Sir Matthew Oram, MP for Manawatu (1943 – 1957) and Speaker of the House of Representatives (1950 – 1957), named the house after family connections to a village in Durham, England. One of Norton’s early residents was Richard Leary who came to Palmerston North in 1875 and established the town’s first pharmacy. After Leary’s death in 1901, Norton was bought by the Thornely family. The house was renamed Norton Park and housed a men and women’s club of that name. In later years it was owned by the New Life Centre Church. This building is listed in Category 4 of the Historic Palaces Trust because of historical and Architectural significance.