised the Social Environmental & Economic Sustainability (SEEing the Future) competition which involved local schools.

Stop Climate Chaos Coalition used office space and resources to co-ordinate a meeting with Norwich South MP (Simon Wright). Delegates from a wide range of organisations including, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, United Nations Association, Salvation Army, Norwich Women’s Institute, Christian Aid, UNICEF, CPRE, RSPB and Norwich City Council put questions to our MP, prior to the COP 17 UN Convention on Climate Change in Durban. Local supporters made a virtual journey and raised £1,000 towards the lobby work.

Organic wine tastings were established as a key way of inviting new people to support the Greenhouse. The Directors and Trustees combined the two administrative boards to join up our education and marketing work. And finally, in December the Trust piloted its first on-line art sale.

The Greenhouse website was re-designed to respond to the increasing level of virtual visits to the Greenhouse. All the paper educational resources were translated into down-loadable pages. The Trust took part in Open Studios, creating a virtual tour and exhibition entitled ‘The Pollen Path’.


The 20th anniversary of the Greenhouse Trust. 





See Gallery Archive for further Greenhouse history 


1. Photovoltaic panels installed above the courtyard garden, on steels from former print workshop

2. Organic herb and salad plants in courtyard garden, part of café serving organic, Fairtrade and local produce

3. 3 Rainwater butts for rainwater storage. For use in public toilets and watering plants

4. Rainwater pump

5. 1 tonne – rainwater storage tank supplying 3 public toilets/2 hand-basins

6. Solar hot water shower

7. Dual/low flush public toilets (including wheelchair accessible toilet)

8. Carbon blown glass insulation board under floor tiles


Floor and wall insulation
9. Recycled paper – 100mm (suspended under the floor)

10. Carbon blown glass board as insulating skin to (new build) extension wall

11. Reclaimed timber for flooring

12. Re-use of bricks from site for extension

13. Quadruple glazing in new (Forest Stewardship Certificated – FSC) timber frames

14. Reuse of doors from building in servery. Cherry tree timber (from old printing press) used for decorative design purposes


15. Re use of timber (from former printer hoist) as cladding to 100mm cork insulated entrance lobby

16. Cork – 50mm under concrete floor
17. Re-use of existing pamnents to create slope for wheelchair access

18. Marmoleum (Linseed- non-petroleum) floor covering

19. Reused and FSC pine for shelving in shop, store and pantry


20. Gas condensing boiler for heating hot water

21. Gas oven with ventilation through central chimney stack
22. Solar hot water supply – direct to glass washer (to save electricity)
23. CFC free refrigeration. (A) rated appliances
24. Recycling bins for – glass, plastic, paper, cans, etc.


Floor and wall insulation
25. Cork – 50mm – 100mm (South facing walls)
26. Cork – 200mm- 250mm (North facing walls)
27. Recycled paper – 100mm (under floor – sound and heat)
28. Re-use of industrial radiators, fitted with individual thermostats
29. Wooden shutters – to non-opening window – lined with recycled paper insulation board
30. Doors upgraded for wheelchair access and fireproofed
31. Wheelchair lift
32. Hearing loop
33. Rainwater filter



34. Photovolatic (electricity generating) panels

35. Solar (hot water) evacuated tubes
36. Roof lights to increase light and ventilation
37. 1 litre low flush toilet
38. Small bath (also or pre- washing, shared washing machine)


39. Wool – 100mm40. Cork – 100mm – 250mm

41. Recycled paper – 200mm
42. Re-used rubber for sound insulation
43. Double glazing in new timber frames, behind original single glazing = triple glazing
44. Re-used doors and timber panelling from existing building
45. Cross-hatched joist, using re-used timber – to increase depth of insulation (270mm)



46. New flooring (Alder) from Norfolk Broads
47. Low energy lighting
48. Re-used fabric for heavy -insulating curtains
49. Cast iron and clay drainage
50. Non PVC pipe work
51. Limited use of PVC in fire alarm system/wiring
52. Blinds to control temperature/sunlight
53. Chimneys sealed, fireplaces restored (decorative only) chimneys sealed
54. Organic plant solvent paints and varnishes, waxed floors
55. Chairs and tables made from local tree species
56. Second-hand and repaired furniture (skips and junk shops)
57. Carpets – hessian backed, felt and paper underlay


Local timber for public staircase – Ash, Oak, Beech and Chestnut. North American plantation pine used for treads and newel

A more detailed timeline of the Greenhouse, its history and the building work can be read by clicking on the PDF button below:

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