Coltishall Girlguiding centre opened up to public

Visitors have been given the chance to learn about the history behind an historic north Norfolk house which has become one of the most well-known centres for Girl Guides in East Anglia.

Great Hautbois House in Coltishall was opened to the public over the weekend for free, as part of the Heritage Open Days events organised by English Heritage.

Heritage Open Days, which has been taking place in Norfolk from September 9 -12, celebrates England's architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.

Hautbois, set in countryside on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, has a 28-acre estate which includes Hautbois house and seven campsites with a variety of activities on offer, such as archery and kayaking.

The estate was bequeathed to Girlguiding Anglia in 1984 by sisters, Phillippa and Beth Patteson, who had devoted their lives to guiding in Norfolk.

The sisters had lived in the riverside house from birth. Both sisters joined the local Guides as children and later they helped run the local Brownies and Guides as adults as well as opening up Hautbois for the Guides to meet and take part in outdoor activities in the grounds.

Hautbois was opened as a residential and activity centre in 1988 and has seen hundreds of guests, schools, Guides, Scouts, business groups and youth groups pass through its doors since.

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Charley Rogerson, administrator at Great Hautobois House, said: 'Normally we do open the house for small groups but there is a charge, so it is nice to be able to take part in the open days event and allow people to see the history behind the house and see how it has developed since it was gifted to Girlguiding.'