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Pam Rhodes to unveil John Grooms Court knitted pergola

March 19 2014

Volunteers at Livability’s Norwich based care home John Grooms Court have knitted an 8ft high pergola to raise funds and awareness of their work. 

John Grooms Court is a spacious and modern home with 29 self-contained flats which can all be decorated according to the tastes of the individual. Check out their page for more info: https://www.livability.org.uk/service/john-grooms-court-norwich/

The launch event will take place on Sunday 6th April, 2pm at the Forum (Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1TF) and BBC Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes will be officially unveiling the pergola.

What is it?


The Pergola itself is over 7ft tall and around 35ft in circumference. It has a wooden frame which is covered in a knitted base layer which has then been decorated in beautiful, precisely woven knitted flowers and greenery. In total over 10,000 flowers and leaves were made along with thousands more squares for the base layer. The Friends of John Grooms Court were inundated with colourful and original designs; they received knitted pigeons, budgies, butterflies, bumblebees, ladybirds, slugs and many other wildlife creatures.

Who did it?


All sorts of people have contributed to the project from the local community and beyond. The ages ranged from a lady of 104 in Walton on Thames to a 6 year old girl who bought two of her grandmother’s flowers and donated £5! They stretched from beyond the country too; indeed John Grooms Court received a parcel of 200 flowers from knitters in Australia. A good deal of the work was done by elderly ‘experienced’ knitters who said in letters to the charity that they were so pleased to knit for such a good cause and to feel that their knitting was useful. The local knitting group Norfolk Knitters also contributed a good deal of assistance and expertise.

How was it done?

1622560_219989711528127_509178432_oIn order to gain the necessary manpower the Friends of John Grooms court (the charity’s volunteers) distributed over 8,000 yellow postcards to people across Norfolk and Norwich. They then had to reply to hundreds of letters and emails and ensure that everyone was well coordinated and well informed. They then liaised with various knitting groups in the region and tested different samples to see which was most effective. The samples were then collected, organised and sewn to the aforementioned wooden frame. Finally the structure was sprayed with fire retardant to prevent any accidents.


What was the inspiration? 

 The idea originated with a resident of John Grooms Court who contributed to their last knitted project – a Christmas tree. The resident suggested that a follow-up project needed to even more spectacular than the tree if they were to gain more support, and so the idea for an entirely knitted Pergola was created!

Event details

  • The John Grooms Court Pergola will be unveiled on Sunday 6th April, 2pm at The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1TF.
  • Members of John Grooms Court and Livability will be on hand to walk members of the media and public through the structure and explain how they did it.
  • The local library will also be involved in using the pergola as an example of a creative knitting project with the aim to inspire them to join local craft groups.



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